Norbert Brainin (1923 - 2005), 1st violin
Siegmund Nissel (b. 1922), 2nd violin
Peter Schidlof (1922 - 1987), viola
Martin Lovett (b. 1927), cello
Because of their Jewish origin, violinists Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel and violist Peter Schidlof were driven out of Vienna after Hitler’s Anschluss of 1938. Brainin and Schidlof met in a British internment camp; many Jewish refugees had the misfortune of being confined by the British as “enemy aliens” upon seeking refuge in the U.K. Brainin was released after a few months, but Schidlof remained in the camp, where he met Nissel. Finally Schidlof and Nissel were released, and the three of them were able to study with violin pedagogue Max Rostal, who taught them free of charge. It was through Rostal that they met cellist Martin Lovett, and in 1947 they formed the Brainin Quartet, which was renamed the Amadeus Quartet in 1948. The Amadeus was one of the most celebrated quartets of the 20th Century, and its members were awarded numerous honors, including:
The Order of the British Empire, presented by the Queen.
Doctorates from the Universities of London, York, and Caracas.
The highest of all German awards, the Grand Cross of merit.
The Austrian Cross of Honour for Arts and Sciences.
The quartet disbanded in 1987 upon the death of the violist Peter Schidlof, who was regarded as irreplaceable by the surviving members.