5 Fast Facts: Heath Quartet
Christopher Murray (Cello) / Oliver Heath (Violin) / Sara Wolstenholme (Violin) / Gary Pomeroy (Viola)
The energetic Heath Quartet are fast earning a reputation as one of the most exciting British chamber ensembles of the moment. We've rounded up 5 fast facts ahead of their NZ tour - dive in!
Oliver Heath founded the Heath Quartet in 2002. With a cello teacher for mum and two siblings playing instruments, music was always on the cards:
“I picked the violin because my brother played the piano and my sister the cello, so I had to do something that was my own. From a very early age I remember walking past a shop window and seeing a little violin in it and being very excited by it.”
The hunt for a new violinist
The quartet formed in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music. Sara joined the ensemble in 2017 as second violinist, after Cerys Jones stepped down.
“That’s one of the things I love about Sara: there’s an unshakeable core musician in her which won’t change, and that’s very exciting. Chris and Gary and I are all quite different musicians. We have different approaches to what we play, different philosophies and attitudes, and that’s what I want. When I go to see a group on stage I want to see that energy. A perfectly homogenised quartet – and there are many – isn’t so interesting to me. What we share is our integrity as people, and what happens on stage is a meeting of different people. We rehearse to create something that’s cohesive and intelligible as a whole, but within that there are four very different people.” - Oliver Heath.
Read the full interview here.
In May 2013 they became the first ensemble in 15 years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award. More recently the Heath Quartet won the 2016 Gramophone Chamber Music Award for their live recordings of Tippett's string quartets for Wigmore Hall Live.
Fostering the new generation of musicians.
Education and outreach are an important part of the quartet's work. The quartet regularly collaborates with Wigmore Learning in its flagship project “Chamber Challenge”, where primary school children are given the task of composing new pieces which they perform alongside the quartet - take a look below.
During their NZ tour they will perform two free kids concerts in Wellington and Dunedin. Find out more about Close Encounters here.
The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex & Anxiety
The quartet is not foreign to experimentation and cross-art form. Most recently they took part in Calixto Bieito’s new production, The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex & Anxiety. Watch the vid!