The Primrose Piano Quartet was formed in 2004 by pianist John Thwaites and three of the UK’s most renowned chamber musicians (Lindsay, Allegri, Edinburgh, Maggini Quartets). It is named after the great Scottish violist, William Primrose, who himself played in the Festival Piano Quartet. Alongside their performances of the major repertoire, the Primrose Quartet have researched widely the forgotten legacy of 20th century English composers, and have revived a number of remarkable and unjustly neglected piano quartets. Their award-winning recordings feature works by Dunhill, Hurlstone, Quilter, Bax, Scott, Alwyn, Howells and Frank Bridge. Sir Peter Maxwell-Davies wrote his Piano Quartet for the Primrose in 2008, which was recorded in 2009 for the Meridian label.
Two new CDs were recorded in 2010 for the Meridian label: Richard Strauss Piano Quartet, Violin Sonata and Cello Sonata; Maxwell Davies’ Piano Quartet, the Burns Air Variations and a previously unrecorded Piano Quintet by Dmitri Smirnov. In 2011 the Quartet recorded a CD of Fauré and Brahms piano quartets, performed on a piano chosen by Brahms, and a CD of Schubert chamber works followed in 2014.
For 2017/18 The Primrose were selected for the Making Music Concert Promoters’ Network for a fourth time. Another few busy performing seasons both in the UK and abroad included an extensive tour of Denmark and concerts in Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal and Germany. 2018 saw the première of a new piano quartet written for the Primrose by leading British composer, Anthony Payne at London’s Kings Place with a new CD of Elgar, Payne and Bowen released later that year.
In 2019 the Quartet’s released their latest recording, this time of the complete Brahms piano quartets. This was the culmination of years of research into Historically Informed Performance Practice and involved the musicians and recording team travelling to Vienna to record in the historic “Ehrbahr Saal” (where Brahms himself frequently performed), using three different pianos of the period from the famous Gert Hechner collection. The result has been hailed by critics as “revelatory”.