History of the Quintet

The quintet with harp was born in 1922, from the idea of René Leroy, viola player. After playing Debussy’s trio for flute, viola and harp, he found the combination of wind and strings very effective and thought of adding a violin and a cello to the ensemble. For more than 35 years, the Quintette Instrumental de Paris, that he founded together with the harpist Marcel Grandjany (later succeeded by Pierre Jamet), toured and was acclaimed over all the world.

As there was no repertoire for this formation, they commissioned numerous works and enlarged hugely the chamber music repertoire for harp. They created more than 50 works dedicated to them, such as pieces by Cras, Honegger, Jolivet, Jongen, Ibert, Tournier...

The London Maritime Quintet was formed in September 2015 by postgraduate students at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, specifically to explore the repertoire for the rarely seen combination of flute, violin, viola, cello and harp. They specialise in French music of the early 20th century, performing compositions by Jean Cras, Albert Roussel, Marcel Tournier and Gabriel Pierne', to name but a few. LMQ’s name has special resonance: they are based in the historic London borough of Greenwich, the one-time home of the Royal Naval College; much French music of this period has associations with the sea (for example, Debussy’s La Mer );the composer Jean Cras, whose work Quintette (1928) is much loved by the group, was himself a naval officer and was above all inspired to write music by his sea voyages; and, furthermore, LMQ’s first public performance was in the magnificent Old Royal Naval College Chapel, designed by eminent architect Sir Christopher Wren.