Irvine Arditti 


Violinist
For several decades, Irvine Arditti has been considered to be one of the most important performers in the new music world and a driving force. In addition to his legendary career as first violinist of the Arditti Quartet, he has also given life to a vast number of solo works.


︎ Octavio Nava

Irvine Arditti has given the world premières of a plethora of large scale works especially written for him. These include Xenakis’ Dox Orkh and Hosokawa’s Landscape III, both for violin and orchestra, as well as Ferneyhough’s Terrain, Francesconi’s Riti Neurali and Body Electric, Dillon’s Vernal Showers and Harvey’s Scena, Paredes’ Señales, Pauset’s Vita Nova, Reynolds’ Aspirationand Sciarrino’s Le Stagioni Artificiali, all for violin and ensemble.
Born in London in 1953, Irvine Arditti began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 16. He joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976 and after two years, at the age of 25, became its Co-Concertmaster. He left the orchestra in 1980 in order to devote more time to the Arditti Quartet which he had formed while still a student.

He has appeared with many distinguished orchestras and ensembles including the Asko Ensemble, Avanti, Bayerische Rundfunk, BBC Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, Ensemble Contrechamps, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Orchestre National de Paris, Het Residentie den Hague, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Nieuw Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Modern, Oslo Sinfonietta, Philharmonia Orchestra, Schoenberg Ensemble and Ensemble Signal. His performances of many concertos have won acclaim from their composers, in particular Ligeti and Dutilleux.


“In both works, the spectacle of one of the great animating presences in contemporary music communing with his instrument in all its vitality, fragility and flexibility proved unforgettable.”
- The Guardian

The complete Mode recordings of Berio’s Sequenzas, on which Irvine recorded the violin sequenza won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis in 2007 and was awarded best contemporary music release by the Italian music magazine Amadeus in 2008. The violin concertos by Berio, Xenakis and Mira, recorded in Moscow with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, are featured on a disc by Swedish label BIS. Recently released on the Mode label was Paredes’ Señales with Ensemble Signal conducted by Brad Lubman.

As well as having recorded over 200 CDs with the Arditti Quartet, Irvine Arditti has built an impressive catalogue of solo recordings. His CD of solo violin works by composers such as Carter, Estrada, Ferneyhough and Donatoni, as well as his recording of Nono’s La Lontananza, both on the label Montaigne Auvidis, have been awarded numerous prizes. His recording of Cage’s Freeman Etudes for solo violin, as part of his complete Cage violin music series for American label Mode, has made musical history.

Irvine Arditti’s arrangement for Quartet of Cage’s 44 Harmonies from Apartment House can be found on Mode Records and is published by Edition Peters in New York.


In July 2013, “The Techniques of Violin Playing”, a book by Arditti and the composer Robert Platz, was released by Barenreiter Edition.


︎ Astrid Karger

In November 2017, Irvine Arditti was presented in Paris with Charles Cros Grand Prix in honorem, a lifetime achievement award recognizing the sum total of his career and his exceptional role in the service of music. The prize was also for his latest solo recital CD release, “Caprices”, with music by Boulez, Carter, Nunes and Sciarrino on the Aeon label. A double CD of the music of Roger Reynolds was recently released on the Kairos label.

“As leader of the string quartet he founded in 1974, and which bears his name, Irvine Arditti has not merely commissioned and premiered countless new works, but given them performances to rival the most stellar of any music, anywhere. A superlative musician, a solo recital from him is a rare gift. The title Caprices belies the serious rapport which Arditti nurtured over decades with Carter, Nunes, Boulez and Sciarrino; all played with white-hot virtuosity and astonishing attention to detail. Arditti is equally at home with the fluttering, unearthly harmonics of Sciarrino’s Sei Capricci as he is with the muscular polyphony of Carter’s 4 Lauds and the blazing comet that is Boulez Anthems I. But it’s Nunes’s Einspielung I which has the subtlest architecture, and an intensity that holds the ear.”

CD “Caprices”
Steph Power, The Times Records of the Year 2017
- BBC Music Magazine