The year 1994 marked the foundation of the Henschel Quartet’s international career, when cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshøj joined the founding members Christoph, Markus, and Monika Henschel, and the quartet devoted itself exclusively to chamber music.
In 1995 the quartet won multiple prizes at the international competitions of Evian, Banff, and Salzburg, and the following year won 1st prize and the gold medal at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. Successful debuts in the world’s musical capitals, including an acclaimed BBC live broadcast standing in for the Juilliard Quartet, led their way to the forefront of international chamber music.
The quartet’s musical journey has included many remarkable highlights. The Henschel Quartet played at the official re-opening of the Anna-Amalia Library in Weimar (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and travelled to Brussels as a Cultural Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. In March 2010 the quartet was privileged to perform at the Vatican in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. The quartet has regularly been invited to the Royal Palace of Madrid to perform on the four Stradivari of the royal collection. In June 2012 the Henschel Quartet was invited, as the first European quartet in twenty years, to perform Beethoven’s complete string quartets in the prestigious Suntory Hall in Tokyo. In the same year Monika Henschel became the president of the newly-formed Association of German String Quartets.
The Henschel Quartet’s recordings have been awarded many prizes, including the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and several CD of the Year Awards (IMW). Their CDs have been recommended in prominent titles such as Gramophone Magazine, the Sunday Times, and Süddeutsche Zeitung
The Henschel Quartet regularly accepts invitations to teach at world-class institutions, from Yale University in the USA to the Royal Northern College of Music in England and the University of Melbourne in Australia. The quartet is also engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the Bavarian Ministry of Culture in relation to youth music projects in the quartet’s home city of Munich.
To mark their 20th Anniversary in 2014, the Henschel Quartet’s concert at St. John Smith’s Square, London was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3. During 2015 they were back in the UK with performances at Leamington International Music Festival and the RNCM Chamber Music Festival; they also made their debut in Oxford, giving a concert for the Oxford Chamber Music Society at the historic Holywell Music Room.
Highlights of the 2016-17 season included concert tours of Japan, China and the United States of America. In the UK they performed at Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Room and made return visits to both the Gower Festival and the RNCM Chamber Music Festival. They look forward to performing in the UK again in the 2018-2019 season, with concerts in both autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
The quartet is an Ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages, and has been contributing to the charity since 2006.
The Henschel Quartet will celebrate its silver jubilee year in 2019.
“This is, no question, one of the best groups in the world, a great string quartet.” Los Angeles Times