Balanescu Quartet


The Balanescu Quartet was born in 1987 in Romania, from an idea by the talented violinist Alexander Balanescu. The line-up recreates the of the classic string quartets: Alexander (violin, creative mind, and composer), Clare Connors (second violin), Caroline Dale (cello), and Bill Hawkes (viola). The originality stays, however, in adapting this traditional formation to a repertoire that is as wide and varied as possible.

The ultimate goal of Balanescu Quartet is to bring classical music closer to the contemporary, both in terms of music and audience.

Eclecticism is the keyword: The Quartet performs re-arranged pieces of famous artists which are very far from chamber music’s style. Their repertoire ranges from electronic pop music by Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, or the Yellow Magic Orchestra, to reinterpretations of more niche artists such as Michael Nyman, Pet Shop Boys, John Lurie, or Kate Bush.

This is what is collected in Possessed (1992), the first album by Balanescu Quartet who rearranged already known songs. These covers are still revived by the Quartet in their live concerts.

Another strong point of Balanescu Quartet is the crossover they created with Eastern European popular music, which made the Quartet a totally innovative experiment in the music scene. After their first tour in Romania, Alexander Bălănescu rediscovered the charming qualities of his homeland’s popular music and decided to combine them with classical music’s sounds. This mixture of genres gave life to Luminitza in 1994.

In 1995 the Quartet composed the soundtrack of the film Angels & Insects directed by Philip Haas, while in 1997 they collaborated with English rock band Spiritualized in the album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. In 2000 Balanescu Quartet edited the soundtrack of the film Il Partigiano Johnny By Guido Chiesa, based on the homonymous novel by Beppe Fenoglio.

The group’s love for Romanian folk music and for the singer Maria Tănase, called the “Edith Piaf of Bucharest”, led to the realization of a show focused exclusively on Maria. This is the project Maria T., conceived together with Klaus Obermaier, an Austrian extravagant artist, and electronic musician, who blends music and video images in his shows and who is able to create numerous multimedia and cross-media works. From this project, in 2005, Balanescu Quartet published the homonymous Maria T., while the show was performed in Italy, at Teatro Piccolo Regio in Turin in November of the same year.

After having edited the soundtrack for the film Diaz – Don’t Clean Up This Blood by Daniele Vicari, the Balanescu Quartet participated in 2020 in the production of the album Forever by Francesco Bianconi, leader of Italian band Baustelle. The Quartet arranged the string parts in some of Bianconi’s tracks, such as “Il bene”, “L’abisso”, “Go!” “Fàika Llìl Wnhàr”, “Zuma Beach”, “Certain Men”, “Amateur Assassination” and “Forever”.






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