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Wihan String Quartet

Idioma disponível: inglês
The Wihan Quartet has established a reputation and achieved broad international acclaim for performances of the quartets of Dvořák, Smetana, and Janáček, as well as those of contemporary Czech composers like Lubos Krticka and Jiří Pauer. However, no single composer has so strongly captured its devotion as Beethoven; the Wihan players have performed the entire cycle of his quartets in concert several times and recorded all 16 for the Nimbus label. The group's repertory is hardly limited to Beethoven and the Czechs, though, and it regularly plays works by Mozart, Schubert, and Schoenberg, among many others spanning different eras. In 2022, the Wihan Quartet issued a recording of works by Smetana and Dvořák on the Nimbus Alliance label. The Wihan Quartet was formed in 1985 by Ales Kasprík, the ensemble's cellist. He engaged Leoš Čepický (first violin), Jan Schulmeister (second violin), and Jiří Zigmund (viola) to serve as the other three members. The group cultivated its style and technique under the mentorship of Antonin Kohout, longtime cellist of the Smetana Quartet. The Wihan Quartet captured first prize at the 1991 London International String Quartet Competition and won other notable competitions in its early years, including the Prague Spring Festival and Osaka Chamber Music Competition & Festa. From around the time of its competition victory in London, the ensemble frequently began concertizing in the U.K. It eventually became the quartet-in-residence at London's Trinity College of Music and still holds that title. The group has also taught quartet playing at Pro Corda, Leiston Abbey, Suffolk. In 2000, the group's first recordings appeared: the D minor String Quartet, Intermezzo, and Italian Serenade of Hugo Wolf, and the Schoenberg quartet and Pfitzner Second Quartet, both issued on the Arco Diva label. The two recordings were critically acclaimed, the Wolf disc receiving a Diapason Award. From October 2007 to March 2008, the Wihan Quartet appeared in a series of concerts in Prague, performing all of the Beethoven quartets. Nimbus Records recorded those concerts and drew its acclaimed Beethoven quartet series from them. The Wihan Quartet is active in the Czech Republic and the U.K. and has toured throughout Europe, the U.S., East Asia, and Australia. It was the Czech Chamber Music Society Resident Ensemble of the Dvořák Hall at Prague's Rudolfinum for the 2012-2013 season. In 2014, Zigmund retired from his position with the quartet; he was succeeded by Jakub Čepický, Leoš's son. The Wihan Quartet's first recording with the new lineup featured music by Dvořák, Janáček, and Suk and was issued in 2016. The following year, cellist Michal Kanka replaced Kasprík. Kanka's first recording with the group, Kol Nidrei: Elegy for Pamela, was released that year and featured six new works written in memory of Pamela Majaro, one of the directors of the London International String Quartet Competition who had helped facilitate the quartet's activities in the U.K. after its 1991 win. In 2021, the quartet backed pianist Matyás Novák on a recording of Mozart piano concertos. The following year, it released a recording featuring the String Quartet No. 1 ("From My Life") by Smetana and Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12, Op. 96 (American").
© Robert Cummings & Keith Finke /TiVo
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