The Leipziger Hornquartett (Leipzig Horn Quartet) has existed since 1951, making it the world’s longest-standing active horn quartet. The different musicians were – and still are to this day – horn players in the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra (today the MDR Symphony Orchestra). From the outset, the members of the ensemble made it their aim to find, perform and record the repertoire for this unusual combination. In 1983, the City of Leipzig awarded the Leipzig Horn Quartet its prestigious art prize. One particular work is like a thread running through the history of the quartet: the Concert Piece for four horns and large orchestra op. 86 by Robert Schumann. A decisive factor in the establishment of the Leipzig Horn Quartet, it has been performed over thirty times by the group in its current form, with Max Hilpert, Tino Bölk, Johannes Winkler and Michael Gühne. Thus a number of significant works have been dedicated to the ensemble – especially in recent times, with the members of the quartet premiering compositions by Jean-Luc Darbellay, Steffen Schleiermacher, Robert Delanoff, Max Beckschäfer, Michel Roth and Jürgen Dietze. August 2014 saw the premiere of Peter Ruzicka’s SPIRAL Concerto for Horn Quartet and Orchestra in Weimar, played by the MDR Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer.
In the course of the group’s over sixty-year existence, the musicians have given countless concerts in Germany and made numerous radio and commercial recordings. They have recorded CDs with the great horn quartets of the twentieth century and works from Romanticism (Capriccio, Querstand and Claves). The Leipzig Horn Quartet has guested all over Europe, Asia and South America. Conductors such as Fabio Luisi, Mario Venzago, Alun Francis, Toshiyuki Kamioka, Hans Urbanek, John Roderick MacDonald and Peter Ruzicka have accompanied the Leipzig Horn Quartet with, among others, the MDR Symphony Orchestra, the Meinigen Hofkapelle, the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest German Philharmonic, Constance. Critics and connoisseurs of the genre have attested the members of the ensemble a high grade of homogeneity and sonic refinement, together with technical brilliance and musical vitality.