Welcome to The Beethoven Project

by Donald Grant

Hello and a very warm welcome to our Beethoven Project website!

We are incredibly excited to have launched this website which will enable you to follow and be part of our journey through the complete Beethoven String Quartets. We look forward to regularly updating and building the content to share with you in the coming years.

We are the Elias String Quartet and we first met as wide-eyed first year students in 1998. We have been in the current combination of players since January 2004 and our home is London.  It has long been our dream to perform the complete Beethoven String Quartets as a cycle and we feel that it is finally the right time to begin…

We will present the cycle in various formats in venues across the country over the next 4 years.  We hope this gives us enough time and space to immerse ourselves in the music and present the programmes to as wide an audience as possible. It also enables us to develop this website both as a personal account of our experiences and as a broader educational resource.

You will find our concert dates here on the Beethoven Project website along with

- recordings

- video footage

- a blog of our rehearsals, personal thoughts, findings and news

- photos

- interviews and articles from Quartet Masters and Academics

This is a start. We hope to develop the site as we go along and encourage as much interaction as possible… We’d love to hear from you!

Please join us in our discovery and celebration of these 17 masterpieces.

All best wishes,

Sara, Donald, Martin and Marie x

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17 Responses to “Welcome to The Beethoven Project”

  1. Paul Davies says:

    Beethoven’s music is precious and I enjoyed hearing your performance on the radio. It had punch which is good and also I thought I could hear the cello really well which is not the case in some quartets (a democracy indeed). I’ve just
    ordered your first cd. I can’t wait to hear it and look forward to the rest, I think you are going to do this music justice. Good luck and best wishes Paul

  2. John Mallone says:

    Just back from the last of the cycle in Bristol. Such a wonderful experience that I want to start all over again. Thank you so much for introducing me to the entire oeuvre. I can’t wait for the CDs to come out!

    Wishing you all every future success,


  3. B says:

    Oh glorious Friday of spring 2014
    in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA
    immersed in Beethoven’s music for the soul
    the Elias String Quartet so keen
    like dipping chocolate strawberries from a bowl
    illuminating reverberating emotions call
    vibrato staccato melodic recitatives
    all emanating from dynamic individual
    talents on strings
    enveloping all on this balmy night

    Thank you - grace, peace and love…
    our souls take flight with delight of sound and
    cherished response…

  4. Katie Schaffer says:

    We heard your performance last week in Orono, Maine. What a superb performance! Good luck with this wonderful project. I have never heard such a precise, dynamic, joyful concert like the one last Friday!

  5. Abby Hoke says:

    I attended your performance at Minsky Hall in Orono, Maine last night. I am currently in a music intro class at UMaine, and this was part of my homework to attend a performance and review it. This was my first experience with a string quartet and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a feast for the ears and a wonderful night out. I am not well versed in the technical aspect of the music , but I just know what sounds beautiful to me. Thank you for bringing your Beethoven project to my area. 🙂 Abby

  6. Martin Kemp says:

    I was listening to concert from Bristol on Radio 3. I thought “that’s almost as good as the Elias”. You will know what the announcer said at the end. I have been following your project in Oxford, whenever I can, and caught you in Princeton (albeit in a bizarre building with an unsympathetic acoustic). I love the spirited and adventurous playing, which does justice to creations that stand at the pinnacle of music. Pater said that all art aspired to the condition of music. All music aspires to the condition of Beethoven (though not forgetting Mozart and Monteverdi).
    Ever onwards…
    Martin Kemp

  7. Robin Barker says:

    Thank you for playing so beautifully for us at Music at Oxford last evening. Already received emails saying they had never heard these famous quartets played so well. Trying to re live now with the Alban Berg playing Op. 18 No 1 but not a patch on your performance. Love too your CD of the Dvorak Piano Quintet. Marie’s entrance with the tune is simply glorious!
    Robin Barker, Chair M a O

    • Robin Barker says:

      I should too, have said thank you to Malin Broman. Lovely contribution in the Quintett. What a richness a second viola brings!


  8. Mike Mapleton says:

    Just back from the performance at Keswick. Quite simply the best string playing I have ever heard in my seventy two years. Wonderfully daring sotto voce. I will not soon forget the final bars of the slow movement of the quintet - absolutely riveting. Well done one and all.

  9. Robert Green says:

    Your concert in Norwich yesterday was a delight. It was a marvellous illustration of the fascinating journey from early to late Beethoven. Not only were we given a virtuoso performance but the nuances in the interpretation allowed me to discover unknown new facets of the music. The highlight was 131 which was a performance that investigated the question asked but also was full of the most moving moments. Beethoven certainly covered all aspects of human feeling. I have listened and played(a little) chamber music by Beethoven and others but this was a personally invigorating experience. Thank you and all the best for the project.

  10. Paul Watson says:

    Just back from hearing you in Tonbridge. Thank you so much for the three Beethoven string quartet pieces. Please let me know when I can play them round my studio and across the gardens of my neighbours. Four perfectly nice looking people playing tortured sounds that make one feel human. Wonderful! Paul Watson

  11. John M. Cottrell says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s Turnet Sims concert.
    If prior notice had been given perhaps more might have stayed behind.
    Also may I suggest you introduce to your concerts
    a brief outline as to why the Beethoven Qaurtets are so special - particularly the late ones which
    make some people go glassy eyed and nearly speechless. Myself amongst them, many non music
    ians do not quite “get it”

  12. Jorge Isaac says:

    Looking foward to hear your concert in Puerto Rico. EXITO!

  13. jackie shave says:

    Hallo Donald!. Love the website. Wishing you all a wonderful journey with these great works. We have completed 12 out of our cycle now, the last concert was op18 3 , Op59 2 , and 127. My first 127. Still recovering! I have written a little about it on my blog but wanted to ask you in what form you would like me to write about my experience? Thanks for asking me to contribute. I really would love to share my thoughts and responses to working on these quartets. How lucky we are.
    Much love.

  14. philip carlin says:


    enjoyed concert in Barnsley last week, and have just looked briefly at the beethoven project site, which looks very interesting. My journey with the beethoven quartets goes back nearly 50 years to a random but serious encounter with a disc of op130 in the school library! My comment relates to the extent to which your playing style relects the (to some extent imagined and reconstructed) context in which works were written. Your programme on Wednesday, with (if you like) a classical (Beethoven op74), a romantic (smetana 1) and a modernist (Bartok 3)quartet made me think about this. At a basic level, i felt you were rather “hell for leather”-whatever that means, in all 3 quartets you played. i found that perfect in the Bartok-fantastic contrasts too, but less so in the others. Finally, how does this question of style relate to your project to play all Beethoven’s quartets? Perhaps some answers are already on the site, but i wanted to respond to your request to participate before i forgot! best wishes.

  15. Lynda Weiss says:

    What a marvellous idea. Some years ago I observed the Maggini Quartet rehearsing and performing Op. 59.1 and wrote it up for my M.Mus dissertation. I have since regretted that I did not follow up this fascinating research, so I will follow your project with very great interest.
    Good luck, and I will hope to come to some of the concerts.

  16. Chris Spencer says:

    All best wishes for (as Sean Rafferty has just said on R3) one of the most exciting of quartets, who happen to have become great and valued friends through those happy years of Music in the Round here in sunny Sheffield

    May the Beethoven project bring you and all friends new and old much joy and fulfillment!

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