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Biography
The Lindsays

Peter Cropper Violin

Ronald Birks Violin

Robin Ireland Viola

Bernard Gregor-Smith ‘Cello

The Lindsay String Quarter are securely established as one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles. Their interpretations are rooted in the European tradition of great quartet playing handed down by quartets such as the Busch and Begh, and the intensity, spontaneity and communicative power of the Lindsay’s performances have made them favourites with audiences throughout the world. The quartet was formed at the Royal Academy of Music in London but takes its name from Lord Lindsay, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University where the Quartet were resident from 1967-72. After this they took up a six year residency at Sheffield University and for the last eighteen years they have been firmly established at Manchester University, where they give an annual concert series, direct seminars on the quartet repertoire, coach chamber music and provide individual tuition. In 1991, they were awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society/Charles Heidsieck award "For the breadth of their musical taste and the total dedication of their playing."

Apart from a busy international schedule the core of their work in the UK is at Manchester University and in their home town, Sheffield, where in 1984 they founded the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival. This festival is a unique annual event in British musical life, famous for the informal, intimate and intense atmosphere of its concerts. In recognition of the festival’s growth and imaginative programming (nor renamed Music in the Round) it was awarded the 1994 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award in the Concert Series and Festivals category. The Lindsay’s own commitment to building new audiences for chamber music extends to several other towns in the North of England where they promote annual series of concerts. They have also transferred their festivals to other venues notably to London’s Wigmore Hall and the Blackheath Concert Halls. Their special relationship with the music of Sir Michael Tippett has lead to the world premieres of his fourth and Fifth quartets, both of which were written especially for them. Notable engagements during recent season have included complete cycles at festivals across the UK, any many appearances in France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark.

The 1997-98 season marked the Lindsays’ 30th Anniversary and projects included a Haydn Quartet series at the Wigmore Hall, Beethoven Quartet cycles in Japan and Australia, A Tippet Cycle in Stockholm, a Tippet and Shostakovich series of BBC Radio 3 and engagements throughout Europe and the USA. Future plans include further Beethoven cycles through 1999-2000.

The Lindsays record exclusively for ASV and their discography includes complete cycles of the Beethoven, Bartok and Tippett quartets. In 1984 they received the Gramophone chamber Award for the late Beethoven quartets. They are currently recording all the Mozart string quartets coupled with Mozart’s "Haydn" quartets, as well as all of the Haydn’s quartets from Op.20.

The quartet play on a remarkable set of instruments: Pete Cropper on a Stradivarius from the Golden Period, Robin Ireland plays a Mori Costa viola c.1810, while Ronald Birks and Bernard Gregor-Smith are very fortunate to be loaned the ‘Campo Selice’ Stradivarius of 1694 and a Ruggieri ‘cello of the same year.



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