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Allegri

Founded originally by Eli Goren, James Barton, Patrick Ireland and William Pleeth, the Allegri String Quartet celebrated its 50th birthday in 2004. This important event was marked by major concert tours in the UK and abroad, including an appearance at Wigmore Hall that received excellent reviews from the press. Built on a worldwide reputation for excellence that long ago earned them the epithet ‘England’s most respected quartet’, this success marked the beginning of a process of evolution that culminated in the appointment of violinist Daniel Rowland as first violin of the quartet in January 2005.

Born in London but brought up in the Netherlands, Daniel made his concerto debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 1992, and has since returned to the Concertgebouw on numerous occasions. He has also been invited as the guest leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the 2005 Proms concerts, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Russian National Orchestra, and until recently was the concertmaster of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon.

2006-07 will see the Allegri Quartet in concert across the UK, Canada, Portugal, performing works by composers that they have championed for decades (Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Webern), as well as exploring new and more unusual repertoire: 2006 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Spanish composer Arriaga, who died at the age of 20 and so his beautiful Quartet No. 1 in D minor will feature in the Allegri’s programmes for the first half of the season. In 2007 - an anniversary for Elgar (1857-1934) - the Quartet will be joined by pianists Rian de Waal and Martin Roscoe for performances of Elgar’s elegiac Piano Quintet, a work that they recorded and broadcast live with de Waal for Canadian Radio in 2002.

The Allegri's existing discography is substantial, and their back catalogue includes many acclaimed recordings, several of which have been selected as first choice by the critics of ‘Building a Library’ on BBC Radio 3. Not content to rely on these past successes, however, they have recently recorded three CDs that will be released this year: the Mozart Quintets in G Minor and C Major, with ex-Allegri Violist Prunella Pacey, the Clarinet Quintet by Peter Fribbins with James Campbell, and two works by Michael Stimpson: Robben Island (written to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela), and a piece for piano quintet and tenor based on As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. These recordings of new works reflect an ongoing commitment to contemporary music that has led the Quartet to premičre over 60 works since 1964, including pieces by well-known composers such as Alexander Goehr, Jonathan Harvey, James Macmillan, Colin Matthews, Edmund Rubbra and John Woolrich. The Quartet enjoys collaborating with other artists, and has worked with outstanding concert performers such as Jack Brymer, Sir Clifford Curzon, Annie Fischer, Dame Thea King, John Ogdon and Gervase de Peyer, and has performed at international festivals including Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Prague Spring, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Stavanger. In 2006-07 they will be joined by Canadian clarinettist James Campbell for quintets by Bliss, Brahms, and Mozart, as well as by pianists Rian de Waal and Martin Roscoe.

The members of the Allegri String Quartet are increasingly in demand for their teaching and last year began new residencies at the University of East Anglia and Middlesex University. This brought their total number of residencies at UK universities to seven, the other five being Bangor, Durham, Nottingham, Oxford, and Southampton, with whom the Quartet has enjoyed long-standing relationships thanks to the generous support of the Radcliffe Trust. The Quartet also has an interesting association with the Newark School of Violin Making, giving feedback to young luthiers on their work and performing on a selection of the finest instruments produced each year.