The unprecedented three-decade career of the Hagen Quartet began in 1981. Its early years, marked by a series of prizes in chamber music competitions and an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon that was to produce around forty-five CDs over the following twenty years, enabled the group to work its way through the virtually unlimited quartet repertoire from which the distinctive profile of the Hagens has emerged. Collaborations with artistic personalities such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt and György Kurtág are as important to the Hagen Quartet as its concert appearances with performers including Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida, Sabine Meyer, Krystian Zimerman, Heinrich Schiff and Jörg Widmann.
The group’s concert repertoire and discography feature attractive and intelligently arranged programmes embracing the entire history of the string quartet, from its pre-Haydn beginnings right through to Kurtág. The Hagen Quartet also works closely with composers of its own generation, whether by reviving existing works or by commissioning and premiering new pieces.
The quartet’s 30th anniversary in 2011 was lauded as a “grandiose culmination” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) and “the highest art of existence.” (DiePresse.com). This milestone was also celebrated with two new recordings, released on myrios classics, of works by Mozart, Webern, Beethoven, Grieg and Brahms (clarinetist Jörg Widmann joined the quartet for the Brahms.)
The quartet’s 30th anniversary in 2011 was lauded as a “grandiose culmination“ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) and “the highest art of existence“ (DiePresse.com). This milestone was also the start for a collaboration with the record label myrios classics. Two new recordings, of works by Mozart, Webern, Beethoven, Grieg and Brahms (clarinetist Jörg Widmann joined the quartet for the Brahms) received outstanding reviews from the international press. For the debut album „Hagen Quartett 30“ on myrios classics, the Hagen Quartet was recognised with the prestigious ECHO Klassik award as Ensemble of the Year 2011.
During its 2012/13 season, the Hagen Quartet brought the complete Beethoven string quartets to the most prominent musical centres of the world, including New York, Tokyo, Paris, London, Salzburg and Vienna, where the quartet was named Honorary Member of the Konzerthaus. During this intensive period, the Hagen Quartet recorded a third album for myrios with a new reading of the Beethoven quartets op. 18/3, 18/5 and 135 which has been awarded the „Diapason d‘Or de l‘Année 2013“ by the french music magazine Diapason.
For many young string quartets, the Hagen Quartet is a model in terms of sound quality, stylistic plurality, ensemble playing and serious commitment to the works and composers of its chosen genre. As teachers and mentors at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Hochschule in Basel, as well as in international masterclasses, the quartet’s members pass on their wealth of experience to their younger colleagues.
Since mid-2013, the Hagen Quartett has been performing on instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, known as the "Paganini" quartet, generously on loan by the Nippon Music Foundation.
Source: myrios classics