Mercury Quartet

Mercury Quartet

BandClassicalWorld

free composition - live.

Biography

The Mercury Quartet are rising stars of the contemporary music
scene in London. They have performed many of the seminal
works of the 20th and 21st century alongside undiscovered and
unknown masterpieces. The Quartet regularly appear with guest
artists to perform larger scale works. Recent triumphs have
included Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ and Elliot Carter’s
virtuosic ‘Triple Duo’ with renowned musicians Robin Green,
Julian Jacobson, Laura Lucas and Hannah Grayson. They won a
place as artists to be represented by the prestigious Concordia
Foundation in 2007.

The Mercury Quartet was formed at The Royal College of Music to realise a shared passion for Messiaen's ‘Quartet for
The End Time’. Their first performance of this masterpiece was in the RCM's Recital Hall which involved
collaboration with the artist, Elisabeth Lecourt. This led to a series of concerts both nationally and abroad including
the Jacqueline Du Pre Music Buildnig (Oxford), St. Martin in the Fields, St James’s Picadilly, The National Gallery
(London) and as guest artists at The Dinan Conservatoire de Musique (France). The Quartet have appeared in such prestigous events and festivals as 'The Chelsea Schubert Festival' (2008), 'The Rosemary Branch Festival' (2009), 'The Vienna City of Dreams' Philharmonia and Esa Pekka-Salonen Festival (2009) and members of the quartet improvised with the London Sinfonietta and the London College of Communication Laptop Orchestra to close the Ether '08 festival in the Southbank centre.

In 2008 they won a competition run by label Non-Classical. This led to a deal to record and release an album
capturing their ‘unique and mesmerising’ free improvisation sound world and a number of live gigs. Free improvisation
is an avenue of creative endeavour that is thoroughly and regularly explored in the group. They have recorded a
soundtrack of free improvisation for a film from the internationally established video-event-artists ‘FL@33 project’
and presented improvisation to a wide range of audiences in concerts alongside traditional music and as part of avant
garde events. These are known as ‘happenings’ and are the brainchild of the acclaimed voice in forward thinking
music Matthew Lee Knowles.

The Mercury Quartet is committed to the commissioning of new works. They gave masterclasses, workshops and
performances of the compositions of the Doctorate composer students of George Benjamin at Kings College London in
2008. They also commissioned a quartet work from former BBC young musician and Guardian composer of the year, Mark Simpson.

The Quartet is taking up a week long residency in the acclaimed Dartington Summer School in 2010. There they will
perform Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the end of time’ and Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ (with Linda Hirst). In
addition they will be giving masterclasses on these works and mentoring student chamber groups on the performance of contemporary repertoire, and more specifically the Schoenberg. Whilst in Dartington the group will be workshopping and performing the compositions of students of Julian Anderson on the advanced composition course.

The Mercury Quartet have projects in Switzerland, France, Texas and Berlin planned for 2010 where they will be playing new music from composers such as Nimrod Katzir and Mark Simpson alongside their own free improvisation. Their calendar of events in the UK see's them playing exciting concerts in Manchester, London and in chamber music societies across the country.