The critically acclaimed quartet hit the road recently and sent us back a diary and some snaps…
“The world’s most exciting string quartet? Well, they suit the tagline better than most. Their tone is large, quasi-orchestral. They take risks. Above all, they play with passion.” The Times, January 2010
Since winning the Paolo Borciani competition in Italy in Spring 2005, the Pavel Haas Quartet has performed at the world’s most prestigious concert halls and recorded four award-winning CDs, receiving great acclaim from audiences and critics alike.
In 2011/12 the Quartet performs concerts at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Theatre des Champs-Elysees Paris, Zurich Tonalle, Vienna Konzerthaus, Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall in London, as well as major venues in Brussels, Munich, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Madrid. The Quartet will tour to Hong Kong and Japan, visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama and go on a two week tour of the United States culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall. A further project for 2011/12 will be the Quartet’s first collaboration with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, who they will record and tour with.
Recent highlights for the Quartet include performances at the Rheingau Festival, the Schubertiade, San Francisco and the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid. In 2007, the Cologne Philharmonic nominated the Quartet as ECHO Rising Stars, resulting in a tour to major concert halls worldwide. The Quartet took part in the BBC New Generation Artists scheme from 2007–2009, and in 2010 was awarded the 2010 Special Ensemble Scholarship of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. The 2010/11 season saw the Quartet begin a three-year residency as Artists in Residence of Glasgow Royal Concert Halls.
The Pavel Haas Quartet has released four discs on the Supraphon label. Their most recent recording of Dvořák’s String Quartets No.12 in F major 'American' and No.13 in G major was released last autumn and has already won critical acclaim: The Sunday Times awarded the recording five stars, commenting: “Their account of the American Quartet belongs alongside the greatest performances on disc. In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today.” They won the Diapason d’Or de l’Année for their disc featuring Prokofiev’s String Quartets Nos.1 & 2 and Sonata for Two Violins, with Diapason commenting “This is now the definitive recording of the Prokofiev quartets... to be discovered without hesitation.” Their first two recordings were equally well received. Their first recording of Janáček Quartet No.2 ‘Intimate Letters’ and Haas Quartet No.2 ‘From the Monkey Mountains’ was voted one of the CDs of 2006 by The Daily Telegraph and received a 2007 Gramophone Award . The Quartet’s second disc saw them complete their recordings of the string quartet works by Haas and Janacek. Gramophone commented “To describe a CD as musically important is to court a certain level of controversy but I’ll stick my neck out and claim extreme importance for this particular release.” And in 2011 the quartet won the Chamber Award and the Recording of the Year prize in the 2011 Gramophone Awards.
Based in Prague, the Quartet studied with some of the masters of the quartet world including members of Quartetto Italiano, Quatuor Mosaiques, Borodin Quartet and Amadeus Quartet, as well as with Walter Levin in Basel. The Quartet has worked particularly closely with Milan Skampa, the legendary violist of the Smetana Quartet, and continues to enjoy a close relationship with him.
The Quartet takes its name from the Czech composer Pavel Haas (1899-1944) who was imprisoned at Theresienstadt in 1941 and tragically died at Auschwitz three years later. His legacy includes three wonderful string quartets.
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