Beethoven Quartet (USSR)

1923 - 1990
Voice/Instrument: Viola , Violine , Violine , Cello


The Beethoven Quartet (Russian: Струнный квартет имени Бетховена, Strunnyĭ kvartet imeni Betkhovena) was founded between 1922 and 1923 by graduates of the Moscow Conservatory: violinists Dmitri Tsyganov (replaced in 1977 by Oleh Krysa) and Vasily Shirinsky, violist Vadim Borisovsky and cellist Sergei Shirinsky. In the course of its fifty year history, the quartet performed more than six hundred works and recorded more than two hundred Russian and international classical works. In 1931 they changed their name from the Moscow Conservatory Quartet to the Beethoven Quartet.

From 1938 it collaborated closely with the composer Dmitri Shostakovich and premiered the majority of his string quartets. His third and fifth quartets were dedicated to the Beethoven Quartet, while quartets numbers eleven to fourteen were individually dedicated to each of the members of the quartet.

Quartets 2-13 (see Fay, page 359) were premiered by the Quartet, as was the Piano Quintet with the composer at the piano, and the second piano trio likewise with two of the Quartet's players. (Quartet 11 to the memory of Vassily Shirinsky, Quartet 12 to Dmitri Tsyganov, Quartet no. 13 to Vadim Borisovsky, and Quartet 14 to Sergei Shirinsky.)

Fyodor Druzhinin took over from Borisovsky in 1964, giving a runthrough of the ninth quartet with the rest of the group.

Sergei Shirinsky died during rehearsals of Shostakovich's 15th quartet. 

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