Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

Fitzwilliam String Quartet
String Quartet

The original members of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet (FSQ) first sat down together in October 1968 – making it now one of the longest established string quartets in the world, and possibly unique in having passed a half-century with an original player still on board!


    International recognition came early, as the first group to record and perform all fifteen Shostakovich quartets, drawing on the players’ personal friendship with him. Benjamin Britten afterwards reported that he had told him the Fitzwilliam were his ‘preferred performers of my quartets’! Whilst their pre- eminence in Shostakovich has persisted, the authority gained has been put at the service of diverse other composers spanning five centuries, from the early 17th to the present day.

    The quartet has appeared regularly across the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle and Far East, and Southern Africa, as well as making many award-winning recordings for Decca, Linn and Divine Art. Recent recordings on gut strings of Schubert’s last four quartets uphold the Fitzwilliam’s standing as one of the few prominent quartets to play on older set-ups, yet simultaneously bringing over 60 new works to the repertoire.

    After graduating from Cambridge in 1971, the FSQ immediately embarked on its first professional appointment, succeeding the celebrated Amadeus as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of York: after twelve years there, three at Warwick, many more at Bucknell (Pennsylvania, USA) since 1978, their university work continued at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and now at University of St Andrews and Clare Hall, Cambridge. They have also been granted their own annual chamber music festival in the famous ‘book town’ of Hay-on-Wye.