The Cramer Quartet

With period instruments and an invigorating historically informed approach, the Cramer Quartet brings uncommon warmth, transparency, and texture to Classical and early Romantic repertoire as well as commissioned works that explore and expand the sound world of gut strings. The quartet’s stylish, nuanced interpretations and visionary approach to programming stimulate dialogue around old and new works, inviting audiences to listen with fresh ears. Based in New York City, members of the Cramer Quartet are persons of color, women, non-binary/transmasc and LGBTQ+ individuals committed to advancing cultural equity in classical music.

Highlights of the 2021-22 season include performances of The Seven Last Words Project— an immersive multimedia journey through Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ as reflected upon by seven diverse contemporary composers— at Five Boroughs Music Festival; as well as appearances at Music Mountain Summer Chamber Music Festival, GEMS Midtown Concerts, and a residency at Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil. Recent appearances include Boston’s Society for Historically Informed Performance and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s “Art in Tune” event— a multidisciplinary site-specific collaboration in which the CQ paired artwork from the museum’s galleries with a series of rarely heard works performed on a set of 18th-Century musical instruments from the MFA’s collection.

This coming spring the Cramer Quartet will launch Haydn: Dialogues, an ambitious multi-year cycle combining Haydn’s 68 string quartets with sixteen new commissions by composers of marginalized identities. Each of Haydn’s 16 opuses becomes an invitation for a composer to create a response for historical instruments in their own unique musical voice. The inaugural concert will feature the world premiere of a new work by American composer Alexandra du Bois to be performed alongside Haydn’s Op. 20 quartets. With this project the quartet marries its passion for historical performance with a commitment to rebalancing the string quartet canon by centering the voices of women, non-(cis)males, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ folx and other communities historically underrepresented in classical music.

The Cramer Quartet is the recipient of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement grant as well as Chamber Music America’s Ensemble Forward professional development grant. The ensemble has been awarded multiple residencies at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and takes its name from Wilhelm Cramer, a brilliant violinist who enjoyed a multifaceted career as London’s first major string quartet leader. Cramer is credited with popularizing a late 18th century violin bow which became the inspiration for the style of historical bows used by the Cramer Quartet.