The Quartet of Peace is the name given to four string instruments – two violins, a viola and a cello – that were made in Cape Town in 2010 as a special set to be played together. They are made of endemic South African stinkwood, described by the maker, Brian Lisus, as a rather unfortunate name for a beautiful wood rich in sound-making qualities – that actually doesn’t smell all that bad!
The instruments are named Freedom, Peace, Reconciliation and Hope, and dedicated to South African Nobel Peace Laureates, Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW De Klerk and Nelson Mandela, respectively.
The first concerts featuring the instruments were held in South Africa and Europe in 2010, and the following year they were played at several venues in South Africa – including at the celebration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s eightieth birthday.
The Quartet of Peace Trust was formed in South Africa in mid-2012 to promote reconciliation, mutual respect and tolerance in South Africa, and to provide financial assistance to enable young South Africans to develop their talents as musicians or instrument-makers. A sister trust has since been launched in the United Kingdom
In 2013, the Trust awarded its first bursaries, to young cellists, Dane Coetzee and Thapelo Masita, and violinist, Shaheema Lakay. The 2014 bursary recipients were Lakay, violinists Noluvuyo Nteta and Elsabe Raath, and cellist, Abel Selaocoe.
“To see these talented young musicians, and to hear the beauty of the Quartet of Peace – made for each other, for unity – is to be transported to a better place,” Archbishop Tutu said.
Issued by Oryx Media for the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation