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New Violinists Join Navarra String Quartet

Benjamin Marquise Gilmore and Laia Valentin Braun will join the internationally renowned quartet in time for its 20th anniversary


Gilmore and Braun will join the renowned Navarra String Quartet as first and second violinists, respectively.

The two new violinists will replace Magnus Johnston and Marije Ploemacher and join current violist Sascha Bota and cellist Brian O'Kane as permanent new members.

Together, they will celebrate the quartet's 20th anniversary in 2022 with a full touring schedule, new commissions, and the release of the complete Mozart quartets dedicated to Haydn.

“It is with great joy and excitement we are announcing the appointment of Benjamin and Laia," Bota wrote. "They are both complete musicians possessing both great taste and highest instrumental skills and moreover, share the same adventurous spirit for diving deeper into both classic masterpieces as well as the new music, searching for meaning and beauty together.”

Gilmore is currently joint concertmaster of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and has appeared as soloist and director with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Camerata Salzburg. Braun has appeared as a soloist in Wigmore Hall and with Camerata Zurich and Kammerorchester Basel.

“I am incredibly honoured to be joining the Navarra String Quartet for the next chapter of its journey," Gilmore wrote. "It is an exciting and awe-inspiring challenge to contemplate delving into the treasure trove that is the string quartet repertoire, and above all a tremendous privilege.”

Braun seconded Gilmore's statement, adding that "I can't wait to get started making music and embarking on new adventures with these fantastic musicians."

Formed in 2002, the Navarra String Quartet has built an international reputation with performances at the world's largest venues — Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, and others — and prizes at the Banff, Melbourne, and Florence International String Quartet Competitions. The quartet also directs the artistic vision of the Weesp Chamber Music Festival in the Netherlands.

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