8 February 2024

The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust

By Lark Music

The Adelphi Quartet became the first YCAT Hans Keller Artists in 2020, with The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust underpinning YCAT’s support for three years, as part of the Trust’s Hans Keller String Quartet Project.

Hans Keller was an Austrian-born British musician, writer, and BBC broadcaster who was a major part of the British musical scene from the 1940s until his death in 1985. He had a particular love for the string quartet, which he considered the most purely musical form of composition.

Hans Keller coached many leading British ensembles and inspired composers to write in this form, including Benjamin Britten, who dedicated his Third String Quartet to the man who he said “knows more about the string quartet, and understands it better, than anybody alive.”

In memory of Hans Keller, the Trust is also supporting the creation of new works and has collaborated with YCAT to commission Bushra El-Turk’s Saffron Dusk for the Adelphi Quartet.

The Adelphi Quartet recorded Saffron Dusk at the Bibliotheksaal in Polling, Bavaria, and it premiered at Wigmore Hall in May 2021. The composition was inspired by an explosion in Beirut in 2020 and Bushra, London-born to Lebanese parents, said: “I feel blessed to have had a really wonderful quartet who understood the piece and played it with such energy, feeling, depth, and dedication.”

The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust trustee Andrea Rauter commented: “This was an important commission and in 2024, when YCAT celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are also introducing a Composer Fellowship. Composers need to be nurtured as well as performers. Being a composer can be a lonely job.”

Hans Keller was involved with YCAT from its beginning nearly 40 years ago, as one of the first YCAT judges. He spent three full days hearing candidates during the inaugural competition in 1984 and in the following year, despite being ill, he returned to judge the finalists only six weeks before he died.

Andrea adds: “Nowadays, after the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, a career as a concert artist has become harder than ever, so The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust was keen to help YCAT’s artists survive 2020, and to consolidate its support in an ongoing partnership with YCAT in 2021.

“YCAT is so good at teaching young musicians to become independent. They’re taught how to fly but also, if they need help, even years on, YCAT is there and this is so valuable – it’s the greatest legacy and the greatest joy to be able to make music and to enjoy it.”

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