A New Generation of String Quartet: ensemble LUX
Four strings, from the clear sounds of the violin to the full tones of the cello, merge in the form of a string quartet to a homogeneous ensemble. Since the inception of classical music the assessable number of participants has opened a veritable testing ground of both formal and harmonic elements for composers. In the last century many composers created pioneering works for the four string instruments and therein experimented with new forms and expanded the tonal repertoire. These works are the playing ground of ensemble LUX. The ensemble was founded in 2004 by students of the Vienna Music University and is now one of the most distinguished formations of the country.
As founding members, the violinists Bojidara Kouzmanova, Thomas Wally, the violist Julia Purgina and cellist Mara Kronick played together from the outset, while also trying to temporarily incorporate other instruments. With the occasional extension of the strings with other instruments, it brings other sound facets into the game. The four musicians have also experimented with smaller formations, from trio to solo.
The fact that the musicians feel truly at home in the field of contemporary music shows in their various activities. Besides their activities in international orchestras, the participants are also active in other formations of contemporary music, such as the ensemble reconsil or the ensemble xx. jahrhundert. Two of the members – Thomas Wally and Julia Purgina – also contribute with their own works to the diverse repertoire of the quartet. Many other composers have already turned to the ensemble LUX to have their works performed. Thus, the concert programmes include numerous premieres. The ensemble is a regular guest at prestigious festivals such as the Bregenz Festival, Wien Modern, as well as in the Vienna Musikverein and the Konzerthaus. In addition, the ensemble created its own cycle for the Alte Schmiede’s 2012 season as an ensemble in residence. It presents various forms of the genre – from Bela Bartok, Gyorgy Ligeti to Erich Urbanner and Julie Purgina, from the creations of Helmut Lachenmann to the spectral sounds of Georg Friedrich Hass and Beat Furrer, as well as setting compositions by Manuela Kerer, Roland Freisitzer, Reinhard Fuchs and Thomas Wally in a larger context.
In addition to performances, it is also possible to receive an impression of the quartet on recordings – as an example, the ensemble LUX recorded the String Quartet by American composer Stephen Siegel . There will soon be a next CD, where the quartet once again expands their sound with a further instrument. Together with flutist Maria Fedotova the ensemble will perform and record works of Thomas Bartosch, Roland Freisitzer, Thomas Heinisch, Julia Purgina and Alexander Wagendristel, partially for the first time. It is definitely something we can look forward to and it will be exciting to see what the future still holds for this exceptional ensemble.
(translated from German)
Photos: Michael Williams