Canadian debut Apr 12 – Dublin Guitar Quartet

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“A wonderful ensemble, the Dublin Guitar Quartet has carved a place for itself in the world of classical music.”
– Philip Glass, composer

“The classical guitar may have a quiet voice, but it makes up for it with a striking array of sonic colors, from drumming to delicate harmonies.  Put four of the instruments together, and you have the best of both worlds: intricate detail and a near-orchestral palette of sound backed up by hall-filling power.”
The Washington Post

Described as a “quartet with a difference” by the Irish Times, the Dublin Guitar Quartet occupies a unique space in the wider chamber music world, as the first classical guitar quartet devoted to new music.

To make these newer works more accessible, we have developed a detailed programme note highlighting the composers of each of these works which is available on our home page and hard copies to be given out at the concert.  To get an early flavour for what to expect at this unique concert opportunity, visit our website home page to view a DGQ video and the first work on Sunday’s performance programme.

Since its formation in 2001 at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, the group has eschewed standard classical guitar repertoire in favour of developing its own arrangements of important international compositions.  Its first arrangements included String Quartets No.2 (Company) and  No.3 (Mishima) by Philip Glass, Summa by Arvo Pärt, String Quartet No.1 (White Man Sleeps) by Kevin Volans and Soundscapes over Landscapes by The Redneck Manifesto.

It continues its trail blazing journey by adapting other modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire and by commissioning new works.  When possible, the Quartet collaborates with the composers directly to achieve the correct musical translation.  Performing on eight and 11-string guitars, the Quartet has recorded on Philip Glass’ Orange Mountain Music label, and is included in a recent recording, performing Pärt’s Summa.  In 2010 the ensemble performed Sofia Gubaidulina’s Repentance, a work that included solo cello and bass parts.

Their Brave New Programme:

Philip Glass (US b.1937): String Quartet No. 2 “Company”
Leo Brouwer (Cuba b.1939): Cuban Landscape with Rhumba
Urmas Sisask (Estonia b.1960): Songs in honour of the Virgin Mary
Nikita Koshikin (Russia b.1959): Changing the Guard
William Kanengiser (US b.1959): Gongan
Philip Glass: String Quartet No. 3 “Mishima”
John Tavener (UK 1944-2013): The Lamb
Cyrillus Kreek (Estonia 1889-1962): Maga, maga Matsikene
Kreek: Mis a sirised, sirtsuke
György Ligeti (Hungary 1923-2006): Musica Ricercata

“Whether you know the Glass quartets or not, it’s astonishing how satisfying the music sounds on four guitars. The interlocking parts are transparent and the music seems to breathe fresh air. The group’s intonation is impeccable, the rhythms crisp and precise whether they are keeping the propulsive engine chugging or lurching to a sudden new arpeggio. Watch their heads, all bobbing in unison.” – NPR Music

We conclude our 26th season with this important debut Sunday, April 12, 3:15pm at Walter Hall, 80 Queen’s Park Crescent, Toronto.  Tickets: $30 or $20 for under age 30, are available online at or by calling 647-988-2102 anytime over the weekend.

MUSIC & TRUFFLES – Classical Music for Family Enjoyment

The Dublin Guitar Quartet will perform a friendly, interactive version of this concert, for young people ages 5-11 and their families from 1:15-2:15pm.  Tickets only $13! Everyone gets a chocolate truffle at the end.

We will announce our 2015-16 season at this concert, and subscriptions will go on sale.   Our first concert is September 27 featuring Stewart Goodyear, piano.