Home / Latest News / PROFILE 3/4 – JEREMY ISAAC


1. How did you become a member of the Tippett Quartet?

I was invited by John to come and do a couple of rehearsals whilst I was in my 2nd year at the RCM. John had recently joined and they were looking for a 2nd violin. This led to a couple of concerts and it just seemed to click! It was a real privilege to have joined an internationally acclaimed quartet.

2. What do you enjoy most about being in a quartet?

Being in a quartet is the best of both worlds – a solo line combined with being in a team. It means you can have an individual voice whilst striving to make a unified approach and sound as a quartet. I really enjoy being part of a group that is able to adapt and change to suit the stylistic or historical context of the repertoire. I think this is why we have always been able to create such interesting and innovative programmes which I find very satisfying.

3. What is your favourite piece you are performing this season as a quartet?

I love playing the Janacek “Intimate Letters.” We did this piece many times in my first year in the quartet, including live on Radio 3. We also took it on tour – a performance which sticks in my mind was playing for a late night concert at the Kotor Arts Festival, Montenegro, with a full blown carnival going on outside! This season we have put together excerpts from Janacek’s letters which are being read out between movements which makes the whole piece come alive. The Schubert “Death and the Maiden” is also high up my list of favourite pieces we are playing – the music is fantastic and the last movement page layout that John has conjured up is a work of art!

4. And how do you feel about your new Close to You project?

It is a fantastic project that is extremely exciting for us as it is a continuation of our ‘Hollywood Adventure’ of Herrmann, Rozsa and Korngold. Who would have thought it was possible to sit in amongst some of the finest jazz musicians and play these wonderful arrangements just as Frank Sinatra and the Hollywood Quartet did back in 1956 when they made the album? We let the Jazz trio loose during the concert and we also do a solo quartet piece which I think really compliments the Close to You ensemble numbers.

5. You have just released your 18th CD – Lutoslawski and Panufnik Quartets for Naxos. What do you personally like about the disc?

Discovering the three quartets of Panufnik was great – each has a very distinct style and they are very atmospheric. I really admire how Lutoslawski has managed to organise the chaos in such a way that it all fits together yet gives us licence to improvise. It was also very interesting to find out about the composer’s background and how the invasion of the Nazis changed their relationship.

6. Finally, do you have any amusing anecdotes which you can share from your 10 years in the group?

One story was when we were performing at Ashley Wass’ Festival in Lincoln. We were playing a Mendelssohn quartet and the third movement is segue into the fourth. I lead the last movement with a fortissimo tremolo chord which is the basis for a recitative from John. On this particular occasion we thought we should really signpost the arrival of the last movement – I rose out of my seat to launch into the dramatic tremolo with the viola and cello only to be greeted half way down by two massive eyes and a rapid shaking of the head – Boz had turned two pages and was desperately trying to get them unstuck. I applied every muscle I had to abort the impending crunch and just managed to get the bow not to make contact. There was a gasp from the audience, a cheeky grin from Boz as the pages fell into place and we were back in business!



John Mills – violin
Jeremy Isaac – violin
Lydia Lowndes-Northcott – Viola
Bozidar Vukotic – Cello


johnMillsThumbs John Mills READ
johnMillsThumbs Jeremy Isaac READ
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johnMillsThumbs Bozidar Vukotic – violin READ