Where are they now?

Kleio Quartet Mendelssohn on Mull 2021

We at Mendelssohn on Mull are very pleased that the Kleio Quartet includes three artists who have enjoyed a week with us. 

The Kleio Quartet won the Carl Nielsen International String Quartet competition in Denmark last April.

They were chosen by the jury from many excellent international ensembles, but they were also selected by the audience as their favourite ensemble (it is not always the case that audience and specialist jury agree!), and they received an award for the best performance of the new work that was commissioned for the event. Congratulations! 

We at Mendelssohn on Mull are very pleased that the Kleio Quartet includes three artists who have enjoyed a week with us. We are sure that their experiences on Mull have helped make them the resourceful and mature artists they are, even at such a young age!

Yume Fujise (violin I) came to us for Mendelssohn on Mull 2021. This was the first week after we were forced to cancel the 2020 event because of the pandemic. September 2021 still had a number of restrictions, including a masked and separated audience. We thought at the time that the panache of our performers, led by the glorious Dorics, was extra-special when so much of our audience experience was necessarily antiseptic. Yume then came to us the following spring for our Spring Music 2022. This was intended to be a quartet with Juliette Roos, but, when Juliette came down with Covid a few days before we were due to start, we had to rethink.

We were very grateful to Yume, and Edgar Francis and Hugh MacKay, that they came as a string trio, performing the glorious work by Mozart four times.

Eliza Millard (cello) was also with us at Mendelssohn on Mull 2021.  Eliza was at Oxford University as part of her training, and her intellectual gifts are clearly an important contribution to her success. She has founded the Smorgas chord Festival, based in Oxford, and the next events take place in June.  Eliza performed in a quartet with Ying from the Doric, as part of her duties on Mull, and the repertoire was a work by the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag. Kurtag is still with us, at 97, and he is perhaps the last living representative of the revolutionary generation that included Boulez and Stockhausen. The performance of Eliza’s quartet on Mull was much enjoyed by one of our faithful Mendelssohn on Mull audience members – who not only studied with Kurtag herself, but remains a friend to this day. Eliza was delighted to make Kurtag’s acquaintance, through this Mendelssohn on Mull contact, and the Kleio Quartet have played to the maestro in Budapest.

Katherine Yoon (violin II) came to us for Mendelssohn on Mull 2023.  In 2022, when Ying was not with us because Lily was due in October, the Dorics slated Tchaikovsky’s stupendous Souvenir de Florence for the final concert. The three Dorics elected to sit as second violin, second viola and second cello for this sextet, even though (or because) the ‘first’ players are famously treated as soloists, not least in the slow movement. This practice was repeated in 2022, when the four Dorics sat as violins 2 and 4, viola 2 and cello 2 in the Mendelssohn Octet. This trust in the younger artists was really acute in the violin 1 part, as Mendelssohn was writing for a personal friend of great gifts – the first violin part at time scan become a concerto soloist. Katherine took this part, and her performance at the top of this wonderful ensemble was magnificent. We nearly had an administration failure on the afternoon of this performance, when our washing machine broke and Katherine’s concert gear was still wet, as concert time approached. We were able to transport laundry and Katherine to a different machine and all was well, but few artists would have been as calm as she was.

The Kleio Quartet also includes Jenny Lewisohn as their viola. We are sorry that Jenny has never visited us on Mull, but we hope to see them all soon. They have worked with John Myerscough, the Doric cellist, and John brought them to Drimnin last April, for their last-minute rehearsals before their trip to Denmark. Derek Lewis, one of Mendelssohn on Mull’s most passionate supporters, owns the Drimnin estate, and he invited John to bring quartets with whom he was working to stay for a week, to work intensively, and to give concerts. It’s a bit like the Mendelssohn on Mull model, though we don’t bring ensembles of young professionals to Mull in September. John’s ‘finishing school’, so successful last year, is happening again in May this year. Drimnin is only a couple of miles from Mull, and you can easily see it from the main road, but it is the wrong side of the Sound of Mull. We hope to collaborate more with Derek in the future.

While we were on Mull for Spring Music this year, we were thrilled to hear that the Kleio Quartet will be performing at the Edinburgh International Festival in August this year. This extremely prestigious event will include music by Haydn and Britten, and a work for quartet by Wynton Marsalis, anAmerican musician of remarkable gifts, best known as a crossover trumpet-player between classical and jazz. We know that we will be able to track the Kleio Quartet’s glittering progress in the world of the string quartet, and feel just a little of their reflected glory.

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