The vibrant ELIAS STRING QUARTET are 14 years young, well established, and well respected on the international scene. Former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and recipients of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2010, they are at that major crossroads in any quartet’s life when they embark upon a complete cycle of the Beethoven Quartets. The Borletti-Buitoni Trust have been instrumental in developing this very particular project and unusually the quartet have decided to chronicle their preparation and progress through an exclusive and revealing website (link below). Further insights are offered with this exclusive audio podcast in which EDWARD SECKERSON talks to MARIE BITLLOCH (cello) and DONALD GRANT (2nd violin) – one half of the quartet led by Marie’s sister SARAH BITLLOCH and completed by violist MARTIN SAVING – about this testing odyssey. The conversation, interspersed with telling clips from two of the quartets, takes an honest and frank look, not just at the challenges thrown up by Beethoven’s extraordinary “16” but at the quartet’s working methods and democratic “first among equals” philosophy. It doesn’t take an Old Testament prophet – their namesake – to predict that when the complete cycle is launched in earnest at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in November the Elias String Quartet will be testing those who think they know the quartets well to think again.