Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Quatuor Ébène
String Quartet
BBT Award 2007

Quatuor Ébène - Biography

Quatuor Ébène received support from BBT between 2007 and 2012.  This page was last updated in May 2013. For an up to date biography visit

Pierre Colombet violin
Gabriel Le Magadure violin
Marie Chilemme viola
Raphaël Merlin violoncello

“A string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band,” praised The New York Times’ Alan Kozinn following a March 2009 performance featuring the Quatuor Ébène. There is no doubt that these four French musicians have class and are perhaps the most creative ensemble on the international chamber music scene today. No other quartet moves with such ease and enthusiasm between different styles. Nevertheless, the quartet’s traditional repertoire does not suffer in any way from its love of Jazz. On the contrary, the Ébènes’ tendency to delve into the “other side” of music inspires their work in untangling and giving new life to classical works.

From “promising young ensemble”, the Quatuor Ébène has grown to become one of today’s foremost quartets on the international scene and is regularly heard throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. 2009 marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Virgin Classics label. The quartet’s Debussy, Ravel, Fauré recording was awarded several prizes, including “Recording of the Year” from Gramophone magazine. There followed a Brahms CD with the pianist Akiko Yamamoto, recorded with the support of Borletti-Buitoni Trust after receiving a BBT Award in 2007. The third CD, the Jazz and World Music album Fiction (released in 2010) was awarded an Echo Award as well and nearly hit the top of the charts! The quartet’s latest CD includes Mozart’s KV 421, KV 465 and KV 138 – for which they also got an Echo Award.

Quatuor Ébène participated in BBT’s 20th-anniversary celebrations at London’s Wigmore Hall in June 2023.

The first years of a string quartet demand heavy sacrifices to each of its members. The BBT has been a great support for us to build up a repertoire, make it live and has allowed us to constantly go beyond our limits. The BBT is very much aware of the difficulty and needs of human and artistic results. This partnership allowed us to record a CD, fund work and rest sessions, and we are now swamped with projects! We would like to thank the BBT from the bottom of our hearts.

Quatuor Ébène

Photographs by Simon Weir