The Erinys Quartet was founded in 2018 at the Sibelius Academy where they have worked closely with Marko Ylönen. These four musicians, coming from Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Greece, and the United States, have found common ground together in Helsinki. Named for the Erinyes (a.k.a. the Furies) from the Greek tragedy Oresteia by Aeschylus.
The Quartet has performed throughout Finland, the rest of Europe, and in the United States. Erinys has been featured at festivals and concert series including Korsholm Music Festival (Vaasa, Finland), Mimir Chamber Music Festival (Texas, USA), and Festival Groba (Ponteareas, Spain). They have also taken part in the inaugural Dover Quartet Workshop at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Pacifica Quartet Professional Quartet Seminar at Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana.
Erinys has participated in the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition as well as the Bad Tölz International String Quartet Competition where they were awarded the Audience Prize Award of the City of Bad Tölz, as well as the Esterházy Foundation Special Prize for best interpretation of a Haydn string quartet.
Since 2021 Erinys Quartet has been supported by Le Dimore del Quartetto where they are also a part of the European Union-sponsored MERITA platform.
In 2023 the Erinys Quartet will begin studies with the Dover Quartet at the Curtis Institute of Music as the Nina von Maltzahn String Quartet-in-Residence, as well as at Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain under the tutelage of Professor Günter Pichler (Alban Berg Quartett).
Ludwig van Beethoven finished his first collection of six string quartets in 1801, this work being the last of the set. The listener can hear clear influences of Joseph Haydn, Beethoven’s teacher, throughout the piece. The third movement almost comes across as a joke where the audience is never completely sure where the beat is supposed to be. The most confounding moment of this piece is the opening of the final movement. Whereas most quartet finales of the time were quick and upbeat, this one begins with a rather significant slow section (“Adagio”) marked “La Malinconia”, or, “melancholy”. The harmonies of this Malinconia are dense and yearning, never reaching a satisfying conclusion until the movement finally resolves into a fast and uplifting finale atmosphere. The whole piece finishes in a whirlwind of scales—overwhelmingly exuberant and celebratory.
Krzysztof Penderecki, who would have been 90 years old this year, was born in Dębica, Poland in 1933. He wrote his third quartet “Leaves of an Unwritten Diary” in one single movement. Though it is only one movement, the listener can experience dances, mournful ballads, and Romani folk music in this rich work. Penderecki grew up with these folk influences, passed down by his father and permeating the culture that surrounded him. The work doesn’t finish with a definitive ending statement, but it leaves the listener with a question—a sense of open-endedness and possibility.
Karol Szymanowski was an early 20th century Polish composer writing around the time of the October Revolution. He was greatly influenced by transcendentalism and modern Polish literature of the time. He was a member of a young group of Polish creators who were associated with the following phrase: ‘Art has no aim— art stands above life, penetrates the essence of the universe. It becomes the highest religion and the artist becomes its priest.’ His second quartet is a great example of a composer merging the traditional classical form with folk traditions of his own culture. The first movement begins with a haunting melody in octaves between the first violin and cello. Throughout the movement the seamless melody is disrupted by scratchy outbursts before returning to the ethereal atmosphere. The second and third movements are rife with themes inspired by the Tatra music of the Polish highlands.
Benjamin Britten wrote his second quartet in 1945 after returning to the United Kingdom from a concert tour of recently liberated concentration camps following the second world war. The listener can feel the influences of this experience throughout the piece. Although affected by death and horror, the quartet focuses more on the concept of life, conveying optimism for the future while never forgetting the horrors of the past. Britten’s Quartet No. 2 invokes strong feelings of something primordial, cosmic, and divine. Britten always uses beautiful colors. Even in his most dissonant and wild passages, the beauty persists. The material evolves and varies greatly, journeying through an abundance of different moods and emotions—we can’t help but feel there is something hopeful that permeates the work.