Navarra Quartet

Navarra Quartet

'The playing is nothing short of sensational'
Yorkshire Post


Magnus Johnston (violin 1), Marije Johnston (violin2), Simone van der Giessen (viola) & Brian O'Kane ('cello) 

Since its formation in 2002, the Navarra Quartet has built an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and poetic string quartets of today. Selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) from 2006 to 2010, they have been awarded the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, a Musica Viva tour, Second Prize at the Melbourne International Competition and First Prize in the Florence International Chamber Music Competition.

They have appeared at major venues throughout the world including the Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, and international festivals such as Rheingau, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Aix-en-Provence and the BBC Proms. Further afield they have given concerts in Russia, the USA and the Middle East and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, RAI 3 (Italy), Radio 4 (Holland), SWR (Germany), Radio Luxembourg and ABC Classic FM (Australia). The Quartet has collaborated with artists such as Anthony Marwood, Guy Johnston, Mark Padmore, Allan Clayton and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Highly-acclaimed recordings include a disc of Pēteris Vasks’ first three String Quartets for Challenge Records, which they recorded whilst working closely with the composer himself. The recording was described by critics as “stunning”, “sensational” and “compelling”, and was nominated for the prestigious German Schallplattenkritik Award.

Recent highlights include performances at the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Utzon Music Series at the Sydney Opera House and Four Winds Festival, New South Wales; at the Bergen International, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Harrogate Chamber Music Festivals; as well as the quartet’s China debut in Shanghai.

The Navarra Quartet launched its own chamber music festival in 2014 at the beautifully renovated Van Houten Church, in the picturesque town of Weesp, close to Amsterdam.

The Quartet plays on a variety of fine instruments which include a Hieronymus II Amati and Fendt violins, an unknown, old English viola and a Ruggieri cello.


'[…] the players realize the music’s essential intensity…with their vivid sense of dramatic expression in an intensely detailed performance.'
BBC Music Magazine


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