The Archaeus Quartet is a well-established group, formed in 1990, which has enjoyed a busy schedule from its very first season, performing in music clubs and arts centres throughout the UK and at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London. The group has toured in Europe and played at festivals including Warwick, Greenwich, King’s Lynn, Wooburn and at the ICA in London.
As well as performing from an extensive traditional concert repertoire, the Archaeus has a strong commitment to the performance of rarely heard but high quality works of the 20th Century. Premieres include Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Piano Quintet, Antonin Tucapsky’s String Quartet, the London premiere of Leonard Salzedo’s 7th Quartet, and world premieres of his 8th and 9th Quartets.
“After I had heard my 7th String Quartet played by the Archaeus Quartet on October 30th last year I was so pleased with their performance that I decided to write a new quartet especially for them. I started it on October 31st and completed it exactly five weeks later, on December 5th.” - Leonard Salzedo
This work received its premiere at the Wigmore Hall in June 1995 when the Archaeus made its highly successful London debut. Their fruitful friendship and collaboration with Salzedo resulted in two further Quartets and the Sonata for Violin and Viola.
CD recordings include the Quartet by Minna Keal; Quartets by York Bowen with the Quintet for bass clarinet with Timothy Lines; Quartets by
Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach and Susan Spain-Dunk; Leonard Salzedo; and Quartets by Cyril Scott. All five CDs have been received with critical acclaim. The recording of Salzedo’s Quartets and the Sonata for Violin and Viola (performed by its dedicatees Ann Hooley and Elizabeth Turnbull) and released on Dutton Epoch (the recording produced by Mike Purton with Tony Faulkner as Recording Engineer), was selected as Editor’s Choice in the Gramophone Magazine.
The Archaeus plan to complete recording the Quartets of Leonard Salzedo with MPR. The first of these next CDs, comprising Quartets 1 & 5 and the world premiere of no.10, is soon to be released.
The aspiration to play the complete Beethoven Quartets has always been important to the Archaeus. Having performed this cycle in Oxford, Cumbria and London in the late 90s the group is now giving further cycles in Eastbourne, Salehurst and Brighton.