The Arditti Quartet enjoys a world-wide reputation for its spirited and technically refined interpretations of contemporary and earlier twentieth-century music: several hundred string quartets and other chamber works have been written for the ensemble since its foundation by first violinist Irvine Arditti in 1974, many of which have earned a permanent place in the repertoire. World premieres of quartets by composers including Birtwistle, Cage, Carter, Dillon, Ferneyhough, Harvey, Kagel, Kurtag, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Rihm, Scelsi, Stockhausen and Xenakis show the wide range of music in the Quartet’s repertoire.
The ensemble believes that close collaboration with composers is vital to the process of interpreting modern music, and attempts to work with each composer whose music it performs; the players’ commitment to educational work is reflected in master-classes and workshops for young performers and composers given all over the world.
The Quartet’s extensive discography now features over 150 discs, forty-two of which have been released as part of its continuing series on the French label Naïve Montaigne. Over the past 25 years, the Quartet has received many prizes for its work, including the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis (several times) and the Gramophone Award for the best recording of contemporary music (twice). The prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize was awarded to the Quartet in 1999 for ‘lifetime achievement’ in music.