About the ensemble
“These four players showed some of the best qualities of the venerated Russian cello tradition, namely lustrous tone combined with soulful expression”
A singularly unique ensemble, the Rastrelli Cello Quartet has been thrilling audiences with their renderings of non-traditional programming since 2002. Kira Kraftzoff, Kirill Timofeev, Misha Degtjareff and Sergio Drabkin formed the ensemble with a mission to perform music “between the genres,” and their widely varied programs mix comfortably works by Bach, Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky with that of George Gershwin, Dave Brubeck and Leroy Anderson. The name of the Quartet is taken from the eighteenth-century architect Bartholomew Rastrelli, who designed the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the home city of three of the four Quartet members.
The Rastrelli have performed in many of Europe’s great concert halls, including the Gasteig in Munich, St. Petersburg’s Philharmonic Hall, Bulgaria Hall Sofia, the Liederhalle Stuttgart and Philharmonic Hall in Minsk. In addition to concert tours in Europe, the USA and Russia, the Rastrelli performs at such summer music festivals as the Beethoven Festival Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Darmstadter Festspiele, Oberstdorfer Musiksommer, Hohenlohe Kultursommer, Rheingau Musikfestival, Ohridsko Leto (Macedonia) and the Meadowlark Music Festival.
In addition to its European performances in the musical capitals of Russia, France, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Ireland and Switzerland, the Quartet embarks in the 2011-12 season on a 28-city tour of the the U.S. midwest, and to prestigious American venues in California and New York, as well as in Puerto Rico.
The Rastrelli Quartet currently has five recordings (Rastrelli, Volumes 1-5) on the Amphion, TonArt and Manchester labels, as well as a 2008 release with music by Piazzolla entitled “Cello in Buenos-Aires.”. In 2009, the Rastrelli Quartet’s CD “Cello in Classic” was nominated for a Russian Grammy and was given a second prize award.
“Riveting…Very entertaining…wild cheers…These four musicians could sound like a classical symphony one moment and play ragtime, jazz, klezmer or even a polka the next. They bring a whole new dimension to everything they choose to play.”
– The Barrie Examiner, Ontario, Canada
“Best Performing Arts 2005: My Top Ten list is a mix of theater and music. 3) Rastrelli Cello Quartet, Meadow Music Festival. The cool thing about this concert was its accessibility. The quartet is known for putting unique spins on recognizable tunes, including the James Bond movie theme and Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five.’ “
– Jeff Korbelik, Lincoln Journal Star NE
“What a Concert! One of the best we’ve ever presented in our series. They got ovation after ovation–charming, shy, funny–but the music, always the music came through their pores somehow. Really, you’ve got a winner here.”
– Peggy Krewson, presenter, Nantucket Arts Council
“They are men on a mission. The Rastrelli Cello Quartet, four Russians living in Germany, is out to cross all genres. The Rastrelli runs the gamut from classical to polkas, tangos to rags. And there are even a few original compositions. ‘Its not important what you are playing,’ says Kira Timofejeff of Rastrelli, ‘but when you have an inspiration and a big dream that you can make your cello sound like any other instrument, then you should pursue that dream.'”
– Strings magazine, California