Chichester Chamber Concerts gets under way

The quartet
The quartet

The first concert of the new Chichester Chamber Concerts season will be performed by the Akilone Quartet on Thursday, October 5 in the Assembly Room in the Chichester Council House, North Street.

Starting at 7.30pm, their programme will be Beethoven – String Quartet in B flat Op18 No 6 Webern – Bagatelles Op 5 and Op 9; and Schumann – String Quartet in A minor Op 41 No 1. Tickets 01243 781312.

Elise de Bendelac (violin) said: “Before starting our conservatoire studies, we came from different parts of France (Reims, Paris, Albi). In 2011 our paths crossed at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, and we created the Quatuor Akilone during our first year.

“At first, we had no real plans. It was just for the pleasure of discovering the string quartet and its huge repertoire, to enjoy the experience. Then it became more serious. When we realised that we had the possibility of going further, we started to give more and more time to the quartet. Today it is still a passion but it also became our profession.

“Things have developed quite naturally. The more we worked, the more we met people, and the more concerts we had. Then in May 2016, there was the competition in Bordeaux, which introduced us to the international stage and allowed us to develop our contacts even further.”

They don’t regard it as a competitive business.

“On the contrary, it is a singular world – so demanding and difficult that it creates solidarity between quartets. We know that we all experience the same musical and human difficulties and it brings us closer together.

“The audience often says that what touches them particularly in our playing is a mix between delicacy and energy. We also believe that our desire to be always sincere and authentic – without artifice or automatism – allows people to feel emotion.

“We are, without doubt, very different, and even more so as time goes by. But that is what makes the richness of the quartet; sometimes differences can complement each other. Sometimes these differences are the reason we ask ourselves good questions to find a common path. It obliges us to be open-minded and listen to each other. The string quartet is an exceptional human experience!

“We have no specialty in repertoire. It is our choice because we have four very different tastes and we enjoy getting inspired by each other. To embrace the whole quartet repertoire as much as possible is a very exciting adventure for us!

“We always had this open mind about repertoire. From the beginning, we were working equally on Haydn, Dvorak, Mendelssohn as on Webern. Gradually, we also discovered the music of Dutilleux and Bartok. Right now, we are dipping into Beethoven’s quartets. But the work with living composers is also an important part of our interest and regular projects.

“Our last trip to the UK was in January 2017 when we played in London’s Wigmore Hall. It was great to play in this amazing venue!”