Philharmonia Quartet Berlin


Daniel Stabrawa, First Violin
Christian Stadelmann, Second Violin
Neithard Resa, Viola
Dietmar Schwalke, Cello

“Four of the best” is how the London Press described the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin after their debut performance at Wigmore Hall. Lord Yehudi Menuhin added, “I’d like to hear music always played as beautifully as you play.” And indeed, since its foundation in 1985, the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin has established itself as a world-renowned string quartet, be it in Europe, the U.S., Japan, or South America. The Media often calls them the “top-flight ensemble” as they have set a new bar with their homogenous sound and flawless interplay. The ensemble plays regularly in the “Kammermusiksaal” of the “Berliner Philharmonie, ” and holds guest performances at prestigious concert series events around the globe, such as at Carnegie Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London. They also regularly appear at music festivals, such as the “Salzburger Festspiele” in Austria.

Along their journey they have captured a variety of audiences including Pope Benedikt XVI during a private event concert, and the Spanish Royal family in the Palacio Real when performing on family-owned Stradivari instruments. Three of their numerous recordings, including Reger, Shostakovich, and Britten won the German Schallplattenpreis and were named “outstanding” recordings by the German newspaper “Suddeutsche Zeitung.” For Beethoven’s string quartet op. 130 and the great fugue op.133 the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin received the ECHO-KLASSIK-Preis twice. Furthermore, the quartet received the Argentine Critic Prize in Buenos Aires.

The quartet caught international attention and thrilled the audience of the Berliner Philharmonie with their performances of the Beethoven- and Shostakovich-cycles. Their versatile and adventurous repertoire now includes over 100 pieces. It spans from the Classical period to the 20th Century, and includes rarely performed string quartets, such as Hindemith’s Nr. 4, Reger op. 74, Schulhoff Nr. 1, and Szymanowski Nr. 1 and Nr. 2. Up until the sudden death of the cellist, Jan Diesselhorst in February of 2009, the string quartet played in their original cast. Dietmar Schwalke has now followed into Jan’s footsteps. With him the quartet has been able to preserve their characteristic homogenous sound and harmonious interplay and continue to perform worldwide. Their two recent recordings include Beethoven’s Rasumovsky Quartets op.59 (2014) and the three Brahms Quartets (2015).

A native of Krakow, Poland, Daniel Stabrawa is the Principal Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. After winning many international competitions at a very young age and finishing his studies at his hometown Music Conservatory in the class of Professor Zbigniew Szelezer, he was appointed concertmaster of the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Krakow in 1979. He joined the Berlin Philharmonic violin section in 1983 and was appointed concertmaster of the Orchestra in 1986 under Herbert von Karajan. In addition to his orchestral duties he has built a distinguished career as a soloist and chamber music player. Daniel Stabrawa has often appeared as a soloist with the Berlin based orchestras in works by Prokofiev, Weill and Szymanowski and has toured extensively in the United States and Asia. Together with his wife, pianist Elzbieta Stabrawa he has given many concerts dedicated to Sonatas and has been an avid supporter and messenger of Karol Szymanowski’s music. Since 1994 Daniel Stabrawa has devoted more time to conducting and at the beginning of the 1995/1996 season became music director and conductor of the Capella Bydgostiensis in Bromberg, Germany.

Born in Berlin, Germany, violinist Christian Stadelmann is the youngest member of the quartet. He started taking violin lessons at an early age first with Professor Charlotte Hampe and then later graduated from the Conservatory of Arts in Berlin in the class of Professor Th. Brandis. Christian Stadelmann has won numerous competitions and was a founding member of the German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen. After several years with the Young German Philharmonic, he became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1985 and has led the second violins of the Berlin Phil since 1987.

A native of Berlin, Neithard Resa, first took violin lessons with Professor Schwalbe in Berlin before continuing his studies in Cologne with Professor Max Rostal. Upon his graduation from the music conservatory, he was awarded a DAAD scholarship (German Foreign Policy Exchange) which gave him the opportunity to study in the United States with Michael Tree from the Guarnieri Quartet. In 1978 he won the Young Artists’ Competition, the German Music Foundation and joined the Berlin Philharmonic as principal viola of the Orchestra that same year.

Dietmar Schwalke was born in Pienneberg in 1958 and started taking cello lessons at the age of twelve. He first studied in Hamburg with Arthur Troester, then with Wolfgang Boettcher in Berlin before completing his studies with Pierre Fournier. In 1981 Dietmar Schwalke made his debut in the Philharmonie Berlin with the Cello Concerto by Robert Schumann and the RSO Berlin. Before joining the Berlin Philharmonic in 1994 he played six years in the Kreuzberg String Quartet. Since 2009 he is a member of the Philhamonia Quartet Berlin.

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