Born in Warsaw in 1971, Krzysztof Chorzelski joined the Belcea Quartet in 1996. He is a viola and chamber music professor at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is also pursuing a conducting career.

Krzysztof Chorzelski © Marco Borggreve
Krzysztof Chorzelski
© Marco Borggreve

What is your idea of chamber music heaven?

My musical heaven would be eavesdropping on Haydn and Mozart playing through the latter’s string quintets. Apparently they played the two viola parts together on one occasion!

Of what kinds of errors are you the most tolerant?

Occasional technical lapses resulting from letting go of control in order to express the music.

What makes an ideal partner in quartet?

Someone who demands the most from themselves. There is no limit to how much someone like that can demand from their colleagues.

What's your most notable characteristic when you're playing?

I like taking risks.

What's your greatest defect?

I like taking risks.

Belcea Quartet © Marco Borggreve
Belcea Quartet
© Marco Borggreve

What's your favourite occupation (when you're not playing viola, of course)?

Working with talented young quartets. And away from music: reading books. And even further away from music: going for a morning run in the countryside.

If you could be any person in the history of music, who would you wish to have been?

Maybe Arthur Rubinstein? He lived the most wonderful, rich and seemingly happy life. My favourite composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert had rather miserable lives – I am not sure I would like to share any of their fates… But I would love to meet them!

What is your favourite quartet (or individual quartet movement)?

Beethoven Op. 131.

What has been your most beautiful concert?

It has to be SIX concerts: the complete Beethoven Quartet cycle we played at the Konzerthaus in Vienna in May 2012. Ten days of climbing the musical Everest only yards away from where this music was written – a real pinnacle of what a string quartet player could dream of.

What has been your greatest musical disappointment?

Receiving the score of a barely finished new quartet commissioned by us from a venerable composer, only days before the scheduled premiere, and discovering that this long-awaited masterpiece is… four minutes long.

If you were to be reincarnated as a musical instrument (not a viola), which would you choose?

If I ever were reincarnated, becoming a musical instrument wouldn’t interest me at all. I think I would like to become one of those amazing birds, whose song we spend our lifetime trying to imitate.

What's your violist's motto?

Someone once told me after a concert: “It is touching to see that despite having such an insignicant role in the quartet you seem to be enjoying yourself very much”. Since then my violist’s motto is never to stop enjoying myself.