Zara Benyounes & Emily Holland violins | Sara Roberts viola | Kim Vaughan cello
Over the last decade the Benyounes Quartet has forged a reputation for fresh, vivid performances and interpretations of refinement and integrity. The quartet s international accolades include prizes at both the 2014 Orlando International String Quartet Competition and the 2012 International Sandor Vegh String Quartet Competition in Budapest. They have established a presence at major venues including Wigmore Hall, King’s Place, Vienna Konzerthaus, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room and at festivals such as Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh and West Cork Chamber Music.
Formed at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2007, the Benyounes Quartet was subsequently awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Julius Isserlis Scholarship to study with Gábor Takács-Nagy at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. During this period they lived together in a quiet French village, which allowed them the time and space to develop and explore a wide range of repertoire. They also worked closely with Eberhard Feltz, Peter Cropper, Quatuor Ebène, Andràs Keller and David Waterman at centres such as Pro Quartet, Aldeburgh and IMS Prussia Cove.
The quartet held the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2011-2013) and have been invited to teach at Dartington International Summer School, ConCorda, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music.
The quartet is regularly engaged in various cross-art projects, most notably with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and with the award winning jazz group ‘Empirical’. In 2012 the quartet founded Quercus Ensemble, a mixed chamber ensemble based in Northern Ireland and in 2016 the quartet became Artistic Directors of South Downs Summer Music International Festival.
Outreach and education work have always been important to the quartet and they have become known for their unique workshops and communication skills with young people. Throughout their career they have championed contemporary works by both established and emerging composers and, in recent years, have premiered new works by Poul Ruders, Philip Cashian, Simon Bainbridge, Deirdre Gribbin and John Woolrich.
Their debut recording of Mozart Piano Concertos with pianist Jeremy Young was released on Meridian Records to critical acclaim. They also featured on the Champs Hill Records release Complete Works for String Quartet by Mendelssohn (BBC Music Magazine’s critics’ choice 2014) and their forthcoming disc for Champs Hill entitled ‘Innovators’ will be released Spring 2019.
The four founding members of the Benyounes Quartet are based in London and Edinburgh. Zara Benyounes performs on a 1682 Nicolo Amati kindly made available to her by the Boucher Trust; Emily Holland and Sara Roberts play beautiful unknown Italian and French instruments; and Kim Vaughan is grateful to the Harriet Trust for the loan of a fine William Forster cello from 1770.