Considered "Simply the best there is" by the Boston Globe, the critically acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet is one of the most sought
after string quartets in the world, performing over 100 concerts of classical
and contemporary literature across three continents each season. Audiences
and critics alike champion its revealing explorations of Schoenberg, Brahms,
Ligeti, Kurtag, and Janácek, and affinity for making challenging
contemporary repertoire approachable. Lauded for its absolute mastery
of the complete Beethoven and Bartók quartet cycles, the ensemble
is currently focused on the work of Dmitri Shostakovich.
The Chicago Tribune calls the Borromeo “a remarkably accomplished string quartet, not simply for its high technical polish and refined tone, but more importantly for the searching musical insights it brings.” The San Diego Reader calls their performances “a musical experience of luminous beauty,” and the Boston Globe says "Each of the greatest string quartets has redefined what the possibilities of the medium are: through the perfection of its ensemble and intonation, through its poise and its passion, the Borromeos are recreating the medium anew and we are lucky to be here to hear it.
Since their explosive debut in 1989, the Borromeo have been regularly heard in the world’s most illustrious concert halls, including the Philharmonie, Casals Halls, the Concertgebouw, Opera Bastille, and Wigmore Hall. In the United States, the group is a favorite at Weill Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, and the National Gallery. The quartet is regularly invited to perform in distinguished chamber music series across the United States and abroad and has participated in the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Orlando Festival in the Netherlands, the Stavanger Festival in Norway, Music Isle Festival in Korea, and in North America at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Santa Fe, Rockport, Cape Cod, and Vancouver chamber music festivals, among others. First violinist Nicholas Kitchen recently completed a six-year tenure as Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music.
The Borromeo Quartet's long-standing and celebrated residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been called “one of the defining experiences of civilization in Boston” [Boston Globe]; and its ongoing concert series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York has been hailed as “one of New York’s best kept secrets” [New York Sun]. They are faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music as well as Dai-Ichi Semei Hall in Tokyo, and will return this summer for a third season in residence at the famed Taos School of Music in New Mexico. Their informal public masterclass series at NEC, “Early Evenings with the Borromeo,” regularly attracts standing-room-only crowds. They were commissioned by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society in 2005 to conduct a five-month long series of outreach concerts throughout the city focused on the music of Béla Bartók, including Bartók Night, a one act play for solo actor and string quartet by playwright Lynne Conner. In addition, the ensemble serves as an advisor to Community MusicWorks of Providence, Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of inner city youths and families through classical music.
In April 2007 the Borromeo Quartet was the recipient of prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and in 2006 the Aaron Copland House honored the Borromeo's commitment to contemporary music by creating the Borromeo Quartet Award, an annual initiative that will premiere the work of important young composers to audiences internationally. It has enjoyed collaborations with John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Gunther Schuller, Jennifer Higdon, Derek Bermel, and Lior Navok.
In 2003 the Borromeo made classical music history with its pioneering record label, the Living Archive Recorded Performance Series, making it is possible to order DVDs and CDs of most of its concerts around the world. The series allows listeners the chance to revisit in greater depth the music they have just heard in concert, as well as explore new and rarely performed works. Gramophone Magazine hailed the “great clarity and beauty” and “ravishing fury” of the BSQ’s studio recording of masterworks by Beethoven, and their CD featuring works of Maurice Ravel was honored with the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award for Recording Excellence in 2001. The are currently recording the compete Quartets of Bela Bartok.
In 2000 the Borromeo String Quartet completed two seasons as a member of Lincoln Center's Chamber Music Society Two and served as Ensemble-in-Residence for the 1998-99 season of National Public Radio's Performance Today. They are a regular guest on Rob Kapilow’s program What Makes It Great, and can frequently be heard on NPR, NHK Radio and Television in Japan, and KBS Radio and Television in Korea. Awards include Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award in 2001, Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award in 1998 and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1991, as well as top prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France in 1990.