With the financial help of friends and patrons, the Sacconi Quartet was able to commission Jonathan Dove to write a new piece for string quartet and tenor soloist – Mark Padmore. The Premiere took place on 20th May at the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival, Folkestone. ‘In Damascus’ is a cantata, setting words by the Syrian poet Ali Safar, who with piercing eloquence and deep humanity distils the harrowing experiences of daily life in a war-torn country.


When the Sacconi Quartet first had the idea of using contemporary Syrian poetry to bring attention to the crisis, it wasn’t in the forefront of people’s consciousness. Now that the conflict has intensified, it feels like an even more important piece to deliver, which will focus attention on the plight of people who have been displaced by this appalling humanitarian crisis.


Jonathan Dove is one of our leading contemporary composers who has a unique compositional voice that moves us with its transcendent poignancy. The Sacconi Quartet will be recording his String Quartet as well as ‘In Damascus’ and his Piano Quintet later this year. Each piece was played in this year’s Sacconi Chamber Music Festival, Folkestone, 20 – 22 May.

Mark Padmore and the Sacconi Quartet will also perform the London premiere of ‘In Damascus’  in the Sacconi Quartet’s 15th Birthday Concert at King’s Place on 13th July.

The commission has been made possible with the financial help of friends and patrons, the Michael Cuddigan Trust and the Vernon Ellis Foundation.