“Their flamboyant style of music-making – standing, swaying, sometimes even stamping – has thrilled me in the past. Now they seem to deploy even more breathtaking levels of technical and interpretive finesse.”
The Times (UK)
“In the slow second movement, the audience experienced the magical moment when the Ensemble layered the slow sequences on top of each other with calmness and abandonment. It was as if I was watching a clockmaker who carefully assembles a clock with tweezers and love. In the concert hall, there was transcendence and quietness while the musicians let the end of the movement slowly fall into silence, note by note.”
“When the quartet was playing together — or even when only two instruments were together, especially Kilpeläinen’s viola and Minna Pensola’s second violin — the unity of voicing was astonishing, as if the musicians formed a single instrument…Not every quartet could present such a thematically unified program while bringing out both the resemblances among the works and their variety of materials and presentations. Meta4 played a narrowly focused concert but a blisteringly intense one.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
“The young Finns interpreted this music ingeniously. Their hands-on approach, their determined and occasionally primitive (yet always masterfully shaped) sound – including ethereal pianissimi – and their perfect stylistic rapport resulted in music-making which unfurled this music’s vital power.”
“… the breath of fresh air and sense of humour of the Finnish Meta4 quartet…”
“Intonation is fabulously secure in a work that has a tendency to ‘swim’ a little, internal give-and-take between voices is captivatingly observed, there is a thrilling sense of the music being lived through as an emotional imperative, and the ensemble creates a simply glorious corporate sonority, captured in smooth yet detailed sound that opens out to ear-tweaking effect when the SACD track is activated.”
Meta4, formed in 2001, is one of the most internationally successful Finnish string quartets. In 2004 it won the first prize in the International Shostakovich Quartet Competition in Moscow and was also awarded a special prize for best Shostakovich interpretation. The quartet enjoyed continued success in 2007, when it won the first prize in the International Joseph Haydn Chamber Music Competition in Vienna. Later that year the Finnish Minister of Culture awarded Meta4 with the annual Finland Prize in recognition of an international breakthrough. Meta4 was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist for 2008–2010 and in 2013 Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation awarded the quartet with a special prize in recognition of its work.
Meta4 performs regularly in key music capitals and concert halls around the world including Wiener Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall and King’s Place in London, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Cité de la Musique in Paris and Stockholms Konserthus, and has also toured in Australia. The ensemble will serve as principal guest conductor of the Jyväskylä Symphony Orchestra from 2022 to 2024. Furthermore, Meta4 served as the Artistic Director of Oulunsalo Music Festival between 2008 and 2011 and was the quartet-in-residence at the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival from 2008-2017. In recent seasons, Meta4 has impressed audiences and music critics alike in Kaija Saariaho’s chamber opera Only the Sound Remains at the Finnish National Opera, Opéra de Paris, Teatro Real Madrid and Lincoln Center.
The quartet has studied in the European Chamber Music Academy (ECMA) under Hatto Beyerle and Johannes Meissl. They have released three recordings on Hänssler Classics: Haydn’s String Quartets op. 55 1–3 (2009), which was awarded the esteemed Echo Klassik Award in 2010; Shostakovich’s String Quartets 3, 4 & 7 (2012), which received the 2012 Record of the Year award from the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE as well as the Emma prize (the Finnish Grammy) in the category of the Classical Album of the Year, as well as Bartók’s String Quartets 1 & 5, released in 2014. The quartet has also released an album of Kaija Saariaho’s chamber music works (Ondine, 2013) and an LP of Sibelius’s String Quartet ‘Voces Intimae’ (Berliner Meister Schallplatten, 2013). An album with Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Gérard Pesson’s Nebenstück together with Reto Bieri, was released via ECM Records in 2019. The most recent albums of the quartet were breleased via Bis Records: their recording of octets by Mendelssohn and Enescu with the Gringolts Quartet was released in 2020 and fall 2021 saw the release of Oceano, Chamber Music by Sebastian Fagerlund.
The members of Meta4 play distinguished instruments, which include a Stradivarius, kindly on loan from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, a Carlo Bergonzi violin, kindly on loan from Signe and Ane Gyllenberg’s Foundation and a cello made by Lorenzo Storioni in Cremona in 1780.