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Solem Quartet invited to String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam 2024

The 2024 String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam (SQBA) will feature a concert given by the Solem Quartet in collaboration with Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

This will be their first performance of BBN: Experiments outside the UK.

Ayanna will join the Quartet on cello and vocals to perform her own composition Island Suite, commissioned by the Solems as part of their ongoing Beethoven Bartók Now project (BBN). The event will also feature Beethoven’s Quartet in B flat major, Op. 133 – the “Grosse Fugue” – and Bartók’s Quartet No. 3, BB 93.

In the Grosse Fugue, Beethoven pushed boundaries creating ‘music that will be contemporary forever’ according to Stravinsky, while Bartók’s Third Quartet sees the composer finding his true voice, channelling the Eastern-European folk music he so loved. Ayanna’s piece is a musical and narrative journey which takes inspiration from Jamaican folk song to create a work that defies genre, and tells the story of Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s ancestry.

Since giving the premiere at Wigmore Hall in May 2022, the Solems have already enjoyed performing Island Suite with Ayanna at MusicFest Aberystwyth, Liverpool’s Tung Auditorium, and Wilton’s Music Hall in London (pictured in the header), as well as presenting excerpts live on BBC Radio 3 “In Tune” last year.

Their SQBA concert takes place in the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam at 2:15pm on Friday 2nd February 2024.

Tickets are on sale and available via the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam website.

A glimpse of ‘Island Suite’ (Wigmore Hall May 2022):

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