We have some news to share!
The setting is our longtime rehearsal room in South Kensington, London. Trinkets from our travels adorn the mantelpiece, the acoustic is perfectly dry and there is sadness in the air: Christopher Graves, our cellist for almost a decade, has decided to exchange touring for a life making bows and music closer to home. He has been a dedicated and inspiring musical companion. There are hugs, there are tears, and there is the certainty that we will remain the closest of friends.
There is also only one cellist’s name on our lips.
We are enormously excited to announce Steffan Morris as the new cellist of the Castalian String Quartet. From our first notes with Steffan, we felt extraordinarily fortunate to be making music together. He has enjoyed a richly varied career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral principal and we could not be more thrilled to be embarking on this new chapter with him.
And it’s quite a start!
The next few months include two tours of the USA and multiple visits to the University of Oxford as Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence. As Artist in Residence at the Wigmore Hall, we will perform a Britten cycle and premiere ‘Ungrievable Lives’, a powerful collaboration between composer Charlotte Bray and artist Caroline Burraway exploring the experiences of child refugees. There’s also a new commission from Mark-Anthony Turnage and a return to the Vienna Konzerthaus on the horizon.
But first, back to our South Kensington rehearsal room!
A message from Steffan:
“I couldn’t be happier to be joining the Castalian String Quartet. I’ve watched and admired the quartet for many years from the sidelines and I’m delighted to be embarking on this new journey with them. And what shoes to fill! Chris has been a friend and colleague for many years and his contribution to the quartet life has clearly been astounding. I felt an immediate connection with Sini, Daniel and Ruth from our first notes together and cannot wait to explore this incredible music together. Joining the Castalians is like gaining a new family, one whose priorities, values and sheer love for music is intrinsic to the life and soul of the quartet. I look forward to learning, playing and exploring over the years to come! But for now….. I have notes to learn!”
A message from Chris:
‘It would be hard to put a decade of quartet life into a few words, but really the main thing I want to say is a heartfelt thank you to my fellow Castalians past and present – there have been so many performances and musical moments which I know I’ll never forget. And not forgetting either all the adventures we’ve had between those moments, of course! It really has been a huge privilege to be part of that team and the relationships made there have become just as valuable as the music that’s at the core of it. I’m moving on now to give more time to another passion of mine for making bows, but I’m very happy that the others have found Steffan, he and I go back years and I’ve always thought he was a fantastic cellist and more importantly the real deal as a musician, so I know that their future is bright. As I leave I also want to say to all the many people who have given energy and direction to the quartet as it has grown up: thank you, we couldn’t have done any of it without you!”