From “promising young ensemble”, the French string quartet, Ébène String Quartet, has grown to become one of today’s foremost quartets on the international chamber music scene. Making their Minnesota debut on Music in the Park Series, the Ébène will perform quartets by Haydn, Debussy, and their own arrangements of works by the likes of Miles Davis, Astor Piazzolla and The Beatles. “A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band,” declared The New York Times. With their charismatic playing, their fresh approach to tradition and their open engagement with new forms, the French musicians have been successful in reaching a wide audience of young listeners.

Ébène String Quartet

Pierre Colombet, violin
Gabriel Le Magadure, violin
Adrien Boisseau, viola
Raphaël Merlin, cello

“A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band,”wrote the New York Times after a 2009 performance by the Ébène String Quartet. The ensemble opened with Debussy and Haydn and then improvised on a film music theme – with exactly the same enthusiasm and passion.

What began in 1999 as a distraction in the university’s practice rooms for the four young French musicians has become a trademark of the Ébène String Quartet, and has generated lasting reverberations in the music scene. The four breathe new life into chamber music through their consistently direct, open-minded perspective on the works. Regardless of the genre, they approach the music with humility and respect. They change styles with gusto, and yet remain themselves: with all the passion that they experience for each piece, and which they bring to the stage and to their audiences directly and authentically.

There is no single word that describes their style: they’ve created their own. Their traditional repertoire does not suffer from their engagement with other genres; rather, their free association with diverse styles brings a productive excitement to their music. From the beginning, the complexity of their oeuvre has been greeted enthusiastically by audiences and critics.

After studies with the Quatuor Ysaÿe in Paris and with Gábor Takács, Eberhard Feltz and György Kurtág, the quartet had an unprecedented victory at the ARD Music Competition 2004. This marked the beginning of their rise, which has culminated in numerous prizes and awards.

The Ébène String Quartet’s concerts are marked by a special élan. With their charismatic playing, their fresh approach to tradition and their open engagement with new forms, the musicians have been successful in reaching a wide audience of young listeners; they communicate their knowledge in regular master classes at the Conservatoire Paris and at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

In 2005, the ensemble won the Belmont Prize of the Forberg-Schneider Foundation. Since then, the Foundation has worked closely with the musicians, making it possible for them to play priceless old Italian instruments from private collections.

The Ébène String Quartet’s debut CD, featuring works by Haydn, was praised unanimously by critics. Further recordings of music by Bartók, Debussy, Mozart, Fauré, and the Mendelssohn siblings have won numerous awards, including the Gramophone Award, the ECHO Klassik, the BBC Music Magazine Award and the Midern Classic Award. Their 2010 album “Fiction” and the accompanying DVD, a live recording of jazz arrangements, has only solidified their unique position in the chamber music scene. Their second crossover CD “Brazil,” a collaboration with Stacey Kent, appeared early in 2014. In the same year, Erato released “A 90th Birthday Celebration,” a live recording (on CD and DVD) of Menahem Presslers birthday celebration concert with the Ébène String Quartet in Paris.

In 2015/2016, the quartet will perform in London’s Wigmore Hall, the LG Arts Center in Seoul, at the Berlin Philharmonic, and in New York’s Carnegie, to name just as few. A additional highlight of the season will be their three-part concert cycle in Brussels.

The fundamental classical repertoire for string quartet will remain a cornerstone: this season, the Ébène String Quartet will focus on Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartets Op. 95 and Op. 127.

Ébène String Quartet is the Prize Winner in Residence at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in the Summer of 2015.

Managed by Arts Management Group.

Date & Venue

Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 4pm
Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ

Join us at 3pm in the church for a pre-concert talk with the artists.

Concert length is estimated to be 2 hours with one intermission.

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HAYDN – Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2       


DEBUSSY  – Quartet in G minor, Op. 10                 

“Jazz and Cross-over”

This portion of the program will be announced from the stage.




A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band...

The New York Times

The members of any string quartet will tell you that it takes a great deal of disciplined work to achieve technical finesse and control. The four young Parisian men who form the Ébène Quartet have certainly worked hard, which partly explains why they are increasingly viewed as one of the standout quartets of the new generation.

The New York Times