VC INTERVIEW | Marmen Quartet – Banff String Quartet Competitors Joint-1st Prize Winners

The Violin Channel not too long ago caught up with the 2019 Banff Worldwide String Quartet Competitors joint-1st prize successful ensemble, the London-based Marmen String Quartet.

Comprising violinists Johannes Marmen and Ricky Gore, violist Bryony Gibson-Cornish and cellist Steffan Morris, the Marmens are former main prize winners on the Bordeaux and Joachim Worldwide Chamber Music Competitions.





Congratulations! How does it really feel to be a 1st prize successful ensemble from the distinguished Banff Worldwide String Quartet Competitors?

Bryony: “It nonetheless feels surreal … we put our hearts and souls into quartet and making ready for this competitors, so it’s vastly rewarding for that dedication to have been recognised.

For me personally, BISQC was the one string quartet competitors that I had heard about as a teen and it appeared like an unattainable objective once I was it as a person. After becoming a member of the Marmen Quartet in 2017 and making use of for BISQC this yr, it was thrilling to be accepted into the competitors, not to mention advancing to the ultimate and successful the entire thing!”


What will probably be your finest lengthy lasting reminiscence from this week?

Johannes: “The second on the awards ceremony when Barry Shiffman, the Director of the competitors, stated “we now have two winners” … when it dawned on us not solely that we had gained, however that we’re sharing the prize with our fantastic pals within the Viano String Quartet.

The speedy response of all eight of us was to not accumulate the award, to not have fun inside our personal quartet, however to rise from our chairs and embrace the members of the opposite quartet in an outburst of utter happiness and delight … it was the easiest way through which we might have probably gained this competitors”


How did you get your title? And the way did you come collectively as an ensemble?

Johannes: “Ricky and I began the quartet on the Royal Faculty of Music in London … since then we’ve had a number of member adjustments.

Steffan joined in 2016 when he was again in London after research in Vienna … Bryony had arrived in London after research at Juilliard and joined in 2017.

Relating to the title, we took the straightforward method out and tailored my final title, with the plan of figuring one thing extra artistic out down the road. There have been a number of alternate options at one level earlier than Bryony joined the quartet, essentially the most severe one being vetoed forcefully by our girlfriends”


What’s a very powerful classes you learnt out of your preparation for this competitors?

Bryony: “Remembering that all of us have our personal strategy of preparation is a extremely necessary lesson: all of us skilled ups and downs within the weeks earlier than the competitors, however everybody was supportive all through this time.

I at all times attempt to remind myself that we now have to be laborious on ourselves within the observe room however simple on ourselves in efficiency.

We additionally discover that play throughs are an important aspect of being ready for a contest – by making a timeframe that’s just like BISQC and performing repertoire for our companions, family and friends, we get a really feel for how you can tempo ourselves”


What suggestions and recommendation do you could have for practising to assist obtain the right synchronization the ensemble displayed this week?

Johannes: “I don’t suppose the goal ought to ever be to attain excellent synchronization at a technical degree, it ought to moderately comply with on account of everybody’s dedication to a typical interpretation of the music.

At any time when we now have technical difficulties, we analyze the issue and it normally boils all the way down to a scarcity of unity in our musical concepts.

Clearly a number of the time it’s essential to work out what precisely must be completed technically to attain a sure musical outcome, however when doing that it’s necessary to not lose monitor of the musical nucleus.”


What suggestions and recommendation do you could have for protecting one’s deal with the music even beneath tense conditions akin to a contest?

Johannes: “One factor that has appeared to work fairly effectively for us is to proceed to evolve our interpretations because the competitors approaches and even in the course of the competitors itself, moderately than simply making what we have already got extra technically excellent. This retains you impressed and in love with the music, moderately than more and more anxious in regards to the execution of it.

One other piece of recommendation is to not count on your group to immediately be capable of play at a a lot greater technical degree than earlier than. Changing into a greater quartet is a really long-term course of so there’s no use in placing unrealistic strain in your degree simply since you’re about to play in a contest. It’ll solely make you offended, wired and dissatisfied and in the end additional faraway from the precise music and the explanations you’re keen on performing it”

Bryony: “One factor I might add is that listening to your physique is essential relating to a contest … being in ache can pull your focus away from the music in a detrimental method if it’s not managed rigorously.

I usually discover that after Three-Four hours enjoying, my focus and high quality of enjoying begins to dip, so I made certain to tempo the efficiency days accordingly. I additionally attempt to stretch frequently – we overlook that we should always method the bodily calls for of performing in the identical method that athletes method sport”


Who has been the ensemble’s most influential mentors and inspirations?

Johannes: “Simon Rowland-Jones was there within the very starting, encouraging us to take quartet significantly and planting a seed in us that we might truly make it right into a profession.

The late Peter Cropper of the Lindsays then lit a hearth beneath us by roaring (in essentially the most profound method) about Beethoven for a number of months.

Oliver Wille and John Myerscough have been vastly influential in the previous few years by educating us in regards to the internal workings of the music itself and giving us important instruments for enhancing our rehearsals in addition to the power to independently form and understand our interpretations”


Away out of your devices, what do the Four of you take pleasure in doing collectively?

Bryony: “Good query! We regularly break up off into smaller teams, for instance, Johannes and I’ll usually search for the most effective place to discover a respectable espresso. Ricky and Johannes at all times appear to be discussing Formulation 1 after they have the possibility and whereas we had been in Banff, Steffan realized so much about baseball from Ricky!

Everybody within the quartet loves discussing tremendous devices and bows to various levels, so that’s usually the subject of dialog!

On lengthy automobile rides collectively we have a tendency to speak about every little thing, together with our households, politics, the issues that the world faces, sports activities and different miscellaneous topics”


What does the long run maintain for the Marmens now? 

Bryony: “We’re actually trying ahead to visiting new nations and performing in main live performance halls around the globe.

We’re very lucky to be featured in two winners excursions over the following few years, one for The Banff Worldwide String Quartet Competitors and likewise one for the Bordeaux Worldwide String Quartet Competitors.

We stay up for visiting Dallas, the place we’ll share the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence Prize at Southern Methodist College Meadows College of the Arts, in addition to Stanford College the place we’ll work with the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

It additionally appears becoming to have the ability to go to Schloss Esterházy in reference to the Esterházy Basis Prize after being awarded the R.S. Williams and Sons Haydn Prize at BISQC.

Subsequent yr we will probably be embarking on a Beethoven Cycle in Sweden and we will’t wait to be immersed in such a profound physique of labor.

Our profession targets stay the identical: to grow to be the easiest quartet we will probably be, exploring the huge repertoire that the string quartet mixture has to supply and to share our love of quartet enjoying with numerous audiences around the globe.”



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