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The Kontra Quartet  

ensemble

The Kontra Quartet is today absolutely one of the leading string quartets in Europe. The quartet is constantly busy and gives concerts in the USA, in Japan and all over Europe as well as making recordings, playing in TV productions and giving master classes. In 1973 the quartet was formed around the Hungarian violin virtuoso Anton Kontra, whose dynamic artistic personality has been setting new standards for the violin and music in general in Scandinavia since 1956. Along with three of Denmark’s leading string players, Anton Kontra has now played quartet music for over quarter of a century, and the Kontra Quartet is one of Denmark’s most sought-after ensembles. The Kontra Quartet is particularly active and more or less constantly has the whole quartet literature in its repertoire, while still working intensely to expand it in collaboration with very many of the leading composers of our age. The Kontra Quartet regularly plays cross-over concerts with jazz musicians like Chick Corea, Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Mads Winding. Thanks to a huge recorded output – so far over forty recordings for among other labels BIS, EMI, Philips, Columbia and Dacapo – the quartet has left its unmistakable mark on all genres of the repertoire: for example complete recordings of the quartets of Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Kodaly, Vagn Holmboe, Niels W. Gade, Rued Langgaard, Poul Ruders, Hans Abrahamsen, Per Nørgaard and others. Particularly worth singling out is the recording of Vagn Holmboe’s collected quartets, which has received innumerable awards and has been crucial to the composer’s international breakthrough. The members of the quartet are Anton Kontra (1st violin), Boris Samsing (2nd violin), Peter Fabricius (viola) and Hans Nygaard (cello).

Live Dates

10/01/2011   Two Dacapo favourites on international reviews site
The critics of MusicWeb International recently presented their lists of personal favourites among last year's releases.
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10/03/2010   Holmboe stock riding high
Brugte eksemplarer af Holmboes strygekvartetter cirkulerer på Internettet til skyhøje priser
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04/03/2011   Classics Today (9/9)

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
"This important set belongs in the collection of anyone who cares about good 20th-century chamber music."
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01/01/2011   International Record Review

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
"Among the significant cycles of string quartets from the post-war era, that by Danish composer Vagn Holmboe is one of the most substantial surveying."
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17/12/2010   Classique Info

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
"Retenez votre souffle et plongez, la remontée sans paliers de décompression risque de s’avérer difficile mais gratifiante"
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01/11/2010   OPUS

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
5/5 Stars

"För Holmboekännare rekommenderar denna box förstås sig själv."
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01/11/2010   Ensemble

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
"Dem Kontra Quartet ist eine faszinierende Box gelungen."
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13/10/2010   Crescendo

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
"Erschließt sich hier eine Quelle eindringlichster Entdeckungen von einem kaum bekannten Giganten."
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19/09/2010   Musicweb International

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
“Holmboe’s quartets are one of the great treasures of the last century (…) With this box set comes a chance to discover them in performances of great accomplishment and dedication.”
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06/09/2010   Svenska Dagbladet

Vagn Holmboe: The Complete String Quartets
5 Stars

"En i sanning rik samling kammarmusik för den sparsmakade, utsökt framförd av Kontrakvartetten."
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03/11/1997   BBC Music Magazine

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Orchestral Works
5/5 Stars

"The performance of the soloist, Morten Zeuthen (for whom it was written) and the orchestra are utterly gripping ... One of the most exciting CD's I've come across this year"
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15/01/1994   Gramophone

Vagn Holmboe: String Quartets Vol. 1
"Recommended with enthusiasm."
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15/01/1994  

Vagn Holmboe: String Quartets Vol. 1
CANNES CLASSICAL AWARD
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15/07/1992   BBC Radio

Hans Abrahamsen and Poul Ruders: String Quartets
"The Kontra Quartet capture both the brusque quirkiness and the delicate pathos of these works."
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20/05/1992   Fanfare

Peter Arnold Heise: Chamber Music
"Amalie Malling is a formidable player."
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15/05/1992   HiFi Vision

Peter Arnold Heise: Chamber Music
"Eine Perle."
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15/05/1992   American Record Guide

Peter Arnold Heise: Chamber Music
"Fine, idiomatic performances."
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Discography

The Complete String Quartets
The Complete String Quartets
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.207001 (2010)

7 CD box set of all Holmboe's string quartets in the highly acclaimed recordings by the Kontra Quartet

The Key Masterpieces
The Key Masterpieces
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.226101-02 (2009)

An outstanding introduction to the clear-sighted master of 20th-century Nordic music

Chamber Music
Chamber Music
Finn Savery

CD 8.226528 (2007)

New chamber works by Denmark’s versatile crossover veteran

String Quartets Vol. 2
String Quartets Vol. 2
Ole Schmidt

CD 8.224211 (2003)

Quartets 3, 5 and 6 and Schmidt’s early Piano Quartet

String Quartets Vol. 1
String Quartets Vol. 1
Ole Schmidt

CD 8.224210 (2003)

Chamber music from 50 years, recorded in the presence of the composer

String Quartets Vol. 7
String Quartets Vol. 7
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224131 (2001)

This unsurpassed series concludes with Holmboe’s very last work, completed by his pupil Per Nørgård

String Quartets Vol. 6
String Quartets Vol. 6
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224128 (2001)

Penultimate CD in the definitive series with String Quartets 17, 19 and 20, written in the 1980s

Confrontations
Confrontations
Erik Jørgensen

CD 8.224137 (2000)

Mesterlige værker af en pioner og enegænger fra den serielle musik

String Quartets Vol. 5
String Quartets Vol. 5
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224127 (1999)

Strygekvartet nr. 13-15, skrevet i en intens periode midt i 1970’erne

String Quartets
String Quartets
Rued Langgaard

DCCD 9302A-B (1999)

String Quartets Vol. 4
String Quartets Vol. 4
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224101 (1998)

Three strong quartets from the beginning of the 1970s – a very fruitful period for Holmboe

String Quartets Vol. 3
String Quartets Vol. 3
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224073 (1997)

Grand recordings of String Quartets 7, 8 and 9, composed in the mid-1960s

Orchestral Works
Orchestral Works
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen

CD 8.224060 (1997)

Three key works by the caustic, energetic absurdist of modern Danish music

String Quartets Vol. 2
String Quartets Vol. 2
Vagn Holmboe

CD 8.224026 (1996)

String Quartets 2, 5 and 6, the starting shots for Holmboe’s immersion in the genre

String Quartets Vol. 1
String Quartets Vol. 1
Vagn Holmboe

DCCD 9203 (1993)

String Quartets
String Quartets
Hans Abrahamsen and Poul Ruders

DCCD 9006 (1992)

Chamber Music
Chamber Music
Peter Arnold Heise

DCCD 9113 (1992)


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