The Castalian Quartet join the Festival of Chichester

The Castalian Quartet will be joined by pianist Daniel Lebhardt for their Chichester Chamber Concerts series appearance at the Festival of Chichester.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 10:05 am
Castalian Quartet credit Kaupo Kikkas

They will be in The Assembly Room in the Council House, North Street, Chichester on June 18 at 7.30pm when they will offer: Janacek – String Quartet No 1 Kreutzer; Beethoven – Appassionata Sonata; and Brahms – Piano Quintet.

Sini Simonen, leader of the quartet, is loving the thought of returning to the concert stage.

“I think for all musicians, it has been life like never before since lockdown.

“There have been some projects filmed online that we have done and there were quite a few things in between the lockdowns for small audiences, but the past year has definitely been very difficult.

“Last year the quartet was supposed to be making its Carnegie Hall debut.

“We travelled to New York. It was supposed to be Friday, March 13, and there were all these discussions about whether we should travel, but the Hall asked us to travel.

“We made it to New York and then everything shut down. 24 hours before, the concert was cancelled.

“We are all based in London. We all managed to get back, a little bit at different times and then hunkered down.

“Three of us stayed in London and one of us went to Yorkshire to stay with his parents.

“Life had been building up to this crescendo, our Carnegie Hall debut and then nothing.

“But we are hoping that it will happen next February.

“We will just have to see how it goes. There has not been a sector of society that has not been profoundly impacted by this.

“It just feels like such a gift now to be able to play and to be able to share again.

“It has been a time of reflection, and I think each of us all has experienced things very differently.

“But we have had a lot of thoughts about how important different projects are and what things we would really like to be able to do and about being part of the wider community.

“I think I will appreciate it all very differently.

“Concerts are starting to happen with social distancing, but obviously we don’t really know yet.

“Nothing is certain at all. But I will have a different appreciation of performing. Before, a concert was just something that happened every day but now it is about human contact.

“And human contact is precious and dangerous. But concerts are all about being in the same room and sharing the energy of something together that we all enjoy as a collective. So I do think it will feel different.”

The quartet started ten years ago.

The fact that they were so well established undoubtedly helped when it came to coping with the pandemic.

“For musicians who are now at college, it is really scary still because a lot of them will be thinking that they might have to look for another profession.

“There is so much uncertainty still for so many people.

“We still don’t know what things will be like in three months’ time, and obviously travelling is such a big part of making your living as a musician.

“But I think the redemption is that so many people are really craving for music, that music is such a deep thing in society, it is so much a part of being human for all of us.”

The quartet is delighted to be performing once again with Daniel Lebhardt who in 2014 won first prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in Paris and New York. We have played with him at least half a dozen times. I think our understanding with him is something that has happened quite naturally. He is a fascinating powerful musician and a wonderful chamber pianist. And I think it also helps that we have that relationship with him already.”