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Photo : © Marie Julliard

The Psophos quartet

Eric Lacrouts, violin
Bleuenn Le Maître, violin
Cécile Grassi, alto
Guillaume Martigné, cello

« One of the finest young string formations in Europe » according to The Times, the Quatuor Psophos is most certainly a key player on the European musical scene.

The winner of the Premier Grand Prix at the Bordeaux International String Quartet competition in 2001, the Quatuor Psophos (Greek: sonic event), formed in 1997, was originally one of the very few entirely female formations when it launched its highly successful career. It is a welcome guest in prestigious venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Wigmore Hall in London, while its trajectory has been further enriched by appearances at La Folle Journée (Nantes, Tokyo, Lisbon), the BBC Proms, and many other renowned festivals. This has given its members the opportunity to play alongside leading musical personalities including Cédric Tiberghien, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich, Bertrand Chamayou, and Nemanja Radulović.

Following the example of the Quatuor Ysaÿe, its elders and teachers, in 2009 the Quatuor Psophos welcomed two new members, Eric Lacrouts (violin) and Guillaume Martigné (cello). This change proved to be an enriching experience in both human and musical terms. The balance provided by these new forces gives the ensemble a serenity that perpetuates its maturity and its high standards.

The Psophos was the first French quartet to be selected for the prestigious New Generation Artists scheme of BBC Radio 3 in London, and was nominated for a Victoire de la Musique in 2005. It has recorded numerous critically acclaimed discs, including works by Mendelssohn, Berg, Schoenberg, Ohana, Bacri, and Dvořák.

Its curiosity prompts it to meet a range of new artists, dancers, actors, and directors. Tours have taken it to Asia, Africa, the United States, the Middle East, and throughout Europe, where it also gives many masterclasses in order to pass on its experience. Trained by the great quartet player Walter Levin, with whom its members studied in Basel for years, the quartet has been strongly influenced by his passion, commitment, and musical rigour.

The Quatuor Psophos is currently in a three-year residency at the Athénée Théâtre Louis Jouvet in Paris, where it presents its own series of chamber concerts. It also performs at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris and the Opéra National de Lyon, notably with Philippe Decouflé. A new show with Christophe Malavoy, Qui se souviendra ?, will be staged in Paris and the provinces in the autumn of 2014.

A significant encounter with Jean-Marie Machado and Dave Liebman led the quartet into the world of jazz with Painting Notes in the Air, a show they have frequently performed on tour and which will be released on CD in 2014. Projects for 2015 include a major collaboration with Marie-Nicole Lemieux on her new recital disc.

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