Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Elias String Quartet
String Quartet
BBT Award 2010

Elias String Quartet - Biography

The Elias String Quartet received support from BBT between 2010 and 2017.  For up-to-date information, go to

Sara Bitlloch violin
Donald Grant violin
Simone van der Giessen viola
Marie Bitlloch cello

The Elias String Quartet takes its name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah (Elias in German) form, quickly establishing a reputation as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of its generation. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Peter Cropper, Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt. Between 2005 and 2009 they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. They are now ensemble in residence at the RNCM.

Participating in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists’ scheme, the Elias also received a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, using the prize to facilitate its Beethoven Project, including an extensive website.. They have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious chamber venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Washington Library of Congress, the Vienna Musikverein, the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and London’s Wigmore Hall. The Quartet regularly tours the US and throughout Europe, including a concert in Perugia for BBT’s 15th anniversary.

The Beethoven Project culminated with a cycle at Wigmore Hall, all six concerts recorded live for the Wigmore live label.  The final volume was released in 2018, and the following season the Elias concentrate on Schumann at Wigmore and elsewhere.

Alongside the live Beethoven CDs, the Elias recordings include Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets with Jonathan Biss, a Britten Quartets disc for Sonimage, a Mendelssohn disc for ASV Gold and Schumann string quartets for Outhere. The first of two mixed programme recordings for Wigmore Live won a BBC Music Magazine Newcomers award.

Last updated: November  2018

CONFIDENCE Being with the BBT gives us the opportunity and support to realise our most ambitious dreams. With their fantastic team to nurture and guide us we now have the confidence to take these projects further. The financial support of the award allows us only to worry about the music… surely every musician’s fantasy.