“The performances of the Quartet Berlin-Tokyo are genuine, and especially the enthusiasm and love for the music is very impressive.” -- Toshio Hosokawa
The Quartet Berlin-Tokyo is a young, dynamic string quartet that owes its first major successes to the intense approach of the players, which involves content and expression and communication with the audience.
It was the well-known Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa who, after a successful performance at the Takefu international Music Festival, proposed the name for the quartet. But the name is not just a reference to these two metropolises, for these young players it is much more about the road between those two centers: the connection between two cultures. It is therefore no coincidence that they feel strongly connected to the music of Béla Bartók and the synthesis between East and West that he strives for.
The Quartet Berlin-Tokyo originated from a collaboration of students from the two Berlin conservatories, and after only a few months they achieved their first success at the Internationale Musikwettbewerb of the ARD in Munich in 2012, when the quartet won the Förderpreis from the Jeunesses Musicales Germany. Shortly afterwards, in 2014, the quartet won the first and the audience prize of the Orlando International String Quartet Competition.
Other prizes won were: 2nd and public prize of the international Salieri-Zinetti Competition in Verona, 2nd prize of the Young Concert Artist Audition in New York, 3rd prize of the international competition 'Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne' in Graz, the 2nd prize together with the 'Special Prize for the best interpretation of Carl Nielsen' at the International Chamber Music Competition in Copenhagen, 3rd prize at the International Joseph Joachim Chamber Music Competition, and the 'Prix Spécial Irène Steels-Wilsing' of the Concours & Festival Quators à Bordeaux in that city.
The Quartet Berlin-Tokyo has previously won several stipends, including from the Matsuo Academic Foundation Tokyo and the Ottilie-Selbach-Redslob-Stiftung. In October 2014, the quartet obtained a stipend from the Irène Steels-Wilsing Stiftung, after which it was awarded the title 'HSBC Laureates des Festivals d'Aix-en-Provence' in 2015.
The quartet has already performed on many national and international stages and can be heard in the Laeishalle in Hamburg, in the Berlin Philharmonie and in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
In addition, the four young musicians were invited to renowned festivals such as the Chamber Music Festival in Oslo, the Takefu International Music Festival, the Heidelberger Frühling, and the Davos Festival in Switzerland where the quartet performed the 5 hour long string quartet by Morton Feldman. In the 2020-21 season, in honor of Beethoven, the quartet performed his joint string quartets in two concert series.
The young ensemble received musical encouragement from Oliver Wille, David Alberman, András Keller, Gerhard Schulz, Hartmut Rohde, Johannes Meissl, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Heime Müller, Eberhard Feltz, Artemis Quartet and the Arditti Quartet.
Since 2014, the quartet has held a residency at Rokkatei's Fukinoto Concert Hall in Sapporo, Japan. During this period they released CDs with the joint string quartets of Béla Bartók and opus 76 of Joseph Haydn.
In 2021 the quartet founded its own independent label: 'QBT Collection', of which the world premiere recording of Gavriil Popov's 'Quartet-Symphony' was the first CD. This recording has already been enthusiastically received by many critics internationally.