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  • Narratio Quartet

    © Marten Root

  • Hintlesham Hall Hotel

    © Pengelly Photography

  • Hintlesham Hall Hotel salon

    © Pengelly Photography

  • Narratio Quartet

    © Dorothea Vogel

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Enjoy four intimate and exclusive chamber concerts of works by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann, performed by the excellent Narratio String Quartet featuring Dorothea Vogel, Johannes Leertouwer, Franc Polman and Viola de Hoog

  • Gain unique insights into historical performance and musical storytelling through a series of illustrated lectures

  • Visit Gainsborough’s House and the 16th-century Kentwell Hall, situated in the heart of the glorious Suffolk countryside

“A very enjoyable few days”

“An excellent balance between concerts, talks and visits”

- ACE customers on a previous Hintlesham Hall music tour

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in revolutionary times, as the Classical age began to give way to the Romantic era. His string quartets – divided into the Early, Middle and Late Quartets – spanned his life, and these works offer fascinating insight into the development of the quartet over time, both for Beethoven and others who composed music during and after his life. From the lyrical beauty of Schubert’s Rosamunde Quartet to the masterful complexity of Beethoven’s String Quartet No 13, culminating in the ‘Grand Fugue’, this tour will offer an immersive exploration of the string quartet, presenting the finest chamber music performed by an outstanding ensemble in the glorious setting of Hintlesham Hall. 


Our resident artists, the Narratio Quartet, play on historical interments, using strings and bows of the period. By employing performing techniques that Beethoven and other early romantic composers would have been familiar with, they strive to bring the music to life, revealing the intimate nature of the music in fine detail and creating an even more personal experience for listeners.


Each of our four days will feature a concert, uniquely curated to shed light on the evolution of the string quartet over time and an appreciation of their historical performance. In each of our evening concerts, a key work by Beethoven will be paired with those of his near contemporaries: Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. Performed by the Narratio Quartet on historical instruments, and presented by conductor, pianist and lecturer Paul Jackson, the concerts will offer an opportunity to delve deep into the most enduring of musical mediums through some of the most beloved composers of the late Classical and early Romantic periods.


Woven around the concerts will be a series of talks courtesy of our Tour Director, often accompanied by live musical examples by the artists. Paul will help to introduce the music while concentrating on key themes, including the development of the medium across the 18th and 19th centuries, and the ways in which the featured composers wrote their music for the quartet. 


We will also be privileged to hear from the musicians themselves. The name ‘Narratio’ refers to the art of rhetoric, and illustrates the quartet’s focus on storytelling and interaction between the musicians and also between the quartet and the audience. It is fitting, therefore, that members of the ensemble will deliver two of our lectures, exploring the role of storytelling in Beethoven’s quartets as well as the dynamics and aesthetics of 19th century string quartet playing and how knowledge of the past can inspire us today. 


Two daytime visits will complete our tour: the recently refurbished Gainsborough’s House museum features over sixty works by the artist displayed in his childhood home; while romantic Kentwell Hall – known for its impressive red-brick Tudor house, surrounded by beautiful gardens – will welcome us for a private tour (subject to final confirmation).  

We will stay throughout at the beautiful four-star Hintlesham Hall Hotel, which enjoys classically decorated rooms and comfortable areas in which to relax, all located within 175 acres of Suffolk countryside. Lunches and dinners will be taken in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, which serves seasonal menus in elegant, traditionally decorated surroundings. Our concerts will take place in the hall’s beautiful Salon.


Tour Director Paul Jackson, MA, PhD, is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and was, for over twenty years, Head of Music and Performing Arts and Director of Music and Performance at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Paul has also enjoyed an extensive career as a conductor of choirs, orchestras and opera, and as a solo and chamber music pianist, performing in the UK, Europe and America. Equally at home with music from the 18th century to the present day, Paul is an enthusiastic supporter of young and aspiring composers, and has commissioned and performed many new works for a variety of musical forces. He has published widely on the music of the Australian composer Percy Grainger, and is President of the Percy Grainger Society, New York.


Expert musicologist Tour Director Paul Jackson is delighted to be leading this new tour for ACE. He writes: “Beethoven’s quartets, in particular, form a thread through the tour, culminating in his String Quartet No 13 in B flat major with the original ending of the Grosse Fuge. Around Beethoven’s works, we hear string quartets by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann, which together plot a pathway from the late Classicism of early Beethoven, to the Romantic era.”





The Narratio Quartet have recently launched the first part of their complete Beethoven quartets recording, all played on period instruments with gut strings - listen to the album on Youtube via the video above.


The Narratio Quartet was formed in 2009 at the Early Music Festival in Utrecht. The quartet has since played the complete cycle of Beethoven quartets several times in the Netherlands and recently also in Switzerland. Their repertoire has expanded to the later 19th century with the three Brahms quartets in combination with Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn. In the course of 2024/2025, Challenge Records will release their recording of the complete Beethoven cycle played on period instruments. The name ‘Narratio’ refers to the art of rhetoric and illustrates the quartet’s focus on storytelling and interaction between the musicians, and also between the quartet and the audience.


Johannes Leertouwer, violin

performs as a soloist, chamber music player and conductor. For many years he was concertmaster of Anima Eterna and the Netherlands Bach Society. He is artistic director and conductor of the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht and violinist of Ensemble Schönbrunn since its foundation. In addition to teaching at the Conservatory of Amsterdam he is a professor at Seoul National University and obtained his doctorate in 2023 from the University of Leiden on research into the performance practice of orchestral repertoire by Johannes Brahms.


Franc Polman, violin

is a violinist in the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and has played in prestigious baroque orchestras such as Musica Antiqua Köln and Les Musiciens du Louvre. He is active in several chamber music ensembles. Polman plays on a number of Amsterdam violins from the 17th century, built by Hendrik Jacobs and Pieter Rombouts.


Dorothea Vogel, viola

studied in Switzerland, the USA and London, where she has lived since her studies. She was violist of the Allegri Quartet for 20 years and is a member of the Primrose Piano Quartet. She also performs with the English baroque ensemble The Kings Consort. Dorothea teaches at the Royal Welsh College in Cardiff.


Viola de Hoog, cello

is a versatile musician. Her international career takes place in the world of early music, but for 20 years she also travelled all over the world as a member of the renowned Dutch Schönberg Quartet. She is cellist of  Ensemble Schönbrunn, principal cellist of the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht and The Kings Consort. Viola has been professor of baroque cello, cello and chamber music at the conservatories of Amsterdam, Utrecht and Bremen since 1990.



Photo © Marten Root

Tour Code

We have availability in various room types - please contact us on 01223 841055 to enquire

Included: accommodation based on sharing a large principal twin or double bedded room, performances & lectures as described, three breakfasts, two lunches with water & coffee, three dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, classic double room for single use supplement £295, superior double room for single use supplement £495. Principal and Junior Suite upgrades available on request.

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