Have string quartets run out of names?

Te winners of the 12,000-Euro first prize in Heidelberg are the Spanish Cuarteto Cosmos.

Get it? They want to rule the universe.

Second place? Simply Quartet.



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  • I knew a young quartet still studying in a conservatorium thinking about “duodenum” as a name. Off course they had no idea about the meaning.

    Perhaps some lack of general culture of our young musicians? Or just changes of time and generation. I don’t know.

  • Perhaps they could follow the example of the excellent Trio Isimsiz which translates from Turkish as “The trio without a name”. There must be plenty of variants of this in other languages

  • My own quartet, four highly skilled, but non-professional players, who do public performing has had this “What do we name the baby?” dilemma. All of us have (or in my case had, I’m retired) other careers. Two of us had extensive college training in music, our violin 1 has a music degree from Indiana U in violin, but has a Ph.D in a scientific field, as do the other two players. I had a highly technical government career, but had international level teachers.

    Our violin 1 didn’t want the quartet named for her. We come from different communities in our metro region, so we couldn’t favor one over another with a geographic name. The violin 1’s quartet in another city was named for the street they rehearsed on, but this quartet rehearses at my house and I live on “Gelding Lane” … Awkward.

    So in the interim, we have called ourselves the Emanon Quartet (“No Name” backwards) we seen other variations on that such as Sine Nomine, Sans Appelle, etc.

  • When did quartets start getting conceptual names? Something other than the name of the most prominent member or the academic institution they heralded from?

  • I played in a string sextet many moons ago in the Bay Area (SF). It was comprised of 3 men and three women. While looking for a name, the (cross-dressing male) violinist suggested: Six Tit Sextet. Among ourselves we kept that name and I don’t even remember if we ever found a “public” name!

  • In Milwaukee there is the famed “Fine Arts Quartet’ (which, as I type this, is giving their final concert as the quartet-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-MIlwaukee.)
    But that ensemble is not the focus of my posting.

    There is also an amatuer quartet in town whose first violinist is named “Art” (short for Arthur.”) The name of this distinguished ensemble?

    Art’s Fine Quartet.

  • My quartet recently went through this. We decided to name ourselves after the bar where we like to get burgers and beers after performances. Of course, we translated the name of the bar into Italian, to make it sound elegant.

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