Available languages: EnglishBritain's Sacconi Quartet has gained wide recognition beyond its home country for innovative programming that often stresses contemporary music. The group established a successful and ongoing chamber music festival in the town of Folkestone. The Sacconi Quartet was founded in 2001 at London's Royal College of Music, where its members were all graduates. Since that time, its membership -- violinists Ben Hancox and Hannah Dawson, violist Robin Ashwell, and cellist Cara Berridge -- has remained consistent. The group soon began to tour beyond the U.K., appearing across Europe and performing under the auspices of the British Council in Amman, Jordan, in 2009. The Sacconi Quartet began to appear at such venues as the Concerts du Midi in Brussels and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany, and the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in Folkestone, Kent, was established in 2008; it continued to flourish as of the early 2020s, by which time the quartet had been named Quartet in Residence for the town of Folkestone. The group has performed at major London venues, including Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room, as well as venues across Europe, including the Musikverein in Vienna and the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. The Sacconi Quartet has a long record of championing contemporary music, giving world premieres of some 20 works by such composers as Graham Fitkin, Judith Bingham, and Roxanna Panufnik. It is also noted for unusual programming, such as HEARTBEAT, a multimedia presentation of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132, that involved listeners' heartbeats via electronic means, and Beethoven in the Dark, a performance of the String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, from memory, in near-total darkness. The Sacconi Quartet made its recording debut on the Naxos label in 2006 with an album of music by Gerald Finzi and then released several albums on its own Sacconi Records label before signing with Signum Classics. There, it has released albums devoted to Jonathan Dove, Graham Fitkin, and, in 2021, Roxanna Panufnik. The quartet's work has a strong educational component; it often gives school workshops and family concerts, and it has premiered an educational presentation called The String Thing.
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