This group belongs to the great tradition of Czech string ensembles, the playing is a joy from start to finish. - David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
Lubomír Havlák , First Violin
Petr Matêják, Second Violin
Jan Jíša, Viola
Jitka Vlašánková, Cello
The Martinů Quartet first came together in 1976 at the Conservatory in Prague as students of Viktor Mouãka, a member of the Vlach Quartet. During their studies at the Academy of Music, the members of the Quartet were taught by Antonín Kohout of the Smetana Quartet. At the same time they took part in master-classes with leading ensembles such as the Tel Aviv, Amadeus, Guarneri, Juilliard and Alban Berg Quartets.
The Quartet has taken part in eight international competitions winning prizes at each. Their most important successes were at Portsmouth, Munich, Evian and The Prague Spring Festival. Originally called the Havlák Quartet after its leader, it changed its name in honour of the composer, Bohuslav Martinů, in 1985. The Martinů Quartet has given concerts in most European countries, in Cuba, the United States, Canada and Japan. It has appeared at many international festivals and venues, including Brighton, Bath, Warwick, Frankfurt am Main, and Kuhmo, the International Forum “PROQUARTET” (Paris), the Arjeplog and Orlando Festivals, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Dvořák Hall in Prague, and the Dartington International Summer School. The Quartet appears regularly at the Prague Spring Festival, and broadcasts on Czech radio and television, and has made a number of recordings for Radio France, ARD, ORF, the BBC and others.
The Quartet’s repertoire includes works from the mainstream of string quartet literature. Naturally it specialises in the works of Czech composers such as Smetana, Dvořák and Janáček, with particular interest in the works of Bohuslav Martinů. In January 2004 the Quartet’s recording of Martinů’s String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Naxos 8.553783) won the “Best Chamber/Solo Instrumental 20th Century” category at MIDEM in France. The Quartet’s recording of Sylvie Bodorová’s Terezin Ghetto Requiem for baritone and string quartet was Musicweb’s CD of the month in November 2003.