Meet THE Lydian String Quartet


Based out of Boston, the Lydian String Quartet has, according to the Washington Post, "... revealed a fire that makes all timeless music forever contemporary."



"[The Lydian Quartet is] one of the country's superior chamber groups. The program was challenging: Faure's E-minor Quartet, far too seldom played; Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet, often played and always welcome; and a new work, the Third Quartet by New York-based composer Lee Hyla. The setting was glorious, and so were the performances."
Alan Rich, Los Angeles Daily News

"So perfectly in synch are these musicians that sometimes, especially in very soft passages, they do not even sound like a quartet. They sound like a voice, or a rustle, or a sigh. They can bend the timing together, craft crescendos and decrescendos of breathtaking subtlety and turn out nifty dramatic endings... Their skills were showcased to fine effect in the three quartets that traditionally end every year's Slee series: the Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4; the Quartet in F, Op. 135; and the Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2."
Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News

"The concert ended with the Lydian String Quartet playing the greatest of Schumann's three string quartets, the third, in A major. The Lydians caught Schumann's sense of longing, his agitation, his contemplative inwardness, and, in the finale, his affirmation of the world in song and dance. ...The playing is always on the edge – yet that edge isn't sharp but delicately rounded. There's a lightness and nimbleness that's capable of gravity and passion without forcing the music or weighing it down."
Lloyd Schwartz, The Boston Phoenix

"This was an alert, aware, and richly satisfying performance."
Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

"Each time I encounter the Lydian Quartet my admiration for their technical, structural, and communicative power continues to grow. They are the complete package, and the wider my travels, the deeper goes my conviction."
Composer John Harbison

"[T]he Lydian delivered beautifully reasoned and integrated performances of all three of its selections. [Beethoven's] Opus 131 is not just music you play; it is music you submit to. When you do that, as the Lydian did, the effect is a kind of communion with the gods."
Andrew Pincus, The Berkshire Eagle

"The Lydians are fine players, full of dramatic charge and integrated to perfection."
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph (London, England)

"The Lydian Quartet plays beautifully here, with a precision and involvement marking them as among the world's best quartets."
Kevin M. Williams, Chicago Sun-Times

"The Lydian String Quartet gave Lee Hyla's 'Quartet' a premiere performance composers might dream of at the Library of Congress Saturday afternoon. From the start, which pitted a ruminative melody against chattering, discordant commentary, to the propulsive last movement, theirs was musicianship of a high order. Hyla's piece followed Alban Berg's Quartet Op. 3, a fiercely atonal work the Lydian coaxed into song. If anything, the group began Beethoven's Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1 too perfectly with the sort of performance in which all the superlatives ring true. In this composition by the mature Beethoven, they revealed a fire that makes all timeless music forever contemporary."
Sunil Freeman, The Washington Post

"The Lydian String Quartet charge in with a volcanic energy that sounds like an orchestra rather than a chamber group, and their intensity never lets up. In the fast music, they have all the barbaric splendor one could ask for; in the slow music...they play with great tenderness. This is the most revelatory CD [Leo Ornstein: Piano Quintet, String Quartet No. 3] to come my way this year."
American Record Guide

"The Lydians approached the works sensitively and with the full range of tone, from warmth to brashness, that the contemporary literature demands."
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

"The Lydian produces a wealth of tone colors and soundscapes, a broad palate of dynamics, and an abundance of articulation variety. Balance within the quartet is superb, allowing for the often active inner voices to be clearly audible while not obscuring the primary melody."
Mike Brownell, All Music Guide

"The long-awaited advent of the Lydian String Quartet and a new work by eminent composer Lee Hyla at Merrill Auditorium on Saturday did not disappoint. The quartet, known for its performance of contemporary music, is equally at home in the classics, treating works by Beethoven and Mozart as if they were just as new and fresh as those of 1999."
Christopher Hyde, Portland Press Herald (ME)

"Their music-making combines meticulous detail with sweep and technical assurance equal to every challenge. In a musical age where personality has given way to objectivity, it is refreshing to hear a group with a clearly stated point of view."
Henry Derrick, Atlanta Journal Constitution

"There are a lot of good string quartets around, but I would rank the Lydians with the best. Traditionally the medium has been admired as an opportunity for a polyphony in which each of the four voices can be discerned. Everything is so clear you can appreciate the way music has been written. And, of course, much of the great music for quartet also calls for the voices to sing together. There are chamber groups in which the individuality of the players is so strong they seem more like a group of soloists. This can help make polyphonic writing dynamically exciting but can be a hindrance to concerted action. The Lydians showed Thursday's audience they can do both, but they are not a collection of soloists, they are a quartet."
William Glackin, Sacramento Bee

"Their playing is at once mellow-sounding and intense, relaxed in tempo and highly dramatic in treatment of dynamics, propulsive and beautifully delineated. Their silences are as musical as their flights of lyricism."
Clarke Bustard, Richmond Times-Dispatch


Concert videos from Taipei National University of the Arts Concert Hall, Taiwan

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Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, on the Lydians' recording of Beethoven's late quartets: "These distinguished readings are full of subtlety, tonal refinement, and a sense of accumulated musical wisdom."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, on the Lydians' recording of music by Harold Shapero: "All three works receive assured and engrossing performances."

Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe, on the Lydians' recording of quartets by Charles Ives: "This is one of the great string quartet recordings, catching the Lydian Quartet in its recent prime in music it feels in the marrow of its bones."

Mike Brownell, All Music Guide, on the Lydians' recording of John Harbison's first four string quartets: "The Lydian String Quartet, often recognized for its successful coupling of traditional repertoire as well as new compositions, is perfectly suited for Harbison's works."

Galen H. Brown,, on the Lydians' recording of Lee Hyla's String Quartet No. 4: "The disc starts with the Lydian String Quartet tearing into the opening notes of Hyla's String Quartet #4 (1999) as if it had insulted their mother."

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Classical, Romantic, Early Modern, Mid-Century Modern



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Photos copyright © 2016 by Susan Wilson,

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Lydian String Quartet
c/o Deborah Rosenstein
Slosberg Music Center, MS 051
Brandeis University
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02454

Phone: 781-736-4867
Email: Use form on left or click here to send email to Deborah Rosenstein