ensemble LUX is a string quartet based in Vienna, Austria which is primarily dedicated to the performance and promotion of contemporary chamber music. After the group’s formation in 2004, it quickly established a strong presence in the Austrian contemporary music scene. ensemble LUX has been praised for its “extraordinary virtuosity” (Bregenzer Festspiele), and its “capability and sincerity” (DrehpunktKultur Salzburg). Their performances of stylistically varied compositions, a number of which were composed specifically for the ensemble, have been called “simply excellent” (Austrian Music Journal) and of their performance at the Schauspielhaus Wien, the Wiener Zeitung writes: “(They) accompanied in clockwork precision”.
ensemble LUX has performed in venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Alte Schmiede Kunstverein Wien, the Arnold Schönberg Center and the Austrian National Library. Festival appearances include concerts at the Aspekte Festival Salzburg, Festival Orfeus in Bratislava, the Wiener Grabenfest, the Bregenzer Festspiele, Wien Modern and the Feldkirch Festival.
In 2009 the quartet made three appearances in England: at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, at the Clare College Chapel in Cambridge and in Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel. ensemble LUX was the Ensemble in Residence of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für zeitgenössische Musik (Austrian Society for Contemporary Music) from 2009–2011. In 2011, ensemble LUX performed in Berlin and also gave two concerts in cooperation with the “Forum Zeitgenössische Musik” in Leipzig.
ensemble LUX has recorded two CDs on the "SPEKTRAL Records" label, one of which with guest Russian Flutist Maria Fedotova. Another noteworthy cooperation took place in May 2011 when ensemble LUX performed the world premiere of “Avarus” by Thomas Heinisch with Swedish clarinetist Staffan Mårtensson.
During the 2011-2012 season, the quartet presented a cycle of four concerts as Ensemble in Residence at the Alte Schmiede Kunstverein Wien. ensemble LUX was the top recipient of “The New Austrian Sound of Music 2012/2013,” a stipend from the Austrian Foreign Ministry for travel on international concert tours. This lead to successful appearances in Seville, Spain and in Kraków, Poland.
During Wien Modern 2013, ensemble LUX played the premiere and 9 additional performances of “Das Märchen vom alten Mann”, a musical theatre production for children with music by Thomas Wally.
Violinist Louise Chisson and violist Nora Romanoff joined ensemble LUX in 2013.
In April 2014, ensemble LUX was chosen as one of four renowned quartets to participate in the Osterfestival Imago Dei at Klangraum Krems (Austria). Along with the Minetti Quartet, Koehne Quartet and Medici Quartet, they performed John Tavener’s “Towards Silence” for 4 string quartets.
During the 2014-2015 season at the Schauspielhaus Wien, ensemble LUX performed on stage in the highly-acclaimed show "Johnny Breitwieser. Eine Verbrecher-Ballade aus Wien" giving a total of 19 performances.
In 2016 the quartet performed at the 45th Poznańska Wiosna Muzyczna in Poznan, Poland, and at the MusicOlomouc Festival in the Czech Republic. LUX made their North American debut at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in November, 2016, followed by concerts in Montreal and Toronto.
In Spring 2018, ensemble LUX performed in Prague, Czech Republic to high acclaim at the St. Laurent Church. Lucia Maloveskà wrote on Opera Plus, ”The evening fulfilled everything one would expect from a high quality performance: many impressions, emotions and particularly new impulses. There still are not enough events during which one has an opportunity to listen to contemporary music on such a high level – all the more reason to value it. [...]The interpretation of [Thomas Wally’s la pureté et la envie blanche] by ensemble LUX was a vibrant sample of one thousand shades of refinement.”
LOUISE CHISSON, Violin
Born in Bordeaux, Louise Chisson began playing the violin at age three with Robert Papavrami and studied with him until age seventeen. She then entered the class of violinist Dora Schwarzberg at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she received her Master's degree unanimously with congratulations from the jury.
Louise Chisson has been on stage from an early age and has played in orchestras such as the Solistes Moscou-Montpellier, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, l’Orchestre d'Auvergne, l’Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse, die Salzburger Kammerphilharmonie and the Prag Philharmonic Orchestra. She has distinguished herself in brilliant performances of the 24 Caprices of Paganini, the sonatas of Ysaÿe, Bach and Prokofiev, and of the violin concertos of Brahms, Prokofiev and Bartók.
Her musical activities have brought her to be noticed by and work with prestigious musicians such as Isaac Stern, Maya Glesarova, Tedi Papavrami, Augustin Dumay, Wolfgang Marschner and Ana Chumachenco.
Also chamber music has a very important place in her musical life. Her constant desire to enrich her repertoire has led her to develop a passion for music of the 20th and 21st century. She has performed numerous recitals with French pianists Jean-Philippe Collard and Eric Ferrand N’Kaoua.
Since 2008, she performs regularly with the Georgian pianist Tamara Atschba. Her first CD, dedicated to Janacek, Prokofiev and Poulenc was released in 2013 by the Austrian label Gramola and was ranked among the 10 best classical music albums of 2013 on artistxite.com.
Louise became a member of ensemble LUX in 2013.
THOMAS WALLY, Violin
Born in Vienna, Austria, Thomas Wally studied composition with Erich Urbanner and Chaya Czernowin and violin with Josef Hell at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, graduating in 2008 with distinction (violin and composition).
In 2005/2006 he spent an exchange year at the Sibelius-Akatemia Helsinkias a student of Paavo Heininen, where his violin teachers were Erkki Kantola and Päivyt Meller. He attended violin masterclasses with Hanna Weinmeister and Volkhard Steude (Concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic).
As a violinist, Thomas dedicates himself primarily to the performance of contemporary music. He has played with Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Wiener Collage and PHACE | CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. Since 2002, Thomas is a frequent substitute at the Vienna Philharmonic and has had several contracts at the Vienna State Opera.
As a composer he has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships. His music has been performed in Europe, New York, Buenos Aires, Teheran and Hongkong and broadcasted by Radio Ö1, Radio Stephansdom and Radio Orange (Austria), RBB Kulturradio (Germany) and RAI Bozen (Italy). In 2014 Trio Frühstück recorded his piano trio „Caprice (VI) mosaïque“ for Gramola.
Since 2012 he teaches the course “Historical Compositional Techniques“ at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.
Mr. Wally is co-founder of ensemble LUX.
NORA ROMANOFF, Viola
Since a very young age, violist Nora Romanoff has been giving concerts worldwide both as a soloist as well as a chamber musician in prestigious venues such as the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Teatro Colón de Buenos Aires, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Vienna Musikverein, the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, Les Classiques de Villars, Sommets Musicaux, the Andrey Sacharov Festival and Valdres Sommersinfoni. The Fædrelandsvennen (Norway) described Nora as having“ […] a beautiful dark sound combined with determination, high technique and charm.”
As a soloist she has performed with the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, the Zagreb Chamber Orchestra, the Orchesta Filarmonica di Bacau, the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Irkutsk and the Argentinian Camerata Bariloche. As a chamber musician she played aside stellar musicians such as Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Gabriela Montero, Lylia Zilberstein, Renaud Capuçon, Gavriel Lipkind.
Since 2002 Nora has devoted herself to the viola and quickly began her path as a soloist and passionate chamber musician. Her mentors and teachers include Yuri Bashmet, Hatto Bayerle, Michael Kugel, Thomas Kakuska and Igor Sulyga. In 2014 she earned her Master of Music from the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Her current repertoire comprises more than 100 compositions, ranging from early to contemporary music.
A devoted teacher, Nora has been giving master classes regularly in Norway, Israel and Slovenia. Since 2014 she teaches at the AMADEUS school in Vienna.
EMI Classics released 11 discs with her participation, recorded live from the Progetto Martha Argerich, several of which received Grammy Nominations. She furthermore recorded for Gramola and Naxos.
Nora plays on a 1790 Pietro Pallotta Viola, that has most generously been donated to her by the late Lady Margaret Kagan.
Nora became a member of ensemble LUX in 2013.
MARA ACHLEITNER, Violoncello
Cellist Mara Kronick Achleitner was born in Palo Alto, California, and has lived in Austria since 2003. She received her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance in New York City at Mannes College of Music, studying with Irene Sharp and Paul Tobias, and her Master of Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston with Desmond Hoebig, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. While still a graduate student she was a frequent substitute in the Houston Symphony Orchestra and held a position at the Austin Symphony Orchestra. She has participated as a fellow in the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Mara played for three seasons with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently with the Vienna Volksoper, the stage orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Wien and the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria. She also performs with Ensemble Reconsil, Ensemble Kontrapunkte and PHACE. In 2008 she was appointed principal cellist of the Vienna Opera Ball Orchestra and has toured extensively with them in Japan and throughout Europe.
Mara is founder and member of the clarinet quintet Ensemble 5. She is also a frequent guest cellist in the Koehne Quartet.
In 2014 Mara performed in all three of the KCC Konzett Concept Concerts at the Galerie Konzett in Wien, an interdisciplinary project series combining art and music.
The Music Information Center Austria said of Mara’s performance of Julia Purgina's "Lunarium for Solo Violoncello": "Her performance was outstanding – the composition, characterised by huge leaps and technical challenges, was executed effortlessly."
She has been a member of ensemble LUX since 2007.
Based in Vienna, Austria, ensemble LUX is a string quartet dedicated primarily to the performance and promotion of contemporary chamber music. The quartet’s repertoire spans the modern classics, the compositional milestones of the second half of the 20th century and the newest of compositions.
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