© Julien Mignot
© Julien Mignot

Belmont Prize 2005
for Contemporary Music

Quatuor Ébène

String quartet from Paris

Pierre Colombet
Gabriel Le Magadure
Mathieu Herzog
Raphaël Merlin

Statement from the Board of Trustees

Their richly hued playing combines fastidious accuracy and unbridled musicality, allowing them to probe compositional audacities with urgency and depth of expression.

“In a foundation that promotes not only contemporary music but landscape architecture and urban planning, spontaneous unanimity among the Trustees is not exactly the rule. But this time it happened: the musical intelligence of the Ébènes and the authenticity of their playing at the Munich Competition – whether with Haydn, Webern, or Rihm – struck us all like a bolt of lightning. ... They seemed to be breathing with a single breath. These four musicians are neither ‘bottom feeders,’ ‘exegetes,’ or ‘grandstanders’: they simply speak the truth, as if that were as easy as it sounds ...“
From the laudatory address by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider

Joachim Kaiser on the Quatuor Ébène

”What makes these musicians unique on today’s chamber music scene is their compelling sense of structure, the succession and development of thematic complexes, contrasts, and expansions. To be specific, this means that they take rests with a seriousness that beggars description. The music never continues afterwards as if nothing had happened.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 5 March 2008

“What is special about them? Not just their consummate virtuosity. ... Where the Ébènes are completely at home, as in Ravel, they project something much more precarious than sensation-mongering brilliance: namely, a sense that the sound is hovering – delicate, uniform, alive even in the ineffable.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 January 2007