Find out more about our resident ensembles.

String Quartet in Residence (The Quatuor Danel)

Quatuor Danel
The Quatuor Danel.

Marc Danel, Gilles Millet (violins) - Vlad Bogdanas (alto) - Yovan Markovitch (violoncello)

The Quatuor Danel was founded in 1991 and has been at the forefront of the international music scene ever since, with important concert performances worldwide and a row of groundbreaking CD recordings winning many important international awards.

The quartet is famous for their bold, concentrated interpretations of the string quartet cycles of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Weinberg. Their lively and fresh vision on the traditional quartet repertoire has delivered them subsequent praise from public and press. The other part of their force lies in the collaboration with major contemporary composers such as Rihm, Lachenmann, Gubaidulina, Dusapin Jörg Widmann and Bruno Mantovani.

Russian composers have a special place in the Quatuor Danel’s repertoire. They have championed all string quartets by Shostakovich and recorded the complete cycle for Fuga Libera in 2005. This box-set was recently re-issued and still counts as one of the benchmark interpretations of Shostakovich’ quartets. Over the past three years the Quatuor Danel has recorded the almost unknown quartet oeuvre of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, the neglected contemporary of Shostakovich, for CD-label CPO. The quartet will continue to break a lance for this breathtakingly beautiful repertoire coming seasons.

At the very heart of the Quatuor Danel’s work lies their ambassadorship for young musicians in general and string quartets in particular. Teaching and master classes are a fundamental part of their activities. The quartet has been artist-in-residence at the University of Manchester since 2005, working closely with the students, but also with musicologists Barry Cooper and David Fanning.

The quartet’s current concert diary will take them to the major concert halls in Brussels, Amsterdam, Moscow, Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Berlin, Milano, Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo and New York, but they are also comfortable when playing in lesser known intimite venues. Quatuor Danel is a regular guest at festivals such as Kuhmo, Cork, Schleswig-Holstein, Alpen Festival, Bregenz, Montpellier, Enescu Festival (Bucharest), Ars Musica and Musica Mundi.

Upcoming recording projects of the Quatuor Danel will consist of the three Tchaikovsky quartets, Piano Quintet by Franck and a longer term project with all string quartets by Haydn and late Beethoven.

Contemporary Ensemble in Residence - (Psappha)

Psappha logo (orange text on white, with the caption 'passion for creating and performing new music')

Specialising in the performance of music by living composers and that of the 20th and 21st centuries, Psappha was formed in 1991 by its Artistic Director Tim Williams.

The ensemble has an extensive and exceptionally varied repertoire of hundreds of works and a reputation for technical assurance and interpretive flair. It won the Manchester Evening News Award for Opera in 2000 and has been shortlisted for a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society award on two occasions. Psappha has commissioned and premiered many works by a wide range of composers including the award-winning music-theatre work, Mr Emmet Takes a Walk, by its Patron Peter Maxwell Davies, released on the ensembles own label.

Manchester University New Music Ensemble (Vaganza)

John Casken CD cover for Vaganza
John Casken's Vaganza.

Highlights over recent years have included performances of Stockhausen's Kreuzspiel, Philip Grange's As It Was, Birtwistle's Silbury Air and Gérard Grisey's Partiels, Per Nørgård's Night-Symphonies, Day Breaks and John Casken's Vaganza. Gilles Millet, violin. Vaganza's name is a homage and pays tribute to composer and Emeritus Professor of Music John Casken.

MANTIS-in-Motion (Kairos, Bling This Story)

MANTIS festival logo with caption 'Manchester Theatre in Sound'

Our always evolving live electronics ensemble is a key platform for composers to explore the combination of acoustic instruments and electronics.

In the past we had KAIROS electronic Ensemble (performance across UK 2006-08), Bling This Story (Manchester 2008-09), MANTIS Showreels with concerts in Germany, Thailand, Hong Kong etc, and MANTIS-in-Motion with sound diffusion concerts all around the world.

Trio Atem

Trio Atem
Trio Atem.

Trio Atem - Gavin Osborn, flute; Nina Whiteman, voice; Alice Purton, cello.

Trio Atem started residency at the NOVARS research centre in 2009 and actively support teaching across Music at The University of Manchester.