Kairos QuartettFoto: Jeremy Knowles

The Berlin-based Kairos Quartet was founded in 1996 and focusses on music of the turn of our century. Landmark compositions since 1950 and world premieres are at the heart of the quartet's activity which also includes samples of the Western musical tradition, that of other cultures (e.g. South-East Asia), or compositions employing media (electronics, video, speech, or the scenic/spatial aspects.

The Kairos Quartet takes great care in the selection and combination of pieces, including curating their own concert series such as "Five Windows onto the String Quartet since 1950" (Berlin 2001/02) or "On the Sound Path" (London, Assisi, Berlin 2013), both largely funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Culture Funds of Berlin).

The quartet has developed close professional relationships with many composers all over the globe.

Through alternative concert formats, workshops, master classes, and lectures on new music and performance practice the Kairos Quartet reaches out to music students and the general public; workshops for music students and young professionals have so far taken place as part of festivals, or in schools of music, in Austria, China, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Poland, and Switzerland.

After its successful debut at the Internationale Ferienkurse in Darmstadt 1996 the quartet was invited to numerous international festivals of such different leanings as Ultraschall, MaerzMusik (both in Berlin), Eclat Stuttgart, Huddersfield, Berliner Festwochen, Wien Modern, Salzburger Festspiele, Klangspuren/TransArt, Warsaw Autumn, Ljubliana Festival, Festival d’Automne, and the Festival de Cervantino in Mexico. The quartet performed in Austria, Belgium, China, Cyprus , Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and in the Ukraine. In 2020/21 the Kairos Quartet will record the string quartets of the Chinese-German composer Xiaoyong Chen (Hamburg, Shanghai) and those of the Rumanian Gabriel Iranyi, who is based in Berlin. 

Radio productions and live recordings were made by most major German broadcasting corpora­tions as well as foreign ones such as BBC, DRS, ORF, and RAI.

The quartet's ten CDs have populated various best-of lists and one of them received the German Record Critic’s Award (1/2005). In 2001 it was the first ensemble to become fellows at the Academy Schloss Solitude. 2019 saw its debut at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.

The many artistic partners of the Kairos Quartet include baritone Dietrich Henschel, mezzo Angelika Luz, Mayumi Miyata (sho), the sound poet Michael Lentz, actress Martina Gedeck, the Schlagquartett Köln, the Vokalensemble of the SWR and the Slowind quintet (Slovenia).

last update: 9/2020