The Primrose Piano Quartet
Susanne Stanzeleit, violin
Dorothea Vogel, viola
Andrew Fuller, cello
John Thwaites, piano
Photo, Lester Barnes
The Primrose Piano Quartet was formed in 2004 by four renowned chamber musicians and is named after the great Scottish violist, William Primrose, who himself played in the Festival Piano Quartet. The group's acclaimed discography includes favourites such as works by Fauré, Brahms, Elgar, Strauss and Schubert as well British repertoire featuring neglected masterpieces of the 19th and 20th century and major commissions from Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Anthony Payne (premièred at the Cheltenham Festival and at King's Place London).
The Quartet enjoy a busy performing schedule throughout the UK and abroad with recent tours taking them to Denmark, Germany, Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria in addition to regular appearances at London's Kings Place, Wigmore and Conway Halls.
In 2019 the Primrose released their latest recording, this time of the complete Brahms piano quartets. This was the culmination of years of research into Historically Informed Performance Practice and involved the musicians and recording team travelling to Vienna to record in the historic “Ehrbahrsaal”, where Brahms himself frequently performed, using three different pianos of the period from the famous Gert Hechner collection. The result has been hailed by critics as “revelatory”.
Their own festival in West Meon, Hampshire is now in its eleventh year, and they were appointed ensemble-in-residence at the Battle Festival in 2016.
Renowned as a soloist and chamber musician world-wide, Susanne Stanzeleit is well known for her unusually challenging and extensive repertoire, featuring many commissions and UK premières of works by composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Anthony Payne, John Adams, Lou Harrison, Gyorgy Kurtág, Dmitri Smirnov, John Casken, Piers Hellawell, Jacques Cohen, Peter Fribbins, Sally Beamish and many more.
From 2008-2013 Susanne was leader of the Maggini Quartet and has also led the Werethina String Quartet for many years and the Edinburgh String Quartet between 1999-2002.
Susanne has received rave reviews and a Gramophone Award nomination for her long list of commercial recordings, which feature the complete works of Bartók, Enescu, Delius and Dvoràk as well as Beethoven violin sonatas, works by Charles Camilleri and a series of English sonata recordings. Chamber discs include six discs with the Edinburgh Quartet, chamber music by Kenneth Leighton and Mendelssohn Quartets with the Maggini Quartet. A disc of Elgar, Ireland and Bridge Sonatas was released on the Meridian label in 2017.
Susanne Stanzeleit is regularly invited to teach and give masterclasses and has been visiting teacher of violin and chamber music at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire since 2007.
Dorothea Vogel was born in Switzerland and studied with Rudolf Weber in Winterthur. After winning first prize in the Swiss Youth Competition, Dorothea won scholarships to study with Paul Coletti at the Peabody Institute, USA, and with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti at the Guildhall School in London, where she graduated with the coveted Concert Recital Diploma.
She was a founder member of the Amar Quartet. Dorothea has played the baroque viola in the Kings Consort and Florilegium and has been both principal viola in the Gustav Mahler Orchestra and the World Youth Orchestra in Israel.
In 2001 she joined the Allegri String Quartet, one of the UK’s longest-standing chamber groups, with whom she enjoys a busy performing, touring and recording schedule.
She teaches viola and chamber music at the Royal Welsh College as well as chamber music at Pro Corda and festivals throughout the UK.
has a busy and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, guest principal, session musician and teacher. His duo partnership with Pianist Michael Dussek has had great success with concerts and recordings, their CDs of Cello works on the Dutton Vocalion label receiving critical acclaim, several being selected as Editor's Choice in Gramophone Magazine.
He was Associate Principal with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for seven years, leaving in 1997 to concentrate on solo and chamber music. Since then he has regularly worked as guest principal for the RPO as well as many other orchestras including the Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Hallé Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of St Johns.
As chamber musician he is also a member of Primavera. He has made many appearances at The Wigmore Hall and at festivals and music clubs around the world. He was a member of the York Piano Trio, the Fibonacci sequence and Aquarius. He has also been a regular guest player with other Groups including the Sorrel, Brindisi and Coull String Quartets, Endymion and the Schubert Ensemble.
He was a visiting teacher at the Birmingham Conservatoire from 1997 to 2003 and regularly coaches at the Royal Academy of Music and for UK youth orchestras.
Professor John Thwaites is best known for his collaborative work with strings.
He has worked over decades with cellists Alexander Baillie and Johannes Goritzki, and appeared with Pierre Doumenge, Adrian Brendel, Natalie Clein, Li Wei, Jian Wang and others. A string of recordings with Alexander Baillie for the SOMM label include a Five Star Chamber Music Choice of the Month for BBC Music Magazine.
He has played quintets with the Martinu, Maggini, Dante Schidlof, Emperor and Aurea String Quartets. Theatrical collaborations have included work with Simon Callow, Tony Britton and Tim Piggott-Smith.
His research focus is on Historically Informed Performance Practice in Brahms and British Chamber Music. He has appeared in many major British and International Festivals, the major London concert halls, and many broadcast channels including BBC Radio Three broadcasts.
John’s teaching career is extensive and he is currently Course Director of the Cadenza International Summer Music School and Head of the Department of Keyboard Studies at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he has directed major festivals of Ireland, Delius, Bax, Skryabin and Brahms as well as a celebrity-Gala at Birmingham Town Hall.