Oliver Heath, violin
Sara Wolstenholme, violin
Gary Pomeroy, viola
Chris Murray, cello
The charismatic and sought-after Heath Quartet won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Award for their recording of the complete string quartets of Sir Michael Tippett, and in May 2013 became the first ensemble in fifteen years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award. Formed in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music they were selected for representation by YCAT, awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Special Ensemble Scholarship and in 2012 won the Ensemble Prize at the Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern where they are now regular visitors.
Following their award-winning debut recording of Tippett on the Wigmore LIVE label, the quartet recorded two discs for the Harmonia Mundi/PIAS label featuring Tchaikovsky’s first and third quartets (November 2016) and the complete Bartók quartets (June 2017) respectively, both receiving outstanding feedback in the press.
“…an electrifying intensity, maintaining an irresistible impetus and negotiating abrupt character changes with aplomb...”
Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, 4 June 2017 [Bartók, Complete String Quartets]
In 2017/18 the quartet returns to Wigmore Hall at numerous points in the season for a series of concerts programmed around a complete cycle of Jörg Widmann’s quartets, alongside collaborators including Nils Mönkemeyer, Hannes Minnaar and Carolyn Sampson. Jörg Widmann’s quartets are also the basis for their debut at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin in March 2018, where the composer and clarinetist is an artist in focus. Other highlights include a return to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and their debut recital tour to New Zealand. They will also return to North America for appearances at the Chicago Chamber Music Society and Lincoln Center among others, as well as continuing their residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. The quartet also maintain a strong presence at home with appearances throughout the season in Cambridge, Chester, Leicester and Manchester among others, as well as having a continued association with British festivals such as Dartington, Kilkenny, Ryedale and Two Moors.
The latter part of the season sees the quartet embark on special project with Spanish director Calixto Bieto, in a co-production between the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Holland Festival with performances throughout Europe.
Notable performances of previous seasons have included the world premiere of a John Tavener piece at the BBC Proms, concerts at the Beethovenfest Bonn, Mecklenburgh-Vorpommern Festival and their debuts at the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Auditorium in Paris.
In the UK, they have also performed at the Barbican, Bridgewater Hall, Sage Gateshead, Perth Concert Hall and Queen’s Hall Edinburgh. And in Europe they have appeared at the Kissingen Winterzauber and Schwetzinger Festivals as well as deSingel Arts Centre in Antwerp, Vara Konserthus in Sweden, Esterházy Palace, and the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Berlin and Vienna.
Strong exponents of contemporary music, the quartet have also worked with several leading composers including Hans Abrahamsen, Louis Andriessen, Brett Dean, Anthony Gilbert, Sofia Gubaidulina, Steven Mackey and John Musto. They took part in the European première of Steve Mackey’s Gaggle and Flock for string octet, the world première of John Musto’s Another Place with Carolyn Sampson at the Wigmore Hall as well as receiving unanimous critical acclaim for their performance of Ligeti’s Quartet No.2 and Thomas Ades’ Arcadiana for The Park Lane Group at the Purcell Room.
The Heath Quartet regularly enjoy working with a host of talented collaborators who also include Anna Caterina Antonacci, James Baillieu, Ian Bostridge, Adrian Brendel, Michael Collins, Colin Currie, Stephen Hough, Sunwook Kim, Richard Lester, Joanna MacGregor, Aleksandar Madzar, Anthony Marwood, Mark Padmore, Lawrence Power, Jamie Walton and the Tokyo Quartet, and have even ventured into the world of jazz in a ‘Wigmore Late’ concert together with saxophonist Trish Clowes and pianist Gwilym Simcock.