Beethoven’s string quartets are among the greatest works of the genre and it is through the quartets that the composer expressed his most intimate thoughts. Beethoven’s chamber works are central to his overall output. The late quartets introduce a “completely new spirituality into chamber music.” (Melvin Berger)
With performances in practically every major city in North and South America, Europe, the Far East and Australia, the Vermeer Quartet has achieved an international stature as one of the world's finest ensembles. Formed in 1969 at the Marlboro Music Festival, they have been resident artists at Northern Illinois University (USA) since 1970, and are Fellows at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, where they have given annual master classes since 1978. They make their permanent home in Chicago where they've been the resident quartet for Performing Arts Chicago since 1984. Their recordings include the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Bartók, plus various other works by Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn, Schnittke, Verdi, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák.
“The Vermeer Quartet lived up to its name… the music played by these string players was given a texture that was as luminous and evocative as their namesake's paintings. The viscerally sensuous effect of the playing came from clarity of vision and understanding, from poise and proportion. And in Beethoven's Quartet in B flat (Op.18, No.6) the players painted an uncanny aural image of the score, gracefully illuminating its structure." (The New York Times)
"The Vermeer Quartet, not content with unusually precise and accomplished ensemble playing or a standard of musicianship in which imagination assumes as much importance as integrity, managed to convey a rare insight into these works that makes the prospect of hearing a complete (Beethoven) cycle at their hands a most appealing one. The blend is rich but never bland because the individual timbre of each voice is maintained at the expense of unity, and the resulting sound is vibrant, colourful and infinitely flexible." (The Strad)