Pavel Haas Quartet
Veronika Jarůšková, violin
Marek Zwiebel, violin
Pavel Nikl, viola
Peter Jarůšek, cello
Monday, March 31, 2014
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
This performance is made possible in part through the generous support of David and Judith Preves Anderson
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.
Pavel Haas Quartet in rehearsal
SHOSTAKOVICH: Quartet No. 1 in C Major, Opus 49
DVOŘÁK: Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major, Opus 51
BEETHOVEN: Quartet in E minor, Opus 59, No. 2 “Rasumovsky”
About This Performance
One of the great chamber music ensembles of our time according to The Times of London, this award-winning Czech quartet returns to SF Performances after its Bay Area debut in 2009 when it was a surprise hit of the season. The Haas’ artists bring formidable technique and an unusually acute expressiveness to their performances and are regarded as second-to-none in playing eastern European repertory including Dvořák and Janáček.
The Pavel Haas Quartet was founded in 2002 and named in honour of Pavel Haas (1899–1944), a pupil of Leoš Janáček and one of the most distinguished Czech composers of the first half of the 20th century. In 1941, Haas was deported to the Terezín ghetto and in 1944 died in Auschwitz. The three string quartets that are among the pinnacles of Haas’s oeuvre give us a clear idea of how great a loss his death was to the world of music.
Since its foundation the Pavel Haas Quartet has closely collaborated with Prof. Milan Škampa, violist of the legendary Smetana Quartet, who studied with such world-renowned quartet musicians as Walter Levin (LaSalle Q.), Piero Farulli (Q. Italiano), Norbert Brainin (Amadeus Q.), Hatto Bayerle (Alban Berg Q.), Valentin Berlinski (Borodin Q.), Christophe Coin (Q. Mosaïques), etc.
In 2004 the Pavel Haas Quartet received the Vittorio E. Rimbotti award in Florence, in 2005 won the Prague Spring International Music Competition and a mere month later first prize and the prize for best performance of a Sir Peter Maxwell Davies composition at one of the most prestigious international quartet competitions, the Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia, Italy, which opened the path to prominent stages worldwide. In 2006 the ensemble received the Czech Chamber Music Society Award.
In the wake of winning the Premio Paolo Borciani, in the 2005–06 season the Pavel Haas Quartet made an extensive world tour that included more than 40 concerts in the USA, Japan and Europe. They have performed in Brussels, Vienna, Hamburg, Rome, Venice, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and other major cities.
In 2006 the ensemble was nominated by the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) as Rising Stars for the 2007–08 concert season. Within the project, they performed at such prestigious venues as the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Kölner Philharmonie, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Konserthuset in Stockholm, the Symphony Hall in Birmingham and Carnegie Hall in New York. Moreover, the Pavel Haas Quartet has given acclaimed concerts in Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, St Petersburg, appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and within tours of the USA, Japan and Australia.
In 2006 the Pavel Haas Quartet signed an exclusive recording contract with Supraphon. Their debut album for the label, featuring compositions by Leoš Janáček and Pavel Haas, met with an enthusiastic response in music circles (Gramophone Award 2007, BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice, Strad Selection, Supersonic Award from Pizzicato, etc.).
In 2007 the Pavel Haas Quartet was voted Best Newcomer by the BBC Music Magazine Awards jury, and from that September held the BBC New Generation Artist title for two years, within which the ensemble was afforded the opportunity to make a number of high-profile concert appearances and radio recordings. The second CD, completing Leoš Janáček’s and Pavel Haas’s quartet works, garnered enormous acclaim too and earned the ensemble the MIDEM Classical Award 2009 in Cannes and a Gramophone Awards 2008 nomination.
For the Supraphon label, the Pavel Haas Quartet has also recorded a CD featuring Sergey Prokofiev’s chamber works, which won France’s Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2010 and was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award 2010. The most recent album, a CD of Antonín Dvořák’s string quartets, won a 2011 Gramophone Award in the Chamber category as well as the most coveted prize, Recording of the Year.