Music in the Round


MARMEN QUARTET announced as first BRIDGE scheme winners

28th Oct 2014 13:47
MARMEN QUARTET announced as first BRIDGE scheme winners

Music in the Round is delighted to announce that the London-based Marmen Quartet will be the first young string quartet to benefit from its professional development scheme, BRIDGE.

30 years after founding Music in the Round in Sheffield, Peter Cropper, leader of the world-famous Lindsay String Quartet until their retirement in 2005, is to mentor the quartet as part of this new scheme, designed to support the development of an emerging, UK-based string quartet over three years, from January 2015 – January 2018.

The Marmen Quartet was founded in late 2012 at the Royal College of Music. Its members are UK-born Anton Crayton (cello) and Joshua Hayward (viola), Swedish-born Johannes Marmen (lead violin) and Japanese-born Ricky Gore (violin).  Between them, the players have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Wigmore Hall, and have worked with members of the Navarra Quartet, the London Haydn Quartet, the Artis quartet and the Kuss Quartet as well as benefitting from regular coaching sessions with Mark Messenger and Simon Rowland-Jones.

As the first participants in the scheme, the Marmen Quartet will benefit from a £10,000 p.a. bursary, performance opportunities, a two-week residency at Aldeburgh, regular mentoring sessions and guidance from Peter Cropper and other musicians, including resident Ensemble 360.  There will be an emphasis on developing additional skills such as presenting open rehearsals, pre-concert talks, and post-concert discussions with audiences, as well as marketing and PR, education and community engagement work and building up a network of promoters and contacts.

Angus Smith, Artistic Director of Music in the Round, says: “We received an extremely high level of application to the scheme from which our distinguished  panel members carefully selected the shortlist. However, the panel at the final public auditions at the Crucible Studio in Sheffield were unanimously in favour of adopting the Marmen Quartet as the first participants in Bridge.

The Marmen Quartet are just progressing from study to full-time professional careers and beginning to explore how they should be taking their first steps in the music business. These excellent young players have enormous potential  and our ambition, as part of our commitment to investing in the future of classical music, is to help equip them for the artistic and professional challenges that lie ahead. We hope that access to the quality of sustained artistic mentorship and guidance in professional business skills that Bridge offers will provide an excellent launch pad for them.”

Peter Cropper comments, “Performing is all about communication. It's telling a story and I feel the Marmen are dedicated to this ideal. They are totally committed and have the integrity to become a very fine quartet. With our resident Ensemble 360 and now the Bridge mentoring scheme, this is the path for the next 30 years for Music in the Round.”

The other finalists were Manchester-based Cassia String Quartet.

Bridge is funded by the generous support of the ‘Scilla Thornton Fund for Musicians, and a legacy payment from Miss D.R. Kurzman awarded to Music in the Round by Arts Council England

Marmen String Quartet

The Marmen String Quartet was founded in late 2012, its members having already collaborated extensively in various other chamber music settings. Formed of four strong individuals each with extensive performing experience across the globe - from Carnegie Hall to Wigmore Hall - the Marmen Quartet has been recognised for its personal sound and honest interpretations. Their love of chamber music combined with a mutual interest in a wide spectrum of musical eras and styles remains the fundamental inspiration for the group.

Since its formation, the Marmen Quartet has enjoyed masterclasses from members of the Navarra Quartet, the London Haydn Quartet, the Artis quartet and the Kuss Quartet as well as coaching sessions with Mark Messenger and Simon Rowland-Jones. Having lately focused on Beethoven, Bartok and Pärt, the Marmen Quartet looks forward with excitement and dedication to further exploring the string quartet repertoire.

About Bridge

Scheme Overview

Music in the Round is offering a three-year bursary and other support, including a residency with Aldeburgh Music, to a young string quartet at the earliest stage of its career. This is a chance to gain performance experience, build repertoire, learn about education workshop planning and delivery, speaking in public, press and media relations, and to benefit from advice and guidance in developing business and self-management skills.

This opportunity is envisaged as a partnership between Music in the Round and the selected quartet, requiring hard work, commitment and initiative from the quartet, shaping the offer to suit their needs, in return for our support which includes:

  • a two-week residency at Aldeburgh  to explore repertoire
  • at least five paid concerts a year, in Sheffield and other venues, principally in the North of England 
  • regular mentoring sessions and guidance on repertoire from Peter Cropper, former leader of the Lindsay String Quartet
  • mentoring sessions with other musicians, including resident musicians from Ensemble 360
  • informal, open rehearsals , pre-concert talks and post-concert Question & Answer sessions for feedback and discussion with audiences
  • administrative support and advice on potential sources of fundraising
  • a photo shoot
  • advice on marketing, press and media relations,  such as how to talk to the media and  write a press release, from Music in the Round’s marketing and media relations team
  • opportunities to find out about planning and delivering learning and participation activities

Selection Process

The selection process took place from June – October 2014, with a first panel selecting from a long list of submitted recordings, before a live round of auditions in September and a final audition on 18 October. 

Violist Louise Williams, cellist Gemma Rosefield and Music in the Round's Creative Producer, Learning & Participation, Polly Ives, were involved in the early rounds of selection, and the panel for the final audition was: 

Peter Cropper, Music in the Round founder and leader of the Lindsay String Quartet

Angus Smith, Music in the Round’s Artistic Director

Les Pratt, BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists

Alasdair Tait, Young Classical Artists Trust

Richard Ireland, Chamber Studio

Imogen Hurst, Aldeburgh Music


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