Quatuor Ébène

Jazz gives us a freedom which we try to bring to classical, and classical requires a rigour which we try to instil in our jazz.

With a repertoire in which jazz sits alongside classical music, the Ébène Quartet has earned its reputation by playing around the globe and participating in many unexpected and prestigious collaborations. Their 20th anniversary and the 250-year anniversary of the death of Beethoven mark a new period in the group's life.

Updated on 25/11/2019

2 min

Formed in 1999, the Ébène Quartet group brought together four students from the Boulogne-Billancourt Regional Conservatory (BB CNR), where they studied alongside Gábor Takács-Nagy, Eberhard Feltz, György Kurtág, and the Ysaÿe Quartet. The group gained renown very quickly, due to the diversity of their repertoire which featured both jazz and classical music.

Now made up of Pierre Colombet (first violin), Gabriel Le Magadure (second violin), Marie Chilemme (viola) and Raphaël Merlin (cello), the quartet plays on 17th and 18th century instruments on loan from the Forberg-Schneider Foundation, which has supported them since 2005.

Their many recordings cover the works of great classical composers (Haydn, Bartók, Brahms, Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Mozart, etc.) as well as arrangements of jazz standards and film music.

Praised for “the inimitable feeling that they have something to say, and an urgent need to say it” by the British magazine Gramophone, the members of the Ébène Quartet have been described as “a string quartet which easily transforms itself into a jazz band” by the New York Times, won over by a 2009 concert where, after playing Haydn and Debussy tracks, the band performed improvised versions of film music.


Beyond the boundaries of genre, the group has also initiated collaborations with artists as diverse as Fanny Ardant, Gautier Capuçon, Luz Casal, Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky, Stacey Kent, and Michel Portal.

Thanks to their success among critics and audiences alike and many distinctions awarded by the most prestigious names in international classical music, the Ébène Quartet has notably performed at the Philharmonie de Paris in France, the Elbphilharmonie in Germany, Carnegie Hall in New York, USA, the Tonhalle-Orchester in Zurich, Switzerland and even the famous Sala São Paulo in Brazil.

The group has also been invited to perform at major festivals such as the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and the Savannah Music Festival in the United States.

  • 2004


    Quatuor Ébène wins 1st prize at the ARD International Music Competition (German Public Broadcaster Group) in Munich, Germany.

  • 2005


    The group receives the Belmont Award from the Forberg-Schneider Foundation in 2005, marking the beginning of their collaboration.

  • 2007


    Quatuor Ébène signs an exclusive contract with the Virgin Classics label.

  • 2010


    The quartet receives the Best Chamber Music Group award at the Victoires de la Musique Classique.

  • 2019


    Quatuor Ébène is on a world tour to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s death.

The Institut français and the project

In 2019 and 2020, Quatuor Ébène is on a world tour to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The tour is supported by the Institut français as part of the IF Tournée programme. Find out more about IF Tournée

L'institut français, LAB