Flinders Quartet: Bartók, My Father


This event takes place at Montsalvat


Selected movements from Bartók’s six quartets interwoven with personal stories, culminating in a performance of Bartók’s fifth string quartet.

Peter Bartók’s illuminating memoir of his father, Béla, inspired us to delve deeper into the musical portrait of this enigmatic man. Bartók’s fascination with folk melodies and their assimilation into ‘classical’ music is well known, but what about the other elements of his life? The sense of displacement after he fled Hungary to America, the intense discipline with which he lived his life? Through anecdotes and letters, Richard Piper (who was the brilliant dramaturge on our ‘Puck’s Dream’ and Shostakovich projects) helps us unearth some personal meaning behind the seminal canon of Bartók’s six string quartets.

‘During my early years of quartet playing in America, I was lucky enough to study several of Bartok’s quartets with venerated European emigres who had known Bartok. In fact, one of them, violist Eugene Lehner of the Kolisch Quartet, premiered the 5th quartet in 1935 and also the 6th which Bartok dedicated to them. I still remember studying that one with him. The idiosyncratic rhythmic freedoms he encouraged us to take really opened our eyes to the character of the folk elements so important to Bartok. I’m looking forward to tackling the fiendishly tricky 5th quartet for the first time!’ Wilma Smith, violin

Presented by Flinders Quartet


Béla Bartók
Selected movements from Bartók’s six string quartets

Béla Bartók
String Quartet No.5


Thibaud Pavlovic-Hobba violin
Wilma Smith violin
Helen Ireland viola
Zoe Knighton cello
Guest artist: Richard Piper, actor/narrator


This production is part of the following series: