Amy Tress (violin)
William Newell (violin)
Stephen Upshaw (viola)
Stephanie Tress (cello)
Praised for their “immaculate precision and spirit” (The Strad) and “cultured tone” (Arts Desk), the Solem Quartet has established itself as one of the most innovative and adventurous quartets of its generation. A 2020 awardee of the Jerwood Arts Live Work Fund, one of 33 artists selected from more than 1200 applicants, the Solem Quartet takes its place amongst some of the UK’s brightest artistic voices, with award recipients spread across practices including music, theatre, opera, circus, dance, live art and performance.
They enjoy a busy concert schedule, ranging from international tours in Asia and Europe to performances at venues such as London’s Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and Oxford’s Holywell Music Room, and have built a strong following since winning the Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Competition 2014.
Passionate about collaborating with the composers of their time, the Quartet have worked closely with Anna Meredith, Colin Matthews and Thomas Adès and recently gave the UK premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s Suite from “There Will be Blood” (for string quartet) at the V&A Museum. The success of their ground-breaking ‘Solem Lates’ concept, created in 2019 with the aim of presenting classical music in a fresh way and reaching broader audiences, has underlined the Quartet’s position as leading exponents of new music. Past ‘Solem Lates’ projects have included bringing music for quartet + electronics to nightclubs around the UK, performing Bartók’s 3rd Quartet from memory, and collaborating with Picturehouse Cinemas to bring Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster to life through live score performances alongside the iconic film.
The Solem Quartet are widely known for their thoughtfully curated programmes. In ‘Beethoven Bartók Now’, the group’s current ‘Solem Lates’ project, they present the works of these two giants alongside six major commissions, bringing new life and relevance to these iconic masterpieces; a wealth of digital content and educational activity surrounds each performance. One such component of this far-reaching project is ‘Writing for Quartet’, generously supported by the Royal Philharmonic Society, a biannual online workshop for composers of all backgrounds.
‘The Four Quarters’, the Solem Quartet’s debut album, was released on Orchid Classics in September 2021. Using Thomas Adès’ The Four Quarters as a framework – and featuring several arrangements by the ensemble – this CD explores composers’ depictions of night and day and all the moments in between; from the melodious dawn chorus of Cassandra Miller’s Warblework, via Bartok’s earthly and touching portrayal of An Evening in the Village to Kate Bush’s ethereal And Dream Of Sheep.
The Solem Quartet has benefited from inspirational teaching from a number of the world’s greatest chamber musicians including Gábor Takács-Nagy, Thomas Adès, Michal Kaznowski, Gerhard Schulz, Krysia Osostowicz and Richard Ireland. They have attended IMS Prussia Cove and the European Chamber Music Academy and were chosen for the 2014-15 ChamberStudio Mentorship with renowned cellist Christoph Richter. In 2016-17 they were selected as both Tunnell Trust Artists and Park Lane Group Artists.
The Quartet takes great pride in its educational work. From 2015-17 they held the Junior Fellowship in Chamber Music at the Royal Northern College of Music and since 2016 they have been Quartet in Residence at the University of Liverpool. Their immersive concerts and workshops have taken them to mainstream and special needs schools through Live Music Now and they have performed or given seminars at Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff Universities. They are also Ensemble in Residence at Aberystwyth MusicFest.