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Biography

 

Pražák Quartet

Jana Vonášková, violin
Vlastimil Holek, violin
Josef Kluson, viola
Michal Kanka, cello

The Prazak Quartet—one of today´s leading international chamber music ensembles—was established in 1972 while its members were students at the Prague Conservatory. Since then, the quartet has gained attention for its place in the unique Czech quartet tradition, and for its musical virtuosity.

The 1974 Czech Music Year saw the Prazak Quartet receive the first prize at the Prague Conservatory Chamber Music Competition. Within twelve months their international career had been launched with a performance at the 1975 Prague Spring Music Festival. In 1978 the quartet took the first prize at the Evian String Quartet Competition as well as a special prize awarded by Radio France for the best recording during the competition. Further prizes were awarded at various other Czech competitions.

For more than 30 years, the Prazak Quartet has been at home on music stages worldwide. They are regular guests in the major European musical capitals—Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Madrid, London, Berlin, Munich, etc.—and have been invited to participate at numerous international festivals, where they have collaborated with such artists as Menahem Pressler, Jon Nakamatsu, Cynthia Phelps, Roberto Diaz, Josef Suk, and Sharon Kam.

The quartet has toured extensively in North America, having performed in New York (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, 92nd St. Y), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, St. Louis, New Orleans, Berkeley, Cleveland, Tucson, Denver, Buffalo, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. They will return to the US and Canada in the 2016-17 season.

The Prazak Quartet records exclusively for Praga/Harmonia Mundi which, to date, has released more than 30 award-winning CDs. In addition to numerous radio recordings in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, the Prazak Quartet has also made recordings for Supraphon, Panton, Orfeo, Ottavo, Bonton, and Nuova Era.

 

In 2015 the Prazak Quartet, like the Janacek and Guarneri Quartets before them, opened a new chapter in their career by turning to youth and welcoming as leader the excellent violinist, Jana Vonaskova.  A graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, she was a member of the Smetana Trio for 9 years

 

After two years of intensive study re-learning the repertoire in its new line-up, the quartet has once again taken to the international stage with great success.  The spirit, freshness and agility of youth combine with the extensive experience of the ensemble’s founder-members to produce a renewed sound and energy and a sense of unity and togetherness that is truly remarkable. World tours to the United States and Japan and performances in Europe have been greeted with enthusiasm and numerous invitations.  Currently the quartet is preparing for a new recording of the Smetana quartets: 20 years after their original version this is an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the First Czechoslovak Republic while also honouring this great national composer.

 

 



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