Belinfante Quartet

Parallel 40

Photo: Elsabeth Produccions

Olivia Scheepers
Fiona Robertson

Henrietta Hill

Pau Marques Oleo


“Their excellent concert last night consisted of an assortment of short pieces by Czech composer Léos Janáček. The pieces were performed by the four musicians withgreat sensibility and delicacy.
I was impressed.“

ArtsTalk Magazine

Parallel 40

Traveling the world used to be a real adventure. Today, you can hop on a plane or surf the world wide web. But there are still endless expanses waiting to be discovered – in the realms of music, too. The Belinfante Quartet invites their listeners on a special journey around the world: the quartet collected music composed along the 40th Northern latitude. This mixture is wild, colorful, exciting, a little bit crazy – and will definitely awaken a sense of curiosity in you!

“Parallel 40 is an ode to discovery,“ writes the ensemble about their unusual project for which the group has collected and arranged music from fifteen different countries and places. “The goal of Parallel 40 is to create a new repertoire for string quartets and at the same time discover music from around the world. By doing so, we want to connect people and cultures and inspire through our lively musical narrative storytelling.“ All these places and countries have one thing in common: they are situated along the 40th Northern latitude. Starting in Menorca, the journey leads East around the globe, presenting music from Menorca, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, North Kore, China, Japan, the USA, Portugal, and Spain. The program includes works by contemporary composers as well as arrangements of folk songs and traditional music. This creates a suspenseful mix beyond any conventions of genre and style, which at once may appear a little crazy and unconventional, but which is also incredibly exciting and whets the listeners‘ appetite for new discoveries.

Among these discoveries is music by Uzbek composer Polina Medyulanova, or the first renown and accepted female composer of Azerbaijan, Shafiga Akhundova. Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti is probably more of a household name. His ‘Sonata e Quattro‘ is considered an early example for a string quartet. With Terry Riley and Tan Dun, two pieces by famous contemporary composers are also on the program, which is enriched by original arrangements of traditional music from Menorca, Spain, Sardinia, North Korea, and Portugal. The string quartet by Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi stands next to pieces by the Armenian monk and composer Komitas Verdapet, and Nikos Skalkotta’s “Five Greek Dances“ are contrasted with a folk melody from North Korea. This promises to be an incredibly rewarding journey of discovery, at the invitation of Belinfante Quartet: from East to West, between Old and New, with well-known and completely unknown music, surprises and the time-tested. Fascinating!

The Belinfante Quartet earned a reputation for being one of the most exciting string quartet of its generation, known for its captivating and innovative performances. The members of this quartet, which was founded in the Netherlands in 2016, come from the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Spain. They are known for their creative programming, which combines famous quartets with hidden gems and with awe-inspiring contemporary quartets by Sally Beamish, Caroline Shaw, Mathilde Wantenaa, and Marion von Tilzer to Arthur Klaassens. The quartet has performed at festivals throughout all of Europe, among others at the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, Internationeles Kammermusikfestival Utrecht, or the Trondheim Chamber Musix Festival. Recently, they played at Concertgebouw Amsterdam, den Doelen in Rotterdam, and Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht. The quartet can be heard performing live on European radio stations such as NPO Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3. Their latest debut CD Ellipse under the Dutch Label 7 Mountain Records has received international acclaim, including a nomination for the Edison Klassiek Newcomer Award 2023. The Belinfante Quartet has received many awards, most recently the Ensemble of the Year 2022 by Le Dimore del Quartetto. In 2023, they were part of the project “50 for the Future“ organised by Kronos Quartet as part of the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam. Their members studied at Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover with Professor Oliver Wille and at the Dutch Quartet Academy in Amsterdam (NSKA). They were one of the quartets in residence at the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam Residency 2021-2022 and were recently chosen to take part in the MERITA String Quartet Project.