The Basel String Quartet - violinists Susanne Mathé and Isabelle Ladewig, violist Stella Mahrenholz and cellist Stéphanie Meyer - has made a name for itself both in Switzerland and abroad with its themed programmes, including transdisciplinary collaborations with actors, directors, artists, dancers and writers such as Franz Hohler, Urs Widmer, Peter Schweiger, Wolfgang Beuschel and Matthias Schuppli.

The quartet was formed at the Basel Music Academy in 1996. Their mentors included such prestigious musicians as Walter Levin and the Alban Berg Quartet. Further inspiration came from members of the Amadeus Quartet, from Leon Fleisher, György Kurtág, György Sebök, Sándor Zöldy of the Végh Quartet, and from Samuel Rhodes of the Juilliard Quartet.

Awards and concert activity

In the early years, the quartet won numerous international prizes, including the international Max Reger Quartet Competition in Weimar. It received awards from the Basler Orchestergesellschaft (BOG) and the Basel-Landschaft canton. Their first CD appeared shortly thereafter on the Amphion Records label, with works by Haydn, Beethoven, Wolf and Kurtag.

The Basel String Quartet has performed at international festivals in Paris, Jerusalem and Schleswig-Holstein, where their concerts were received enthusiastically by both public and press. There followed invitations to the Internationaler Musikmonat Basel, the Davos Festival, and the IGNM in both Basel and Bern. As part of the Schoenberg Exhibition at the Frankfurt Schirm they gave a lecture recital with Walter Levin.

In 2006 the quartet gave its Zurich Tonhalle debut. Highlights from recent seasons include a tour of Romania, performances at the Bern Veress Festival and the Espace 2 Schubertiade, the Ernen Musikdorf Festival composition workshop, and a Swiss tour in quintet formation with Thomas Demenga. In 2014 the quartet performed at the Hans Huber Fest, and in 2015 at the International Scelsi Festival.

A CD with both the string quartets and the Concerto for String Quartet and Symphony Orchestra by Sandor Veress (first recording, with the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra under Jan Schultsz, in collaboration with Swiss Radio DRS) was released in 2013 by the UK label Toccata Classics. In 2015 they recorded Hans Huber's two piano quintets with pianist Jan Schultsz. In the 2016/17 season the Basel String Quartet performed at the Murten Classics international festival.

First performances

Over the years the quartet has premiered works by such composers as Charles Koechlin, Daniel Glaus, Daniel Biro, Gustav Friedrichson, Mathias Ruegg, Chris Weinheimer (in collaboration with Saarländischer Rundfunk) and Martin Derungs. In 2009 they gave the first performance of 'Zweigung' by Roland Moser, a composition dedicated to the Basel String Quartet, and in 2012 the quartet commissioned a work from Cécile Marti.