Castalian String Quartet
2016 RPS Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize winner
Sini Simonen (violin), Daniel Roberts (violin), Charlotte Bonneton (viola), Christopher Graves (cello)
Winner of the First Prize at the 2015 Lyon International Chamber Music Competition, the Castalian String Quartet is fast becoming a favourite with audiences in the United Kingdom and abroad for its 'richly romantic energy and passion' (Strad Magazine).
Formed in 2011, the quartet has been the beneficiary of awards from the Royal Overseas League (2011 Elias Fawcett Trust Award), the Countess of Munster Trust, the Tunnell Trust, the Royal Philharmonic Society, St. Peter's Eaton Square, Kirckman Concert Society and Mozarteum de France. In 2013 it won both the Audience Prize and First Prize in the Kammermusik Hannover Next Generation Competition, broadcast on German radio station NDR.
Highlights from previous seasons include performances at the Wigmore Hall, the Purcell Room, Kings Place, Lake District Summer Music, the Edinburgh Festival and a BBC Radio 3 recital from the Cheltenham Festival. The quartet also toured China at the invitation of the British Council. 2013 saw its German recital debut in the Heidelberger Frühling String Quartet Festival and first concerts in Switzerland at the Ceresio Estate Festival, Lugano.
2014 brought the release of the quartet's recording of Mendelssohn on the Champs Hill label (awarded BBC Music Magazine's 'Critic's Choice' for September, and 'Chamber Music Disc of the Quarter' by the German Record Critics Association), a second tour of Scotland, quintets in Germany with violist Nils Mönkemeyer and recitals in Berlin and the Festival de Musique de Conques.
In 2014 they graduated from the Hannover University of Music, Dance and Theatre with a Masters Degree in Chamber Music, studying with their mentor Oliver Wille. The quartet has also worked closely with Thomas Brandis and Levon Chilingirian.
Dr Ahmad Sarmast: RPS Honorary Member and founder of Afghanistan’s first national music school in Kabul.
DID YOU KNOW?
The RPS Gold Medal for outstanding musicianship has been awarded only 100 times since 1871.