Villiers Quartet begins new music residency at Nottingham High School

December 7, 2015





East Midlands leading independent co-educational school, Nottingham High School has formed a three year music residency partnership with the internationally renowned Villiers Quartet.

The Villiers Quartet, who has been described as one of the best young quartets around today, has become the Quartet in Residence at Nottingham High School. They will be working with the school to enrich cultural life, encourage string playing amongst students and chamber music and work with composers of all levels and abilities.

Villiers Quartet visited the school earlier this year when they ran a compositional workshop with Year 10 GCSE students, coached three of the school’s top chamber ensembles, performed at the Infant and Junior Schools and ran a taster session on chamber playing with violinists from Years 8 to 10. In addition they performed Borodin’s String Quartet No.2 at a recital which also included a surprise encore: the first performance of a beautifully moving string quartet composed by Year 11 student, Oliver Hopkins-Burke as part of his GCSE Music.

Future plans include more chamber music coaching, individual masterclasses, a compositional techniques workshop for A level students on the Classical String Quartet and an evening recital which will be open to the general public.

There are also plans to organise a Nottingham Chamber Music Festival in three years time which will be open to the local community.

Stefan Reid, Music Director at Nottingham High School said; “This unique collaboration between a school and an established ensemble will provide some really valuable and inspiring opportunities for our students. We are all looking forward to seeing how the partnership develops.”

Carmen Flores of Villiers Quartet said; "We look forward to this exciting collaboration with Nottingham High School, one of the UK's leading independent schools. We have been energised by the great enthusiasm for music-making shown by the students and staff at the School, and we are proud to share our artistic journey with the Nottingham community. Together, we hope to enrich the scope of chamber music and music ensembles for the region."

A further link to Nottingham High School was that they recently featured on the soundtrack of BBC adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence – a former pupil of Nottingham High School.


Villiers Quartet joins i-PHENOMENON Artist Management

November 25, 2015


The Villiers Quartet is pleased to announce that it has joined forces with i-PHENOMENON arts and promotion management, based in Beijing, China.  Together with i-PHENOMENON, the Villiers Quartet is committed to presenting chamber music concerts for audiences in China and across Asia, and to representing the very best of the string quartet experience which the VQ provides.  For more information visit












Oxford launches Villiers Residency with Opening Concert, 25th November

November 20, 2015


Over the next three years, Music at Oxford will present six concerts by the Villiers Quartet as part of their Radcliffe Chamber Music Residency at the University of Oxford. 

The Villiers Quartet specialise – among other things – in the much-loved English repertoire of the early 20th century, and it was their heartfelt rendition of Elgar which secured their residency at Oxford. The three works in their first programme - two from England and one from France - were all influenced by the horrors of the Great War, and accordingly, the beauty of these quartets is tinged with a darker hu.

The Concert is on the 25th November at the Holywell Music Room in Oxford. The concert title is L'entente Cordiale with an introductory talk from Professor Dan Grimley. The following pieces will be featured in the programme:

Delius - Quartet (1916)
Faure - Quartet in E minor, op.121
Elgar - Quartet in E minor, op. 83

The Delius Quartet includes the original slow movement of Late Swallows. Research indicates that this has not been performed since its premiere in June 1916.

For full details please visit:

VQ New Works Competition 2016 announced

October 22, 2015


The Villiers Quartet announces the VQ New Works Competition for 2016. This competition is open to composers of any nationality and age writing new music for string quartet.


Deadline for entries is January 15th, 2016

Hosted by the Villiers Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University, the third edition of the international VQ New Works Competition 2016 promises to be another ground-breaking contemporary music event.

The field will be narrowed to six composers, whose works will be video recorded and posted on the Villiers Quartet website for online audience vote from 1 – 15 April 2016. The top three finalists will be announced on 16 April 2016 and have their works performed live at the Jaqueline Du Pré Music Building at Oxford University by the Villiers Quartet on 27 May 2016. The winner will be determined by audience vote. Prizes will be awarded in the following order:

First Prize


Composition included in the Villiers Quartet repertoire for upcoming seasons.

Recording of work by the Villiers Quartet.


Second Prize



Third Prize


For more information on entry requirements and instructions, visit.


VQ begins 2015-16 season with BBC One's "Lady Chatterley's Lover"

September 3, 2015


The Villiers Quartet will be featured on the score to the BBC film adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, the D.H. Lawrence drama which airs Sunday, September 6th at 9:00pm on BBC One. With a score composed by Carly Paradis, Lady Chatterley's Lover is part of BBC's Original British Drama series of great literature from the 20th Century, and features the Villiers Quartet exclusively on its soundtrack.


The Villiers Quartet - the Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University's Faculty of Music - begins the 2015/16 season with their debut appearance on the Lady Chatterley's Lover film score. In addition to their work with composer Carly Paradis, the VQ's 2015/16 season also includes performances and collaborations with composers Rob Keeley, Andrew Waggoner, and Jose Gonzalez Granero (Winner of the 2014 VQ New Works Competition).


This season the VQ performs with some of the UK's most distinguished musicians including clarinettist Victoria Soames Samek in a recording of Rob Keeley's “Sonata” for quartet and clarinet, and a performance of the Schumann Piano Quintet with celebrated pianist Paul Turner. During their residency at Oxford University, the VQ will work closely with Professor Daniel Grimley on the music of composer Frederick Delius, as part of the research project Delius, Modernism, and the Sound of Place.


The Villiers Quartet also hosts the third edition of their internationally acclaimed VQ New Works Competition, to take place in Spring 2016 at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Oxford University. Additional appearances in the UK for the 2015/16 season include performances at St. Andrew's Music Festival in Sheffield, Richmondshire Concerts, and Music at Oxford's International Concert Season as the VQ begins their much anticipated residency at Oxford University.


Tune into BBC One this Sunday, September 6th at 9:00pm to hear the Villiers Quartet perform on the soundtrack to the BBC film adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover.


Villiers Quartet makes BBC Radio Debut

August 11, 2015

The Villiers Quartet makes their BBC Radio 3 debut on August 11th and 12th, 2015, in a pre-recorded broadcast of their concert at Leamington Music International String Quartet Series.  The Lunchtime Concert Programme includes their performance of works by Edward Elgar, Haydn, and Frederick Delius.  More information on the broadcast can be found online at the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert page.

VQ featured in June issue of Classical Music Magazine

June 23, 2015

The Villiers Quartet are featured in the June 2015 issue of Classical Music Magazine's "News from the Studios," article by Phillip Sommerich.


Villiers Quartet releases "Sanctus" by Riho Esko Maimets

April 26, 2015

The Villiers Quartet has released their recording of Sanctus by Riho Esko Maimets, Winner of the inaugural VQ New Works Competition in 2012. The recording is available as a digital download at CD Baby and iTunes. CDs can also be ordered here.

Programme note for Sanctus, by Riho Esko Maimets:

"Sanctus for string quartet draws on musical material from a variety of religious traditions (Eastern Orthodox chant, Ashkenazy Jewish cantoral singing, Yiddish song, Renaissance motet, and even Klezmer). I also interpret the last movement as an ethereal Persian-sounding chant, which to me represents Sufism, which is a spiritual movement that has become very close to my heart. I felt inspired to write Sanctus when I heard a description of a holy man on a radio show that deeply moved me, perhaps because of its reference to an ancient way of thinking which espouses eternal values which seem to have become neglected in the modern age. This quartet is an exploration of mysticism and spirituality in its different forms. I decided to draw on a variety of musical and religious traditions to evoke the universality and eternality of spirituality."

A composer of Estonian and Canadian background, Riho Esko Maimets attended the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music. Having taken lessons and masterclasses from Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki, and R. Murray Schafer, he continues the exploration of mysticism in his music. He is the winner of the 2011 Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music and the 2012 VQ New Works Competition. He lives in Estonia.






VQ appointed new Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University

March 17, 2015


Radcliffe Chamber Music Residency at Oxford: 2015-2018

Competition Winners: Villiers String Quartet


The Villiers Quartet has won a three-year residency at the Faculty of Music at the University of

Oxford, emerging victorious at the public competition held on 1 March at the Holywell Music

Room. As part of the three-year residency, supported by the Radcliffe Trust and lasting from

2015 to 2018, the ensemble will perform an annual series of concerts in Oxford’s historic venues,

the Holywell Music Room and the Sheldonian Theatre. They will coach student performers, work

with student composers and collaborate on research projects, amongst other things. Music at

Oxford will provide them with a platform in the city and help to promote them.


In 2012 the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford launched a Chamber Music Residency

with the generous support of the Radcliffe Trust. The first recipients were the Cavaleri Quartet.

The residency is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic string quartet to provide and promote

chamber music in Oxford. It aims to attract ensembles who wish to develop and deepen their

approach to works from the standard repertoire as well as newly composed music, and who

have an active interest in interacting creatively with the Faculty’s own performers, composers,

and musicologists with interests in chamber music. It also aims to support the artistic and

professional development of the selected group.


Jessica Duchen says: ‘James Dickenson (first violin), Tamaki Higashi (second violin), Carmen

Flores (viola) and Nick Stringfellow (cello) impressed the jury with an impassioned performance

of the complete Elgar String Quartet, plus a sensitive reading of the set work, a short quartet by

Eugene Birman, as well as their focus, energy and expertise in coaching a student ensemble in

Smetana’s G minor Piano Trio. The other shortlisted groups were the Ligeti Quartet and the Piatti

Quartet. Each ensemble performed for the jury and audience for 25 minutes, then gave a 15-

minute coaching session on the Smetana. The jury was chaired by Professor Mine Dogantan-

Dack, with Professor Martyn Harry, cellist Pál Banda, Music at Oxford’s Rebecca Dawson, and

your editor from Amati, music journalist Jessica Duchen.’


The Villiers Quartet is one of the most charismatic and adventurous quartets of the British

chamber music scene. Nothing is beyond their repertoire as they define the string quartet for

the 21st century. Dedicated to the established works of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms, they

have also developed a reputation as exceptional interpreters of English composers including

Elgar, Britten and Delius. Having toured across the UK and internationally, they have been

declared "one of the best young quartets around today" (Jerry Horner, Fine Arts Quartet), and

their performances of Shostakovich and Tischenko have been hailed as "masterful playing"

(Classical Source).


Named after Villiers Street in London's colourful musical epicentre, the Villiers Quartet

encompasses the grand and iconic spirit of the extraordinary music tradition in London. In

October 2014, Naxos released their debut CD of the complete quartets of Robert Still, and they

are the featured quartet on the soundtrack to the BBC Primetime Drama Lady Chatterley's

Lover, airing in 2015. Their recording of Sanctus for string quartet by Canadian-Estonian

composer Riho Maimets, a recording of the Shostakovich and David Matthews piano quintets for

Somm Recordings, and a BBC radio broadcast of their Delius & Elgar programme in 2015 are just

some of the exciting highlights of the Villiers Quartet this season.



For further information, interviews, biographies and photographs, please contact John Cronin.

John Cronin – Music & Media Consulting

Telephone: 01354 740847 | 07774 426966



Address: Music & Media Consulting Limited, 3 Cypress Close, Doddington, Cambridgeshire PE15 0LE


Villiers Quartet makes Leamington and BBC Radio Debut

March 15, 2015


The final concert in the 2014/15 Leamington Music International String Quartet Concerts series at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington will be given by the VILLIERS QUARTET on Friday 20 March at 7 30.


The concert which will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 has a programme consisting of Haydn’s Quartet in F minor Opus 55 No 2 and two quartets written by the English composers Delius and Elgar during World War One.


The Villiers Quartet which was formed in 2010 and will be playing in Leamington for the first time has a line-up of James Dickenson and Tamaki Higashi violins, Carmen Flores viola and Nick Stringfellow on cello. Nick Stringfellow is well known in this area for his work with the Orchestra of the Swan.


Named after Villiers Street in central London, the Quartet already has a big reputation for playing English composers and is also very involved in a wide range of activities in contemporary music. Recently appointed as Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University, the Villiers will be featured on the soundtrack of the BBC television drama of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, to be transmitted this Spring.


Richard Phillips, Festival Director, adds, “We are all looking forward to hearing the Villiers here for the first time to conclude a really successful season with concerts by the Takacs Quartet based in the USA and the Zemlinsky Quartet from the Czech Republic, two of the senior British quartets, the Allegri and Brodsky, plus the future represented by the Jubilee Quartet.”


The Villiers Quartet will visit Leamington on Tuesday 17 March to give workshops in Sydenham and Whitnash Primary Schools, followed by a visit to Claverdon Primary School, all as part of the Leamington Music Education Programme.


The Quartet series at the Royal Pump Rooms is followed by the Leamington Music Festival Weekend, which runs 1-5 May and which is launched by the Fitzwilliam Quartet and finishes with the Henschel Quartet from Germany, whose concert will be the 100th string quartet concert mounted by Leamington Music in its nine years existence. The Festival also marks the one hundredth festival that Richard Phillips has created or directed.


Tickets for all Leamington Music concerts are on sale at the Leamington Town Hall Box Office, telephone 01926 334418 or online


Leamington Music is grateful to many donors, sponsors and trusts plus Warwick District Council, Leamington Town Council and Warwick Town Council for financial support. 


--Press release by Leamington Music.  For more information, contact:

Northgate, Warwick, CV34 4JL T: 01926 497000, E:

International String Quartet Series at the Royal Pump Rooms Leamington Spa