RPS Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize 2019 | £5,000
Prizewinners of the 2018 International Anton Rubinstein Chamber Music Competition and finalists in the 2019 Royal Overseas-League Music Competition, the Echéa Quartet was formed in 2017 at the Royal Academy of Music, London. They are currently Chamber Music Fellows at the Royal Academy (2019/20), and artists for the Concordia Foundation (2018/19) and the City Music Foundation (2019/20). The quartet will continue their studies with John Myerscough and Levon Chilingirian at the Royal Academy, and with Simon Rowland-Jones through the Chamber Studio mentorship programme run by Kings Place, London.
In 2018, the Echéa Quartet were the string-quartet-in-residence at Ferrandou Musique (France) and at the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival (USA), collaborating with the baritone David Wilson-Johnson and violinist Rachel Barton Pine respectively. This year they performed Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Selini Quartet at the Musikverein (Vienna) and collaborated with Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum (Switzerland). The quartet were featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’, and more recently on CBC National Radio (Canada) as part of their six-week tour of the west coast of North America. The quartet also attended the ‘Evolution of the String Quartet’ residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts where they worked with the JACK and Parker Quartets. The quartet will be returning to Canada in March 2021 for further concerts.
New music is central to the Echéa Quartet's work. In this regard, they have commissioned works by and collaborated with multiple UK-based composers, including Louise Drewett, Freya Waley-Cohen and Robert Laidlow. More widely, the quartet have worked closely with Harrison Birtwistle, Andrew Norman and Henning Kraggerud (WestCork Chamber Music Festival, 2019). In January 2020, the quartet will be appearing at the Festival de los Siete Lagos (Patagonia, Argentina).
Three of the members perform on instruments on loan from the Royal Academy of Music. Aliayta plays on a J. F. Pressenda violin from 1847, Emily on a Spirito Sorsana violin from 1731, and Clara on a Jean Baptiste Salomon viola from 1745. Eliza plays on a Chenanais cello from 1912.
The Echéa Quartet was awarded the 2019 RPS Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize for outstanding young string quartet. This prize includes a £5,000 cash prize to fund future performance opportunities, plus tailored career support from the RPS in the 2019/20 season.