Germany's Armida Quartett has been one of the fastest-rising groups on the chamber music scene, not only in their home country but also internationally, with prizes, appearances in top halls, and a promising recording career to their credit. Consisting of violinist Martin Funda, violist Teresa Schwamm, and the sister-brother team of violinist Johanna Staemmler and cellist Peter-Philipp Staemmler, the Armida Quartett was founded in 2006 in Berlin, where its members had all been active in other ensembles. The group was named after Haydn's opera Armida, Hob. 28/12. They undertook a substantial period of study as a group, working with members of the Artemis Quartett and taking master classes with the Arditti Quartet, the Guarneri Quartet, and the Alban Berg Quartet. These classes paid off at the 2012 ARD Music Competition, where the Armida Quartett took first prize, an audience award, and six more special prizes. That led to inclusion in a BBC New Generation Artists roster in 2014 and a Rising Stars tour of various European halls in the 2016-2017 season. In 2014 they toured Taiwan, China, and Singapore. Their 2018 schedule included a busy season of touring throughout Germany. The Armida Quartett has appeared at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, and the Davos Festival.
The group's recording career has grown in tandem with the frequency of its concert appearances. With the exception of one album, the quartet has recorded exclusively for the CAvi-music label, beginning with an album devoted to quartets of Bartók, Kurtág, and Ligeti in 2013. The exception was a recording of the String Quartet No. 1 of the expatriate German Jewish composer Ursula Mamlok, issued on Naxos in 2014. The Armida Quartett released Fuga Magna, a collection of mostly unknown string quartet pieces incorporating fugues, in 2017. They have also issued several albums including music of Mozart, and they planned a massive new cycle of Mozart chamber music for the year 2021, marked on their website with a countdown clock. Since October of 2012, the quartet has taught chamber music at Berlin's University of the Arts. They have also given master classes in Augsburg, Germany and in Singapore. ~ James Manheim