The Quartet tour Australia in June for Musica Viva. Limelight caught up with cellist Richard Belcher.

Ensō String Quartet cellist Richard Belcher, a New Zealander, has been performing with the American ensemble since it was founded in 1999. The group began playing together as students at Yale University. “I really wanted to get put into a string quartet,” says Belcher, “I’d been at the University of Canterbury over in Christchurch prior to Yale. There, any good violist was already snapped up, so I did a lot of piano trio work.” Fortunately, at Yale, there was three quarters of a quartet looking for a cellist, so Belcher completed the group and they’ve been playing together ever since.

The Ensō String Quartet, photo © Juergen Frank

“We loved playing together and so at the end of that first year we decided to stick around and play together again. After we graduated we decided to really make a go of it. It grew out of the four of us loving what we were doing. We kept doing more than we needed to because we just loved it and it was very thrilling and challenging, as it continues...

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