The Lausanne, Switzerland-based Quatuor Sine Nomine has received much praise for its performances of the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Bartók, as well as for various French and Swiss quartet works. It has performed a wide range of repertory quite impressively, from works by Boccherini and Haydn to those of contemporary composers Pärt andGyörgy Kurtág. In addition, the group expands to accommodate music for quintet, sextet, and larger ensembles. It has even performed the concertos for quartet and orchestra by Schoenberg, Martinu, and Erwin Schulhoff. But it isn’t the eclectic repertory and chameleonic character that set this ensemble apart from most others, it is its self-effacing character: the group adopted its name, Quatuor Sine Nomine (Quartet Without a Name), to draw focus on the music it played, not on themselves. Despite some modesty, it has achieved great success, having performed at the most prestigious venues in Europe and the U.S., like Carnegie Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and London’s Wigmore Hall. The QSN has made numerous recordings, as well, most of them available from Claves and Cascavelle.
The Quatuor Sine Nomine was formed in 1975 with a membership of violinists Patrick Genet andFrançois Gottraux, violist Hans Egidi, and cellist Marc Jaermann. Over the next decade, the players steadily built the reputation in Switzerland as one of that country’s finest young string quartets.
In 1985 the QSN captured first prize at the Evian International Competition in France and two years later garnered the Jury of the Press Prize at the Reggio Emilia, Italy-based Borciani Competition. 1987 was also the year the QSN began its first major recording project, the complete quartets of Schubert on the Cascavelle label. By 1994 the cycle was completed, as the fifth disc in the series was issued.
Throughout the 1990s the QSN gained greater notice internationally and, from 1993, appeared on a string of successful recordings on the Claves label, which included the Mozart quartets, K. 387 and K. 464 (1999). In 2001 the QSN founded the Festival Sine Nomine, which is held in late spring every two years in Lausanne. There the QSN, or the individual members, performs at most of the dozen or more concerts.
In 2008, the QSN recorded the Karl Goldmark piano quintets, Op. 30 and Op. 54, its first effort for the CPO label. At the 2011 Festival Sine Nomine (May 25-29), the QSN performed works by Mozart (complete quintets with two violas), Dowland, Britten, and Enescu.