The Galway Ensemble in Residence: Con Tempo Quartet

This “Irish” ensemble has an unusual background. The ConTempo String Quartet is four Romanian musicians who formed a quartet in 1995 when they were students at the Music University in Bucharest. In 1999 the quartet went to England and in 2002 to Ireland, where they became the first Ensemble-in-residence in the city of Galway. They’ve been there since.

Originally focusing solely on contemporary music (hence the name) the quartet today has a broad repertoire, presenting the citizens of Galway to music from the classical period all the way up to the youngest Irish composers. Being a residence ensemble they perform for all kinds of audiences, including children, but they’ve also toured the world, playing in numerous concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Berliner Philarmoniker, Theatre Chatelet in Paris, Opera House in Tel Aviv and many others.

Though playing a broad classical repertoire, the quartet is no alien to contemporary concert experiments including cross over repertoire, staging effects and collaboration with other art forms. The Con Tempo Quartet has done concerts where they’ve in their own words “risked everything”, and in the NewAud project they wanted to do it again.

The concerts by ConTempo Quarted resulted in the following resources:

A fusion of sound and visuals

The ConTempo String Quartet made a unique visual and musical event combining live and video recorded performance. The four members of the ensemble were placed in separate rooms, each playing the same piece accompanied by the three other ensemble members recorded on video. This gave the audience the chance to see one piece from a variety of angles. This document describes the process and result of the project.

Contemporary music taken to court

The Galway Ensemble in Residence: ConTempo Quartet and Crash Ensemble joined forces in ditching the concert hall and making the concert a more sociable experience. The local courthouse was chosen as the venue, and on the night of the concert a survey was handed out to learn more about the audience. The main goals of the survey were to build a localized profile of contemporary music audiences and gauge the effectiveness of the concert setting to the audience experience. This concert evaluation report describes the concert and the context of the New Aud project, and shares the findings and analysis from the audience research.


The Galway Ensemble in Residence: Con Tempo Quartet

Founding Year: 
Contact Person: 
Delia Breathnach & Siobhán Calpin
55 Corrib Village, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Repertoire profile: 
Complete classical repertoire

This ensemble is participating in the following Working Communities: