West Cork Chamber Music Festival 2012
Stars in the Afternoon Concert
Thursday 5 July 2012 16.30
Bantry House, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland

Thanks to its rousing and lively interpretations, the Signum Quartet has left its mark on the international quartet scene (Signum is Latin for mark, signal, miraculous works) and has established itself as one of the most interesting new ensembles. Founded in 1994, the ensemble has been playing with the current line-up since 2007. The quartet has enjoyed support from Bayer Kultur as part of its stART cultural programme and the BBC has also included the ensemble in its BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme.

Intensive studies with the Alban Berg Quartet, Artemis Quartet and the Melos Quartet as well as collaborations with György Kurtág, Walter Levin, Alfred Brendel, Leon Fleisher and Jörg Widmann have characterised the artistic development of the Signum Quartet, which has won numerous awards (German Music Competition, Premio Paolo Borciani, ICMC Hamburg, London International String Quartet Competition including the Audience Prize).

Concert performances have taken the Signum Quartet to a whole host of international venues, ranging from Madrid, Basel and Paris to Berlin and Amsterdam. The quartet has also performed at the Hamburg Laeiszhalle, the Liederhalle Stuttgart, the Philharmonie Essen and the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn as well as at the Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau and Aix-en-Provence music festivals. At the invitation of the Goethe Institute, the young ensemble also regularly embarks on extended concert tours, such as to Asia, Central and South America and Africa.

In the last season, the quartet gave numerous concerts in Germany and France (Marseille, Festival de Fayence and Luberon, Strasbourg, Menton) and Italy (Brixen), and a highly praised performance together with Leon Fleisher at the Aldeburgh Festival. Furthermore they gave a lecture-concert with Alfred Brendel in Marseille and their debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Upcoming concerts will take place at London (Wigmore Hall), Berlin (Philharmonie) and Vienna (Jeunesse Musicales).

Radio stations in Germany and abroad, the ARD public broadcasting TV channels in Germany, Deutschlandfunk, DRS, ORF and Arte regularly broadcast concerts given by the four musicians. Following an initiative by the Villa Musica foundation, the quartet was invited to record a CD with SWR radio a CD with works by Schumann and Haydn with the world première recording of Jörg Widmann’s 1st String Quartet. Since 2009, the Signum Quartet records for Capriccio Vienna. After a first CD with quartets by Ludwig Thuille which was awarded the supersonic in Luxemburg, a recording with mouvements by Schubert, Rihm, Wolf, Ives and Orff will be released in autumn 2011.

Christoffer Sundqvist (b. 1978) began his clarinet studies with Bernhard Nylund at the Pietarsaari Conservatory. He completed his diploma examination with Anna-Maija Korsimaa at the Sibelius Academy in 2002 and went on to study with Professor François Benda at the Basel Music Academy. He has also attended masterclasses given by Hans Rudolf Stalder, Guy Deplus, Charles Neidich and Ronald van Spaendonck, and he has studied chamber music with a number of distinguished musicians. He won shared first prize at the Crusell Clarinet Competition in 2002. He has also received the Pro Musica medal and first prize in the Juvenalia chamber music competition in Espoo.

Christoffer Sundqvist was nominated débutant of the year by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2004. In recent years he has appeared as soloist with nearly every Finnish orchestra. His foreign appearances include those with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel and the St Christopher Chamber Orchestra in Lithuania. He has worked with conductors such as Jukka-Pekka Saraste, John Storgårds, Sakari Oramo, Okko Kamu, Juha Kangas and Hannu Lintu. Sundqvist is a regural guest in European festivals. He has appeared in many European festivals, Warsaw Autumn, Fürstensaal Classix in Kempten and Märzmusik in Berlin among others. Among his future engagements is the debut with BBC Symphony Orchestra in March 2013.

Sundqvist is an active chamber musician, being a founding member of the Arktinen hysteria (‘Arctic hysteria’) wind quintet and a member of the Plus Ensemble based in Turku. He has also appeared in Finland and abroad with the Danel Quartet, Kodály Quartet, the New Helsinki Quartet, the Tempera Quartet, Bella Davidovich, Dmitri Sitkovetsky, Herve Joulain, Niek de Groot, Pekka Kuusisto, Sakari Oramo, Paavali Jumppanen and Philippe Graffin.

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