"A performance full of energizing sound and a harmoniously developed musicality, effortlessly captivating the audience."
The Arcis Saxophone Quartet, named after Munich's iconic Arcis Street, has emerged as one of the most vibrant and active classical ensembles globally. Whether on the highest pass in Ecuador, in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert, on the cliffs in the American Atlantic, or in the sold-out Philharmonie in Munich and Berlin... the four saxophonists feel at home everywhere with their music.
Embodying a spirit of experimentation, artistry, and boundless curiosity, the quartet fearlessly explores new musical territories. Whether they are traveling and performing on a trailer-turned-stage through Bavarian villages, pedaling through the city on a Conference-Bike, or innovatively combining chamber music with contemporary dance in a joint performative act through their arcis_collective, their creativity knows no bounds.
An elaborate dramaturgy, sound, and light design, as well as captivating introductions, are as much a part of the concert experience for the four multi-talented musicians as their energetic interpretations, finely balanced arrangements, and commissioned compositions from all over the world, tailored to their style.
To stay true to themselves, their artistic vision flows into all aspects of their work: After their two debut CDs, "Arcis Saxophon Quartett spielt Enjott Schneider" (2013) on Ambiente Audio and "Rasch" (2017) on Genuin, the four musicians founded their own record label, arcis records, and established arcis visuals, a production company in-house, taking care of their visual and media content.
They acquired their chamber music skills from the best of the best, studying with the Artemis Quartet at the UdK in Berlin and in the forge of the European Chamber Music Academy (with mentors like Hatto Beyerle, Alban Berg Quartet; Prof. Johannes Meissl, among others), as well as at the HMT Munich with Prof. Koryun Asatryan and Prof. Friedemann Berger.
International success quickly followed. The press cheered, "A world-class quartet," and the competition successes and awards poured in. They won first prizes at the Music Competition of the Kulturkreis Gasteig e.V. (Munich; additional audience prize), at the International Music Competition Concorso Argento (Italy), and at the First Classical Music International Internet Festival "Chance Music" (Russia). They received a third prize at the 13th International Chieri Music Competition (Italy). In 2014, they were awarded the second prize at the Chamber Music Competition of the Alice-Samter-Stiftung (Berlin), and in 2015, they won the first prize at the 4th International Contest – Festival of Chamber Ensemble Performance named after T.A. Gaidamovich in Magnitogorsk (Russia). In 2016, they received the first prize at the 1st Rising Stars Grand Prix 2016 – International Music Competition Berlin.
Recognized for their outstanding contributions to the world of classical music, the quartet was honored with the Bavarian Art Promotion Prize and received scholarships from the Theodor-Rogler Foundation, a music scholarship from the city of Munich, as well as scholarships from the Erika and Georg Dietrich Foundation, the German Orchestra Foundation, the Musikfonds e.V., and the German Music Council.
In order to inspire the young generation, musicians, and audiences of tomorrow, the quartet passionately engages in educational endeavors: through ensemble workshops, masterclasses, and dozens of school visits each year, they directly engage and skillfully inspire children and teenagers with music and the joy of making music.
For the Arcis Saxophone Quartet, music is an endless playground, and they are as diverse as no other group. Only one thing remains constant: their distinctive sound.
Erkki-Sven Tüür – Meditatio for saxophone quartet and choir
Gija Kantscheli – Amao Omi Meditatio for saxophone quartet and choir
Eric Whitacre – Five Hebrew Love Songs for saxophone quartet and choir
Orlando di Lasso – Missa “Bell’ Amfitrit’ altera”
J.S. Bach – Singet dem Herrn BWV 225
J.S. Bach – Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf BWV 226
Arcis Saxophone Quartet pairs with choirs to perform music from the 1500s to today, showcasing the unique timbres of four saxophones and voice. Meditations, a mass, motets, and love songs round out this thoughtful and insightful program.
Philip Glass – Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
Luke Bedford – Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
Bob Mintzer – Rhythm of Americas
Arcis is constantly pushing the traditional boundaries and concepts of the saxophone as a classical music instrument. They commissioned British composer Luke Bedford to write a concerto for saxophone quartet and orchestra which received its premiere in 2017 by the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin at the Philharmonie Berlin. The Philip Glass Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra has become a staple of saxophone quartets, and each of the four movements showcases the different timbres and tones of each saxophone. With Rhythm of Americas by the famous saxophonist Bob Mintzer the Arcis Saxophone Quartet brings out the jazzy component of the saxophones which characterizes Mintzer’s style, finding the perfect balance between two music genres which find the perfect synthesis in their instrument: classical music and jazz.
J.S. Bach & contemporary composers – Selection of newly composed preludes to fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier
Nikolai Kapustin – 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op.82
– Intermission –
Dmitri Schostakowitsch – Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87
Leonhard Kuhn – Fugue & Loops
JSB:48 is all about The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Original Bach fugues are complemented by newly composed preludes and related to composers all inspired by the Well-Tempered Clavier: Shostakovich, Kapustin and Kuhn.
J.S. Bach (arr. ASQ) – Italian Concerto
Ligeti – Six Bagatelles
Bartók (arr. ASQ) – Romanian Folk Dances
- Intermission -
Mozart – Divertimento in F Major, KV 138
Shostakovich (arr. ASQ) – Jazz Suite No.1
Schulhoff (arr. ASQ) – Five Pieces for String Quartet
In the Great Masters, the Arcis Saxophone Quartet assembles works by many of history’s greatest composers. Every epoch had its masters and masterpieces, and in this program, the quartet presents Ligeti, Haydn, Bach, Bartók, Mendelssohn, and Gershwin in such shining new colors, the Tageszeitung Munich asked, “Do you ever want to hear it differently again?”
Dvořák (arr. ASQ) – String Quartet No. 12 “American“
Jacob Ter Veldhuis – Jesus is Coming
- Intermission -
Bernstein (arr. ASQ) – West Side Story Suite
Gershwin (arr. Sylvain Dedenon) – Porgy and Bess Suite
Endless fascinating prairie landscapes, the exciting pulse of the city that never sleeps and the ‘swinging’ life of the southern states: stories full of dreams, hopes and love. In American Dreams, the Arcis Saxophone Quartet presents the broad range of the American Way of Life.
With arrangements which space from Dvorak’s “American quartet”, characterized by folk elements and deeply connected with the nature; to the Dutch “avant pop” composer Jacob TV with his piece “Jesus is coming” which was inspired by the 9-11 trauma and the role of religion today; to excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’ “West Side Story”, inspired from Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Julia” set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid 1950s; ending with a Suite from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”, no opera includes so many famous Jazz-standards at the same time: “Summertime”, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin”, and much more. The artists will explore their instruments' spectrum of colors, allowing the public to discover new and exciting facets of the saxophone.