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 Lotus String Quartet, Stuttgart
     
Sachiko Kobayashi (Violin) / Mathias Neundorf (Violin)
Tomoko Yamasaki (Viola) / Chihiro Saito (Cello)


"Japanese perfection combined with German sensibility", "Mozart's string quartets with Japanese charm", "metamorphosis of natural beauty"-- so run the press reviews of the performances of the Lotus String Quartet, which has become well-known already in its first year of existence by winning the international Chamber Music Competition at Osaka, Japan in 1993.

In London they were awarded the "Menuhin Prize" followed by the prize of the "G.B.Viotti, Concorso Internazionale di Musica" and the "Premio Paolo Borciani" in Italy where the quartet also received a prize for excellent interpretation of a work by Luciano Berio.

The musicians studied in Japan, afterwards in Germany (Musikhochschule Stuttgart). They have attended courses with the Amadeus Quartet, the LaSalle Quartet (Walter Levin), the Hagen Quartet (Rainer Schmidt) as well as the Melos Quartet, with whose members they have often performed.

In 2005, Mathias Neundorf (Stuttgart) joined the Lotus String Quartet playing second violin. Having been trained by both the Melos and the Amadeus Quartet and being awarded a number of prizes he is sharing with the Lotus String Quartet twenty years of chamber music performance in ensembles like the Stuttgart String Quartet that won the Karl Klingler Prize and the Prix de la Presse at Evian in 1982.

Besides an extensive programme of concerts in Germany (Berlin/ Konzerthaus, Hamburg/ Musikhalle, Dusseldorf/ Tonhalle, Stuttgart/ Liederhalle etc.) the Lotus String Quartet has performed at various festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein-Musikfestival, the Braunschweig Kammermusikpodium, the Kissinger Sommer, the Davos Festival,the Cheltenham Festival, the Festival Luzern, the Rheingau Musik Festival, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Mozart-Fest Wurzburg, the Sandstein & Musik in Dresden and the Bastad Festival in Schweden.

The Lotus String Quartet tours its home country, Japan, at regular intervals, performing in various urban centres. Since 1998 the ensemble appears annually at Darmstadt where it performed the whole Beethoven and Schubert cycles.

Among those performing with the Lotus String Quartet are Wolfgang Boettcher, Eduard Brunner, Paul Meyer, Martin Frost, Francis Gouton, Peter Buck, Gerhard Voss, Hermann Voss, Wolfgang Guttler, Konrad Elser as well as Naoko Yoshino, Noriko Ogawa and Edna Stern.

Their great favourites are the German classics and French impressionists. Their wide repertoire includes Japanese composers like Toru Takemitsu and Toshio Hosokawa as well as Helmut Lachenmann and the masters of the Neue Wiener Schule.

Besides numerous recordings for BBC London, Sudwestrundfunk, NHK, ZDF and DRS Schweiz there was the first Lotus String Quartet CD produced by Teldec in 1997 featuring.
Mozart (the string quartets in D major KV 575 and B flat major KV 589) followed by another recording of the music by the Japanese composers Takemitsu, Nishimura, Hosokawa, Yashiro and Miyoshi.
The two CDs were highly awarded both in the Fono Forum and in Japan.
In 2006 the quartet returned to visit their homeland after a long hiatus to mark 150 years since the demise of Schumann with Tokyo and Osaka performances of the complete works of Schumann quartets, which was also recorded and released on CD which subsequently received the top award in the record section of the Agency for Cultural Affairs art festival 2006.
In 2008, the Lotus String Quartet toured Japan to give ten performances including the complete Beethoven "Rasumovsky" quartets op. 59. To celebrate 200 years since the birth of Schumann, in 2010 they were invited to perform the complete works of Schumann quartets for the third time at the Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara as well as the Munetsugu Hall in Nagoya.
In 2012 the Lotus String Quartet held their 20th Anniversary Japan Tour, celebrating two decades since their founding with an All Brahms' Programme. One of the concerts, which was broadcasted by NHK-TV and NHK-FM, featured a guest performance by Sebastian MANZ (clarinet), and was held at the Izumi Hall in Osaka, which holds a special significance for the quartet as the launching point for their international activities. They further celebrated their founding by releasing two disc recordings: 'Brahms: String Quintet, Op. 51-1 & 2' and 'Schubert: String Quintet (Cello: Peter Buck) & works by Webern'. Both CDs have been highly critically acclaimed in newspapers and magazines, having been selected as the 'Specially Selected Disc' for the Record Geijutsu magazine.

April 2013

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