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What the critics say:

“This concert was worth waiting for. Their performances on Sunday, especially an engrossing account of Sibelius’s deeply personal and visionary Quartet in D minor, “Voces Intimae” (“Intimate Voices”), stood out for the vitality, immediacy and character of the music making. In a richly colored and intensely dramatic performance, the Utrecht players conveyed the captivating strangeness of this brooding, mercurial 30-minute work.” 

— The New York Times

S.Taneyev String Quintets: “One has to handle it like a heavy weight and yet let is appear as though butterflies are flying through the room The Utrecht String Quartet succeeds effortlessly. Here the quality of a mature ensemble that still remains young inside is shown.”

— Deutschlandfunk

J. Verhulst String Quartets: ".....the Utrecht Quartet plays at the highest level of technical mastery and musical excellence. Based on their assured, impeccable performances here, I’d expect their Beethoven, Schumann, or anything else from the standard literature to be played on the level of the best of the world’s quartets." 

— Fanfare

“What a wondrous world the Utrecht evoked in commune with Sibelius. The playing was ultra-flexible and articulate, and everywhere alert to atmosphere and feeling. …exceptional artistry.”

Tchaikovsky String Quartets Vol.2.... “Everything comes fascinatingly to life with the sensitive bows of the Utrecht String Quartet. A wonderful recording.” 

— Ensemble

Best Classical Recordings 2014:
"...the Utrecht String Quartet delivers lively Allegros, wistful Adagios, cogent Scherzos, in delicate, elegant and simply very, very good performances." (Verhulst)


“…excellent joy in music-making and expressive élan.” (Taneyev) 

— Online

“The Utrecht String Quartet plays with tragic greatness. This is a report by witnesses of the era.”

— Crescendo

Eeva Koskinen, violin | Katherine Routley, violin

 Mikhail Zemtsov, viola | Sebastian Koloski, violoncello


string quartet

Utrecht String Quartet Availability

October 13 – 23, 2024


The Utrecht String Quartet is known internationally for its versatile and dynamic approach. Resident in Amsterdam, the musical world of the Utrecht String Quartet is borderless and boundless, and whichever work its musicians choose to play in the genre of string-quartet music, it is their general policy to avoid any hint of treating them like museum exhibits. Even when it comes to traditional works, the musicians succeed, time and again, in discovering elements that can be interpreted anew, or in finding unusual concert locations in which to perform them. However, it is mainly because of their search for lost or forgotten repertoire and for their collaboration with contemporary composers that the members of the Utrecht String Quartet have gained their excellent reputation in the music world. 

This versatility has featured strongly in the quartet’s international tours, which have recently taken them to countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Australia and to the internationally famous Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival in Finland. As reported by the Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat: “their performance is simultaneously intellectual, analytical and strongly expressive.” In April 2000, the Utrecht String Quartet made its debut in England, at the Conway Hall in London, followed, in 2003, by a concert at the Wigmore Hall. The USQ has been a regular guest in London ever since. 

In North America, the quartet made its Canadian debut at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa in 2010, and in the spring of 2011 its debut in the US when it appeared at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, returning to the US and Canada regularly. 

In the Netherlands, the USQ takes part in all the important chamber music series, such as those at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, at Vredenburg in Utrecht and at the Frits Philips Music Centre in Eindhoven, to name just a few. In addition, the four musicians have performed at the Palace on the Noordeinde in the Hague at the invitation of Queen Beatrix.

The Utrecht String Quartet has rediscovered the second string quartet by Dimitri Kabalevsky in his own edition and will record this together with the Kabalevsky’s first quartet on MDG. This is an opportunity for the public to discover the work since this the first recording of the work since the 1993 Olympia recording which is no longer available.

The quartet is also active pedagogically. It is responsible for the chamber-music class as the quartet-in-residence of the Utrecht Conservatory and has established a successful collaborative relationship with other notable chamber-music performers such as Pieter Wispelwey, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Dmitri Ferschtman, Arno Bornkamp, Christianne Stotijn, Pauline Oostenrijk, Ralph van Raat, Nobuko Imai, Isabelle van Keulen, and Alexander Mazdar and Baritone Thomas Oliemans. In addition to its extensive concert activities, the USQ also performs for radio and television transmissions and for CD recordings. A sizeable collection of its CDs have appeared on the MDG label. The most recent release are the viola and cello quintets with Alexander Zemtsov, viola and Pieter Wispelwey, cello. There have been excellent reviews of these recordings in all the well-known music periodicals such as Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Fanfare and the German periodical Fono Forum

More what the critics say:

“In the Andante funebre, the playing is full-bodied and full of heart-on-sleeve emotions, particularly Koskinen’s first violin at the piangendo instruction. The Shostakovich Quartet’s funeral march has a more purposeful tread here but the intensity of the Utrechts won me over….“

— International Record Review (Tchaikovsky) 

“This disc is a fine representation of these Tchaikovsky lesser-known works. The transcription of the Children’s Album sounds natural as if the original music had been written for a string quartet. All in all, a fine performance and a fine recording.” 

— Mel Martin, Audiophile Audition

“In the quote given above, Altmann mentions the difficulties for the performing musicians in these two works. It is remarkable how the Utrecht String Quartet and its two guests handle the situation here. With constant and great technical sovereignty, the musicians conjure up a plethora of sound colors and moods, which one does not often hear in recordings, but which is essential to effectively bring to life this Russian music. One hears in every note that the Utrecht String Quartet is at home in this music and gives it its all.” 


“The virtues of the Utrecht String Quartet: the careful, transparent playing with only moderate pressure on the strings.” 

— Frankfurter Allgemeine

“The Utrecht String Quartet plays with tragic greatness. This is a report by witnesses of the era.” 

— Crescendo

“It is a particular mixture of light-footedness and strictness, but also of soulful warmth paired with contour-sharp transparency that makes the Tchaikovsky-playing by the Utrecht String Quartet so fascinating.” 

— Bayrischer Rundfunk Klassik

“What a wondrous world the Utrecht evoked in commune with Sibelius. The playing was ultra-flexible and articulate, and everywhere alert to atmosphere and feeling. As the finale came to its rousing close, the Rocky River audience was quick to acknowledge their visitors' exceptional artistry.” 

— Cleveland.Com

 “The soulful and perfectly shaded opening…followed by impetuosity in the big and thrusting central theme, are indicative of the wide–ranging mood changes and intensity of the USQ performance as a whole. …the long-established Utrecht players are in every way outstanding and enjoy superb sound quality.“ 

— The Strad

The excellent reputation of the quartet was admirably apparent in this performance. Flawless intonation and ensemble marked this account of a quartet cast in Mozart’s most dramatic key.”

— David Vance in The Sydney Morning Herald

“Van Delden’s earlier scores win the listener with a charged intensity; the late ones add a freewheeling sense of fantasy and humor.“ 

— The New York Times 

“The recording quality and the Utrecht’s wonderful sound make this set the one to own.” (Glazunov vol. 2)

— American Record Guide 

“The Utrecht String Quartet offers lively and involving performances. MDG’s recording presents the ensemble with effective clarity, depth and impact.” (Grechaninov vol.2)

— Classics Today 

«Les musiciens donnent un air spontane, expressif et empreint de tendresse a ces pages lyriques oü l'anxiété ne devient jamais agressive. La texture est souvent compacte, maïs les musiciens savent la rendre souple et chaleureuse.»

— pizzicato 

“... it was with Mozart and Shostakovich that the Utrecht String Quartet showed their superiority. In both quartets they sustained a superb ensemble blend and balance that pointed to years of experience. The warm, rich-toned sonorities and fluid phrasing realised the work’s (Glazunov String Quartet No. 3) glowing colours and soulful Slavic nature, while strong dynamic contrasts and rhythmic vibrancy added immense character to their interpretation.” 

— Murray Black in The Australian

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