We are the Behn Quartet, a prize-winning ensemble based in London. Winners of the 2017 Orlando International Chamber Music Competition, we were Associate Ensemble at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for 2019/20, and previously held the CAVATINA Chamber Music Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. We take our name from Aphra Behn, the seventeenth-century playwright, political activist, and philanthropist of the arts.
Since our formation in 2015, we have given recitals across Europe, including at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, and at the Fondazione Cini Venice and the Filarmonica Laudamo Messina in association with Le Dimore del Quartetto. We made our Wigmore Hall debut in 2018 with thanks to the Maisie Lewis Young Artists' Award, and our Concertgebouw debut later that year during a tour across the Netherlands in association with Squire Artists. We were honoured to give the world premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ final work at his Memorial Concert in St John’s Smith Square and live on BBC Radio 3, and have recorded chamber works by Maxwell Davies, Stravinsky and Birtwistle for Linn Records, conducted by the late Oliver Knussen. In 2018 we were finalists in the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Competition, and gave a highly acclaimed tour as 2018 Encompass Artists with Chamber Music New Zealand, reviewed in the New Zealand Herald as 'a performance that left the audience silently spellbound for several seconds before bursting into enthusiastic applause, recognising the magic cast throughout the auditorium by this talented quartet.' Our playing has been featured on Dutch National Radio, NHK World TV Japan, Radio New Zealand, Medici TV. We were also part of the official 40th Anniversary celebrations of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, performing a specially-commissioned ‘reimagination’ of the iconic song featured in news outlets worldwide.
As a self-managed ensemble we are constantly exploring new ways to present both ourselves and the classical string quartet repertoire. Most recently we worked with Dutch actress Lonneke Dapiran to present a more unusual and collaborative concert programme focused on Fanny Hensel in a tour across The Netherlands; by interweaving the quartets of Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny Hensel with a dramatic interpretation of her letters to him, we deliberately put her music and her words centre stage, and allowed the audience to experience both compositions in a new light.
Laura Lunansky, Alicia Berendse - Violins
Ana Teresa de Braga e Alves - Viola
Ghislaine McMullin - Cello
We have been and are generously supported by the De Lancey & De La Hanty Foundation, Help Musicians UK, Fenton Arts Trust, Le Dimore del Quartetto, and Het Kersjes Fonds.