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Women Musician Encounters

The Psophos Quartet

Psophos picture

Photo : DR

Ayako Tanaka, violin
Bleuenn Le Maître, violin
Cécile Grassi, alto
Eve-Marie Caravassilis, cello

The Psophos Quartet, whose name is derived from the Greek for “sonic event”, was founded in 1997 at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon, with the support of Gilbert Amy. Besides the numerous musical encounters with the Proquartet association, the quartet has essentially trained alongside the Ysaye Quartet at the Conservatoire supérieur de Paris-C.N.R. and with Walter Levine at the Bâle and the Lübeck Academies.

In less than three years the Psophos Quartet received 4th Prize at the London International Contest, 3rd Prize at the Osaka International Contest, 2nd Prize at the Vittorio Gui de Florence International Contest and the special Prize from the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg. The Quartet’s success continued in 2001 when it won the First Grand Prize at the International String Quartet Contest in Bordeaux (formerly the Evian Contest) as well as the International Press Award, the Serge Den Arend Prize for best interpretation of Mozart, the Maurice Ohana Prize and the Mécénat Musical Société Générale Prize for their CD.

This success led to invitations from around the world to perform at the leading festivals and in leading concert halls. In January 2005, the Psophos quartet was awarded “Meilleur ensemble de l’année” (Best Group of the Year) in the 2005 “Victoires de la Musique classique”. Moreover, it has just been selected by BBC Radio 3 to be the first French quartet to join the 12 international laureates in the prestigious New Generation Artists Scheme for 2006 and 2007.

The quartet enjoys sharing it’s passion for chamber music with artists such as Jean-Claude Pennetier, Martin Lovett, Alain Meunier, Raphaël Oleg, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Renaud et Gautier Capuçon, Franck Braley, le Quatuor Lindsay, Nicolas Dautricourt, Florent Héau, Cédric Tiberghien, Romain Guyot, Paul Meyer, members from the Trio Wanderer, Isabelle Moretti, Royal String Quartet…Happy to have the opportunity to diversify it’s artistic experiences, it performed in spring 2005 at the Théâtre national de Chaillot in the show “Ritournelles” by the German producer Dietrich Sagert. It also participated in the show “Solo” choreographed by Philippe Decouflé in March and September 2005 (Opéra de Lyon, Théâtre Mogador de Paris), which it will pick up again in June 2007 in Paris.

In August 2003 the quartet made a recording of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets Op. 80 and Op. 44 n°1 (with the label Zig-Zag Territoires) to great critical acclaim. The recording made in November 2004 (Ohana’s String Quartets) also received awards: Le Monde de la Musique (Choc), Diapason (5/5), Classica-Répertoire (5/5). Three new albums will be released in Fall 2006 (École de Vienne, Dvorak, Bacri).

The quartet has received generous support for all its activities from the Mécénat Musical Société Générale, (who, since December 2001, have lent Bleuenn Le Maître a 1796 Joseph Gagliano violin), SPEDIDAM and AFAA. Since the beginning of 2006, Ayako Tanaka plays a 1628 Antonius & Hieronymus Amati, lent to her by two anonymous donors.

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Contact : Hélène Paillette []

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