Sacconi Quartet

Performing with style and commitment, the Sacconi Quartet is known throughout the world for its creativity and integrity of interpretation. Formed in 2001, its four founder members continue to demonstrate a shared passion for string quartet repertoire, infectiously reaching out to audiences with their energy and enthusiasm. The Quartet enjoy a highly successful international career, performing regularly throughout Europe, at London’s major venues, in recordings and on radio broadcasts. The Sacconi is Quartet in Association at the Royal College of Music and Associate Artist at the Bristol Old Vic.

The Quartet has given over twenty world premières and British premières, including works by Graham Fitkin, Jonathan Dove, John McCabe, György Kurtág, Paul Patterson, Simon Rowland-Jones, John Metcalf and Robin Holloway, and they performed as the solo string quartet on Paul McCartney’s hit song Come Home. The Quartet has been joined on stage by countless musicians including Pekka Kuusisto, Freddy Kempf, Melvyn Tan, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Guy Johnston, Alasdair Beatson, Tom Poster, Matthew Rose, Bellowhead’s Jon Boden and actor Timothy West.

The Quartet’s Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in Folkestone is an established event in the cultural calendar and is expanding year on year with challenging programming and exciting collaborations. Firm believers in the importance of bringing chamber music to the next generation, the Sacconi Quartet dedicates much passion, time and energy to education work. They regularly lead workshops and give school and family concerts as part of the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival outreach programme and the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust.

The Quartet’s recording of Beethoven Op. 132 and Mendelssohn Op. 13, the first commercial pairing of these closely related works, was released on Sacconi Records in 2016, and received a 5-star review in Classical Music. The previous release, a disc of Czech quartets, was received with widespread critical acclaim and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. The Quartet’s debut recording of Haydn’s Op. 54 quartets was praised in the press and both their Ravel and Haydn CDs were featured in The Full Works programme on Classic FM. They have also recorded for Signum, NMC and Champs Hill Records, and their 2006 Naxos recording of Finzi’s song cycle By Footpath and Stile with baritone Roderick Williams was well received in all the national broadsheets and BBC Music Magazine.

The name Sacconi Quartet comes from the outstanding twentieth-century Italian luthier and restorer Simone Sacconi, whose book The Secrets of Stradivari is considered an indispensable reference for violin makers. Ben Hancox plays a 1932 Sacconi violin and Robin Ashwell a 1934 Sacconi viola, both made in New York. Hannah Dawson plays a 1927 Sacconi violin made in Rome, and Cara Berridge plays a Nicolaus Gagliano cello from 1781.  Ben, Hannah & Cara have all been generously loaned these instruments by the Royal Society of Musicians, a charity which helps musicians in need, for which they are extremely grateful.  Robin is indebted to Ellen Solomon for the use of his viola.

  • Even though Jonathan Dove is best known as a vocal or choral composer, with operas and works for children forming the backbone of his output, his chamber music reveals similar predilections for narrative, drama, atmosphere and a sense of the personal.
    His new commission from the Sacconi Quartet In Damascus was inspired by the violinist Hannah Dawson’s suggestion for a work that should reflect aspects of the conflict in Syria; not because music can offer any political solution, but simply as an expression of empathy, sorrow, even outrage at those terrible events. Featuring a performance by tenor Mark Padmore, the text is taken from prose-poems by Ali Safar that draw on his first- hand experiences in Syria, eloquently translated by Anne-Marie McManus.
    The Sacconi’s present this new work alongside his string quartet work Out of Time, and his Piano Quintet – performed with pianist Charles Owen.
    ★★★★ Jonathan Dove’s In Damascus proves a powerful, passionate and above all humane commentary on that country’s current plight… impeccable playing from the Sacconi Quartet - Classical Ear ★★★★ The beauty of the piece, for tenor and string quartet, is its restraint. It doesn’t sensationalise, get maudlin, moralise or politicise. The words are direct and the music respects that. The performance does, too: focused playing from the Sacconi Quartet and lucid, unswerving narrative from tenor Mark Padmore - The Guardian Mark Padmore uses his voice with such emotional intelligence… the string playing is by turn both dark and passionate - BBC Radio 3 Record Review  
  • The Sacconi Quartet record the string quartets of British composer Graham Fitkin, The Composer writes in the introduction to this disc: “ The string quartet medium seems to me to thrive in contexts of both poignant intimacy or extrovert forceful information overload. (And indeed all those delicate shades in between.) I feel it has a strength of purpose that I relish, an honest homogeneity to it, a good wide pitch range and quite frankly the ability to play decent long sustained notes or short pizzicati. It’s been all too tempting.” Composed between 1992 and 2007, this disc compiles Fitkin’s complete works for String Quartet, performed by one of the UK’s most dynamic and versatile string quartets. The Sacconi Quartet, for whom the medium-length String was composed, play throughout with élan and what sounds like a complete understanding of the ebb and flow of each of these quite diverse pieces… A terrific disc that I encourage everyone to buyGramophone All weaved with his trademark rhythmic complexity - Northern Echo
  • Since Westminster Mass (2000) established Roxanna Panufnik’s firm place among today’sleading British composers, she has often been celebrated for her choral music. Her instrumental and chamber works, however, are equally striking, filled with dazzling imagination and poetic lightness of touch. Her latest album Heartfelt encompasses compassion, tragedy and irresistible humour, while demonstrating her passion for exploring diverse musical cultures, from East Sussex to Myanmar. Featuring a stellar line-up of leading British soloists (including soprano Mary Bevan, pianist Charles Owen and baritone Roderick Williams) and led by the Sacconi Quartet, the title work includes a musical translation of the heartbeat of a young European Brown Bear named Albie: captured by a digital stethoscope, Bristol Zoological Society’s Wild Place Project was generously able to send Panufnik a recording of Albie’s heartbeat whilst he underwent a small surgical procedure, the anaesthetic possibly resembling the bear’s hibernation. Albie himself is pictured on the album’s front cover.
Go to Top