I understand

Diderot Quartet

February 2015

The Diderot Quartet from New York spent two weeks here in Snape on a chamber music residency. They specialise in period music, and having played together in various other configurations since being students decided in 2012 to come together as a quartet.

“We use gut strings of course, but we’re not trying to make big point about playing period music, we’re just trying to bring it alive and have fresh approach to the music itself. As David Watkins [one of our tutors] said, in an ideal world we won’t have to stand on stage and explain why I don’t have an end-pin or why I have no chin-rest or why we’re playing on gut strings, it’s just another string quartet.

Probably more important than the instruments is the stylistic approach, especially for the romantic repertoire – the residency here was very enlightening because we got to work with Clive Brown, who is probably the only person who has done as much research, into playing that kind of repertoire.”

They appreciated the opportunity to work with experts in romantic repertoire, who can be hard to find in the states;

“The combination of the two coaches we ended up with was ideal – we couldn’t necessarily have known this ahead of time, but they were the perfect balance – they contrasted nicely, but they’ve worked together too, so they knew how to compliment each other.”

And other than music, what did they like most about coming to Aldeburgh?

“Clotted cream in the café here at Snape,  as well as walking on the beach in the morning – when we had time’ But their favourite part of staying in Aldeburgh was ‘going into a neighbourhood pub, where there’s one guy with his dog and chatting with us and reading our research over a beer next to the fire. That cosy pub feeling that we just don’t have in the states.”

Find out more about the Diderot Quartet, and what they’re doing now on their website.