»At last! Mozart quartets in new recordings that I can endorse with unbridled enthusiasm. The Klenke Quartett is a young group, founded in 1994, and comprised of four very attractive young women. What struck me immediately about these performances was their freshness. The Klenkes have managed to set aside generations of accreted notions about how these quartets ought to be played, and their approach pays off in spades.«
The immediate response of the musical world to the Klenke Quartet’s recording of Mozart’s well-known string quartets was one of acclaim and superlatives. In the view of the music magazine, Rondo: „With their precise, controlled, and masterly grasp of the music, the four women of Weimar moved international critics to a storm of enthusiasm.“ According to Deutschland Radio: „They are four equally talented musicians, who interact in the most marvellous, indeed, most exquisite fashion.“ „Historically informed! Beautifully poised!“ exclaimed Gramophone. Fono Forum in its Recommendation of the Month, declared them to be „scaling the musical heights“ and added: „These four string players have contributed a truly remarkable enrichment to a musical catalogue already well stocked with fine interpretations.“ The reviewer of Kulturspiegel commented: „Four players splendidly in harmony with each other, they bring, with their dynamic tempi, both the form and individual features of the works to consummate expression.“ The Quartet achieved surely the most significant mark of recognition in January 2007 at MIDEM in Cannes, the world’s largest and most important music festival, where they received the Classical Award in the category, „Jury Nomination.“
The four musicians who make up the Klenke Quartet are all graduates of the Franz Liszt College of Music in Weimar. Their distinctive artistic characters were formed in working with Norbert Brainin (Amadeus Quartet), Ulrich Beetz (Abegg Trio), Harald Schoneweg (Cherubini Quartet), and Sándor Devich (Bártok Quartet). Since their debut in 1994, they have performed mostly at prestigious German musical events, such as the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival of Music, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Kissingen Sommer Festival and the Würzburg and Saxony Mozart festivals, as well as appearing in the Beethoven House in Bonn, and in the President’s Bellevue Palace, and many other venues. In addition, they have been on concert tours through the whole of Europe and North and South America.
In 2006, the players became acquainted with the German-American composer, Ursula Mamlok, with whom they collaborated on the development of her String Quartet no. 2, and which was performed in a „lecture recital“ in the Glocke concert hall in Bremen, at the Heidelberg Spring Festival, and at other venues.
In autumn 2008, the Quartet will be re-appointed Guest Artists in Residence to the Hindemith Institute, based in the Villa La Chance in Blonay, in Switzerland, the last home and work-place of the composer.
Since 2003 they have been regularly performing their own very popular concert sequence, „Auftakt“ (prelude), in the Goethe National Museum in Weimar, which is sponsored by the Association of Chamber Music, and the registered Friends of the Klenke Quartet.
Notable chamber musicians who on occasion join the ensemble include Christina Fassbender (flute), Ragna Schirmer (piano), Martin Stadfeld (piano), Harald Schoneweg (viola), Clemens Trautmann (clarinet), and the members of the Henschel Quartet and of the Vogler Quartet.
In addition to their full range of chamber music, the Klenke Quartet also includes Arnold Schoenberg’s Concert for String Quartet and Orchestra within its repertory. In summer 2008 the Quartet will perform the European premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Concert for String Quartet and Orchestra with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jena, conducted by Nicolas Milton.