Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Navarra Quartet
String Quartet
BBT Fellowship 2007

Navarra Quartet - Biography

Navarra Quartet was supported by BBT between 2007 and 2011, when this page was last updated.  For an up to date biography go to

Magnus Johnston violin
Marije Johnston violin
Simone van der Giessen viola
Brian O’Kane cello

In 2008 the Navarra Quartet won the Outstanding Young Artist Award at the MIDEM Classique Awards in Cannes and in 2007 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, culminating in a highly acclaimed disc of Haydn’s Seven Last Words. They won 2nd Prize in the 2007 Melbourne and 1st Prize in the 2005 Florence International Competitions. At the opening of the 2009/10 season the quartet returned to Australia to give concerts under the auspices of Musica Viva. They went on to appear at Wigmore Hall, Bath Festival and Aldeburgh, and gave recitals in France (as Laureates of the Aix-en-Provence Festival), Switzerland, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. In 2010 the Navarra Quartet released their first CD for Challenge Records of Peteris Vasks’ Quartets to critical acclaim and were nominated for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. They took part in the BBC Proms Chamber music series at Cadogan Hall with pianist Francesco Piemontesi and made their debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus. Future engagements include return visits to Wigmore Hall, Bath Festival (broadcast by Radio 3) and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The quartet was formed in 2002 at the Royal Northern College of Music under the guidance of the late Dr Christopher Rowland and Alasdair Tait and latterly as postgraduate students of the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne. Over the last two years the Quartet has increasingly developed their international profile, appearing at major festivals and venues throughout Europe including the Philharmonie in Luxembourg, the Schwetzinger, Rheingau and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festivals and the Kattegat and Sandviken Festivals in Sweden.

Last updated: January 2011

The BB trust fellowship has enabled us to pursue our artistic goals with freedom and integrity by providing us with vital support both personally and financially. At an imperative time in our careers we have benefitted from the huge amount of knowledge and experience of those at the BB trust and the great artists attached to it. This unique support is truly a gift which continues to nourish our development.

Navarra Quartet

Photographs by Sussie Ahlburg, John Ferro Sims