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About Quatuor Modigliani
France's Quatuor Modigliani, or Modigliani Quartet, has grown in visibility and significance since its founding in 2003. The group has begun to pass on its influences through its directorship of the revived Rencontres musicales d'Évian festival.
The quartet was founded by four friends who had been students at the Paris Conservatory: violinists Philippe Bernhard and Loïc Rio, violist Laurent Marfaing, and cellist François Kieffer. They took the name of Italian modern artist Amedeo Modigliani, Bernhard told the South Bend Tribune in Indiana, because "of what we consider to be the main challenge of a string quartet: to acquire through work, stability and time a real sound signature." They studied with Paris' Ysaÿe Quartet, took master classes with György Kurtág and the Artemis Quartett in Berlin, among others, and gained early attention with prizes at the Frits Philips String Quartet competition in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and the Young Concert Artists Auditions, among other competitions.
The Modigliani Quartet was signed to the roster of the French label Mirare, releasing an album of Haydn string quartets in 2008, and has remained exclusively associated with that label. The group has performed in most of the world's top-level chamber music venues, including the Library of Congress in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Konzerthaus in Berlin. In 2017, the quartet became the first chamber music group to take the stage at Hamburg's new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. They have also been a familiar presence on the European and American festival scenes, with appearances at the Marlboro Festival in Vermont and the Lucerne and Gstaad Menuhin festivals in Switzerland, among others. When they took over the leadership of the Rencontres musicales d'Évian festival in 2014, they were following in the sizable footsteps of the festival's longtime director Mstislav Rostropovich, who retired in 2001 and left the festival on hiatus. Founding member Bernhard left the quartet in 2016, with Amaury Coeytaux replacing him as first violinist. In the late 2010s, the quartet mounted international tours encompassing the U.S., South America, Japan, and much of Europe. They released the album Portraits on Mirare in 2019. ~ James Manheim