Danish String Quartet, 2016

Tour Dates: 5th May - 16th May, 2016

Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for their integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance.

Tour Dates
  • 5th May - 16th May, 2016

7th May, 2016, 19:30, Tianjin Grand Theatre
10th May, 2016, 19:30,  Beihang Sunrise Concert Hall

12th May, 2016, 19:30, Nanjing Arts Centre 
13th May, 2016, 19:45, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center
14th May, 2016, 19:30, Shanghai City Theatre
15th May, 2016, 19:30, Linyi Grand Theatre

Frederik Øland, violin
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello

Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for their integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance. With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) the quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike. Since making their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the group of musical friends has demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, who they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while also proving skilled and profound performers of the classical masters. In 2012 the New York Times selected the quartet’s concert as a highlight of the year, saying the performance featured: “One of the most powerful renditions of Beethoven’s Opus 132 String Quartet that I’ve heard live or on a recording.” This scope of talent secured them a three-year appointment in the coveted Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program that began in the 2013-14 season. The quartet was also named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2013-15.

The Danish String Quartet's 2015-16 season includes a release of their debut disc on ECM Records, a first-time tour of China as well as summer performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Maverick Concerts, Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest. International highlights include concerts in Berlin, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London and a debut at the Louvre Museum in Paris. With increasing popularity, the Danish String Quartet is considered one of the most sought after chamber ensembles in the world. Their repertoire is diverse, from Nielsen, Abrahamsen, Adès, Shostakovich to Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Haydn. Currently in their third season with the CMS Two program, they will perform all four of the Nielsen String Quartets in the Rose Studio and the final concert of a six-concert Beethoven cycle at Alice Tully Hall. This past November the quartet launched their recording of Danish folk songs entitled Wood Works, released by the Dacapo label and distributed by Naxos, at SubCulture in New York. It was selected by NPR as one of the best classical albums of 2014 and the Quartet was featured on a NPR Tiny Desk Concert performing works from the highly acclaimed album.

In addition to their New York performances, the quartet’s robust North American schedule takes them to Ann Arbor, Seattle, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Phoenix, Buffalo, Durham, Humboldt, Cedar Falls and Calgary this season, as well as two weeks of residency activities and performances at the University of California, Berkeley. The quartet will make their debut at the Savannah Music Festival in spring 2016. Last season the quartet presented the US premiere of Danish composer Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen's Quartet No. 7 "The Extinguishable" at the University of Chicago Presents series and subsequently performed the work in St. Paul, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, New Haven, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Laramie. In addition to its commitment to highlighting Scandinavian composers, the Danish String Quartet derives great pleasure in traditional Scandinavian folk music.

The Danish String Quartet made their west coast debut in summer 2013 at Music@Menlo described by San Francisco Classical Voice as “… a concert of one ravishing performance after another, culminating in the Beethoven, weaving magic over the full house, which gave a genuine standing ovation to the quartet, not one of those half-hearted crouching applauses. No, this was very real, really loud, and more than well-deserved.” They returned to Menlo in 2014 to perform programs of Haydn and Beethoven quartets as part of a busy summer festival schedule that also included performances in Ireland, France and at home in Denmark.

Since winning the Danish Radio P2 Chamber Music Competition in 2004, the quartet has been greatly desired throughout Denmark and in October 2015 they present the ninth annual DSQ-Festival, a four-day event held in Copenhagen that brings together musical friends the quartet has met on its travels. In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury. This competition is now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Danish String Quartet has performed at the famed hall on several occasions. They returned to Wigmore Hall in March 2015 to perform a program of Haydn and Shostakovich.

The Danish String Quartet was awarded First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland and the Audience Prize in the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. They were awarded the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany and, in 2011, received the prestigious Carl Nielsen Prize.

In 2006, the Danish String Quartet was Danish Radio’s Artist-in-Residence, giving them the opportunity to record all of Carl Nielsen's string quartets in the Danish Radio Concert Hall, subsequently released to critical acclaim on the Dacapo label in 2007 and 2008.  The New York Times review said “These Danish players have excelled in performances of works by Brahms, Mozart and Bartok in New York in recent years. But they play Nielsen’s quartets as if they owned them.”  In 2012 the Danish String Quartet released an equally-acclaimed recording of Haydn and Brahms quartets on the German AVI-music label. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times said: “What makes the performance special is the maturity and calm of the playing, even during virtuosic passages that whisk by. This is music making of wonderful ease and naturalness...” They recorded works by Brahms and Fuchs with award-winning clarinettist Sebastian Manz at the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, released by AVI-music in 2014, and recently signed with ECM Records for future recording projects.

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played both football and music together, eventually making the transition into a serious string quartet in their teens and studying at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Music.  In 2008 the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.  The Danish String Quartet was primarily taught and mentored by Professor Tim Frederiksen and have participated in master classes with the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Alasdair Tait, Paul Katz, Hugh Maguire, Levon Chilingirian and Gábor Takács-Nagy.  www.danishquartet.com

Frederik Øland, violin

FREDERIK ØLAND (b. 1984) was educated by Serguei Azizian in Copenhagen and Ulf Wallin in Berlin. In 2009 at the age of 23 he won the position as concert master at Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. The same year he was also employed as a teacher of violin and chamber music at The Royal Danish Academy of Music. Frederik Øland has been awarded various Danish prizes such as grants from Jacob Gade Foundation, Victor Borge Foundation and Léonie Sonning Foundation. He has appeared several times as a soloist, most recently with his colleagues in Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. In his spare time Frederik relaxes in his apartment in the Vesterbro-borough in central Copenhagen. 

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin

RUNE TONSGAARD SØRENSEN (b. 1983) started playing violin at the age of 5 after a failed attempt of learning the accordion. Now he is the concert master of Copenhagen Philharmonic, teacher at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, violinist in the Danish String Quartet and a well-known soloist in Denmark. In 2008 Rune was the only Danish semifinalist at the international Carl Nielsen Competition in Odense and he also received a prize for best performance of the danish pieces in the competition. Rune has always been a curious musician. He has been playing folk music most of his life, he is educated in organ and church music and he always likes a good jam session.

Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola

ASBJØRN NØRGAARD (b. 1984) has established himself as one of the most sought after viola players in Denmark and is the recipient of multiple accolades, including Jacob Gade’s large music grant and Sonnings Music Scholarship. First and foremost, Asbjørn Nørgaard is a vivid chamber musician and has founded The Danish String Quartet as well as Inviolata, a viola-accordion duo. With these two ensembles, he is prize winner in several national and international competitions and has recorded a plethora of cd’s, the latest being a recording of all J.S. Bach’s Viola da Gamba Sonatas. On the side of this, Asbjørn Nørgaard is an experienced orchestral player, and has led the viola sections of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra.

Asbjørn Nørgaard has studied in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Berlin. He graduated from the soloist scheme at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2013 performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante at the Radio Hall in Copenhagen. At the moment Asbjørn is learning to speak Portuguese and his favorite writer is Thomas Mann. He is a huge fan of encyclopedias and is always reading something about everything.

Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello

FREDRIK SCHØYEN SJÖLIN (b. 1982) has the honor of being the only Norwegian member of The Danish String Quartet. However (and this is often pointed out during rehearsals), as Norway was effectually a tributary to Denmark until 1814, Fredrik is actually sort of Danish. Fredrik grew up in Trondheim, where he had his first cello lessons as a 6-year old at the local music school. After finishing high school, he moved to Stockholm where to study with Torlief Thedéen. In 2007 he graduated from the diploma-programme and subsequently won a place in the prestigious two-year ”intro klasssisk”-scheme, run by ”Concerts Norway”. In 1996 Frederik won Norway’s national competition for young string players, and two years later he won the second prize in ”EMCY”s international competition. He has performed as soloist with several of the Norwegian orchestras including: The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchesra and the Bergen Philharmonic.


"This is one of the best quartets before the public today."

- Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

"They bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don’t ever remember hearing in these works."

- David Fanning, Gramophone

"They could be grounded in their tone or mystical. They allowed time to stand still, and they could assume the pose of excitingly aggressive rockers. They did it all."

- Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times