The Edinburgh Quartet is committed to nurturing talent and is resident at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Stirling whilst maintaining strong associations with the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University. As well as giving a regular classical concert series at each of these institutions, the players work with composition students, instrumentalists and student teachers. In addition to this the Edinburgh Quartet’s outreach programme encompasses workshops for primary and secondary school children and tutoring adults on the Variations Summer School in Ullapool and an annual Spring Chamber Music Course in Linlithgow.
The Quartet has always been a champion of new music and has worked with many important and prolific composers of our age including James MacMillan, Michael Tippett and Howard Blake.
The Edinburgh Quartet has an extensive discography available on various labels such as Delphian, Linn, Meridian and RCA. Among their recordings are the complete string quartets of Hans Gál (Meridian), Kenneth Leighton (Meridian) and Mátyás Seiber (Delphian), as well as discs of Bartók, Robert Crawford, Haydn, Schubert and Thomas Wilson.
Their recent release “Postcard from Nalchik” featuring Haydn, Prokofiev and Shostakovich received a four star review in The Scotsman, with Ken Walton commending the playing as “perky and pristine in the Haydn, gutsy and attitudinal in the folk-inspired Prokofiev, movingly sustained in the grim delights of the Shostakovich… richly considered, rigorously balanced and, ultimately, a musical treat”.
Their new James MacMillan disc (also on Delphian) received 5 stars in The Scotsman from Walton, was described in The Herald by Michael Tumelty as “absolutely essential listening” and was praised by Gramophone Magazine: “These players have worked to produce the precise sound to transmit the emotional import of each phrase”.
Tijmen Huisingh – violin
Dutch violinist Tijmen Huisingh (Amsterdam, 1979) is a tempestuous musician who wholeheartedly delves into every piece and genre he encounters: from 16th century Renaissance Baroque to pop/rock music of today. He finds great inspiration and guiding in working with Gordan Nikolic and the philosophy and recordings of Sergiu Celibidache. He is much in demand as a chamber musician and guest-concertmaster/director with ensembles such as Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble, Combattimento and the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.He was a laureate in numerous violin competitions in the Netherlands and at the International Chamber Music Competition 2007 “Rovere d’Oro” in Italy.
Early in 2017 he became a member of the Royal Northern Sinfonia. At the end of that same year he joined the prestigious Edinburgh Quartet as their new first violinist.
Recent highlights include appearances at the international chamber music festivals of Utrecht, the Hague, Schleswig-Holstein (Ger) and Staunton (USA), the European tour of Janine Jansen’s (cd) project ‘the Bach concerto’s’ as well as a tour of the Netherlands with Bach’s Goldberg variations with the Huisingh-Zemtsov-Wispelwey string trio.
You can catch him on the cd ‘Fuerza’ in Astor Piazolla’s ‘Four seasons of Buenos Aires’ with bandeonist Carel Kraayenhof or as one of the soloists on a recording of Vivaldi violin concerto’s with Combattimento Consort Amsterdam.
A cd with piano trio’s by Shostakovitch and Gál (with pianist Sarah Beth Briggs and cellist Kenneth Woods) is scheduled for release later in 2018 on the AVIE label.
He is a founding member of the Amsterdam Chamber Soloists, a piano quartet of four soul-mates. They perform in the major concert halls in the Netherlands and regularly for Dutch radio4.
Tijmen studied the violin at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Jan Repko, Lex Korff de Gidts and Ilya Grubert and finished his studies in 2007 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole under the guidance of Pavel Vernikov and Oleksandr Semchuk in the ‘International Competition Preparation Course’.
He gratefully plays a 1750 Venetian violin by Sanctus Serafin and a Caressa-Francais bow kindly loaned to him by the NMF (Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation).
Tom Hankey – violin
He now leads a busy career as a violinist and violist.
Catherine Marwood – viola
Catherine Marwood studied at the Royal Academy Of Music and spent the following nine years playing with the Fairfield String Quartet with whom she toured Europe and recorded for the Hyperion label. She also explored the oboe quartet and string trio repertoire with her siblings in the Marwood Ensemble and together they recorded a disc of the music of Jean Francaix. In 1988 she was appointed principal viola with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, a position she held for ten years. She appeared many times as soloist with the orchestra collaborating with such artists as Joseph Swensen, Yuri Bashmet and Ernst Kovacic and in the SCO’s chamber series she worked with Michael Collins, Stephen Isserlis, Peter Donohoe and many others. She also premiered and recorded Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Strathclyde concerto no 5. She was principal viola in the Scottish Ensemble with whom she recorded under the prestigious Wigmore Live label, frequently broadcast on Radio 3 and toured extensively in this country and abroad. Catherine works with many other chamber groups and orchestras and in 2009 she was appointed principal viola of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been a member of the Hebrides Ensemble for over 20 years and values the opportunity to showcase contemporary music alongside more traditional repertoire. She joined the Edinburgh Quartet in 2017 and is loving the return to the pinnacle of the chamber music form and the challenges it brings. Catherine also examines for ABRSM both in the U.K. and in the Far East.
Mark Bailey – cello
Born in London, Mark Bailey has performed all over Europe, the UK, USA & Canada, the Far East and Middle East, both as soloist and cellist of the Edinburgh Quartet. The EQ is one of the UK’s longest running chamber ensembles and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. In 2007 the EQ received the much coveted Gramophone Editor’s Choice for their recording of the complete string quartets of Hans Gal. Mark studied at the Royal College of Music on a Foundation Scholarship where he won all the major cello prizes, including the top concerto and recital prizes. He was then invited by PaulTortelier to study with him in France for two years, attracting scholarships from the British Council, The Countess of Munster and Suggia Trusts and the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund. There he was awarded the Premier Prix de la Musique de Chambre de Nice. Later he worked with William Pleeth and Jacqueline du Pré, as well as performing in master classes with, amongst others, Zara Nelsova and Johannes Goritzski.
As soloist he has broadcast for French & Spanish Radio and recorded recitals for the BBC. Works have been recorded under Meridian, Naxos, Delphian and The Divine Art labels. In the course of his distinguished career he has given recitals at the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall and has appeared as soloist in many leading British festivals.
Mark teaches cello and coaches chamber music at the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow, and Stirling – where the EQ is Quartet in Residence.
The Edinburgh Quartet is grateful to all those organisations and individuals whose continued support, interest and friendship makes possible the very wide range of activity undertaken by the players in Scotland and beyond.
Patrons – Sir James MacMillan, Ian Tomlin
Principal Funder – Creative Scotland
Residencies – University of Stirling
Association – The University of Edinburgh
Trusts – Binks Trust, Britten-Pears Foundation, Edinburgh Quartet Trust, Hope Scott Trust, PRS Foundation, RVW Trust, Tay Trust and individual donors
Friends – The Friends of the Edinburgh Quartet play a vital role in the life of the Quartet, through financial and in-kind support. Find out more about our Friends.
The Edinburgh Quartet was founded in 1960 when Sidney Newman, then Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, invited Miles Baster to return from New York’s Juilliard School of Music to establish a professional quartet based in the City of Edinburgh. Previously the New Edinburgh Quartet had filled this role, and their cellist Ian Hampton (son of Griller Quartet cellist Colin Hampton) remained in Edinburgh to provide a link between the two ensembles.
Thus the Edinburgh Quartet was one of the first university-based quartets in the UK. Although still busily involved in the musical life of Edinburgh University, the Edinburgh Quartet is now resident at the Universities of Aberdeen and Stirling, and regularly works with composition students at Edinburgh Napier University.
After its formation, the Quartet quickly became established as one of the foremost British ensembles, with frequent foreign tours supported by recordings on the Waverley label, subsequently subsumed by EMI. Having worked closely with Michael Tippett, the Edinburgh Quartet’s recording of Quartet No 1 was selected by the composer for re-release shortly before his death Close relationships were established with some of the most distinguished composers of the time (still very much a priority of the present players, who are proud to have James MacMillan as patron).
Indeed, their work in this field earned them the first PRS award from the Scottish Society of Composers. Kenneth Leighton, who himself became Reid Professor at Edinburgh, and Hans Gal (a wonderful Viennese musician, composer and academic who settled in Edinburgh in the 1930s) worked intimately with the Edinburgh Quartet in the preparation and performance of their works. Plans are in hand to record the complete chamber music of both of these composers, along with pieces by many of the other Scottish composers who have been championed by the Edinburgh Quartet over the decades.
Foreign tours soon became a frequent feature of the Quartet’s season. In addition to regular journeys to European countries and the USA, the Edinburgh Quartet toured extensively not only through South America but also to many of the Caribbean islands in the 1960s and early 70s – extremely enjoyable tours which were also pioneering expeditions to many areas which had not experienced this sort of music before.
The 1980s saw the Quartet playing regularly behind the Iron Curtain, with tours of Poland, Russia, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In this decade, the Edinburgh Quartet also began their work in the Middle East, with frequent and fascinating trips to most of the countries around the Gulf in addition to the nearer civilisations of Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria etc. The Quartet worked each year as mentors to the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra (most memorably in 1996, when, with Yehudi Menuhin as colleague, they prepared the orchestra for a performance at the Royal Oman Auditorium. Menuhin was conductor and the quartet members soloists.) These international musical connections are still active, and have been enriched in recent years by the Quartet’s regular visits to the islands of Cyprus and Malta.
In addition to fulfilling their regular series of engagements over a wide area, the players are more involved than most string quartets in the promotion of chamber music, playing both in Scotland’s cities and throughout the county’s rural areas. Regular performances are given at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall. Major works of the quartet repertoire are toured to the remotest locations of the Highlands and Islands, providing an intimate and complete musical experience to communities that may otherwise receive only scaled-down performances by larger companies, or perhaps no music at all.
This outreach work has always been linked to the Edinburgh Quartet’s educational programmes; master classes and workshops in music schools, conservatoires and universities, along with summer schools for Shell Expro, Scottish Amateur Music Association, etc, have contributed hugely over the years to the musical development of Scotland’s young and old alike.