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Esmé Quartet

Esme Quartet

Subscriber and Member Concert

Wonhee Bae, violin Yuna Ha, violin Jiwon Kim, viola Ye-eun Heo, cello

Tuesday, March 15 | 7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue InformationSan Francisco


About This Performance

Praised for their warm sound and powerful stage presence, the Esmé Quartet was formed by four Korean musicians who had been friends since childhood. Their incredible talent and strong musical personalities form a cohesive, close-knit group that is passionately dedicated to the string quartet repertoire. With recent performances at the Lucerne Festival, Wigmore Hall, and the 2018 Aix-en-Provence Festival, this young ensemble is definitely one to watch!


HAYDN: String Quartet in G Major, Opus 77, No. 1
KORNGOLD: String Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, Opus 26
DVOŘÁK: String Quartet in G Major, Opus 106


ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (arr. Eckart Runge): Introducción del Ángel

Performance Sponsor

San Francisco Performances Subscriber and Member Concert is sponsored by Camilla and George Smith.

Artist Information

Performer Biography

Winning the first prize and sweeping four of the special prizes, among them the Mozart and Beethoven prizes, at the 2018 London Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition the Esmé Quartet made a sensational entrance into the string quartet world. They were subsequently invited to tour internationally, playing concerts at festivals and concert halls such as Wigmore Hall and throughout the UK; the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, Flagey Musiq3 Festival in Brussels, Auditori di Barcelona, Opéra de Lille, Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, Haydn String Quartet Festival at Schloss Esterházy in Fertöd, Hungary and Classic Esterházy in Eisenstadt, Austria. In the summer of the same year, they were named as the Quartet-in-Residence at the Aix-en-Provence festival and also appeared at the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Montreal.

In 2019, the Quartet was awarded the HSBC Laureate of the Festival Aix-en-Provence and the First Prize at the 55th Possehl Musikpreis Lübeck. They recorded their debut CD of works by Beethoven, Unsuk Chin, and Frank Bridge on the Alpha Classics label. The recording was released in early 2020 and has achieved critical acclaim with a 5-star review from Diapason d’Or and was named as one of the best classical albums of 2020 by WQXR Radio in New York.

They were named the first Artists-in-Residence at Lotte Concert Hall, Seoul, Korea for the 2020-2021 season and in October 2020, the quartet was awarded the Hans-Gál Prize by the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz and the Villa Musica Foundation. 2021 also brought return engagements to the Festival Musiq3, Wigmore Hall, along with return engagements in Germany and Portugal, and a tour of Italy.

During the 2021–22 season, the Quartet will perform will make their debut tour of North America and Japan, along with performing at prestigious concerts venues such as Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.

The name of the quartet, "Esmé," is taken from the old French word meaning “Beloved.” Based in Germany, the group was formed in 2016 at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne and is comprised of four Korean musicians who were friends since their youth and who shared common interests and passions in music, the arts, and life. The quartet has been mentored by artists such as Günter Pichler (Alban Berg Quartet), Alfred Brendel, Eberhard Feltz, Andraś Keller, Christoph Poppen and Jonathan Brown (Cuarteto Casals). Esmé studied with Heime Müller (Artemis Quartet) at the Hochschule für Musik Lübeck, Germany, and with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the HMTM Hannover.

Artist Videos

The Esmé Quartet plays the Shostakovich Polka

The Esmé Quartet plays Haydn String Quartet, Op. 33, No. 5, Fourth Movement