Friday, 05.09.2008, 19.30 in the Carolinum




Bedřich Smetana: Polkas from the 1st and 2nd String Quartets

Franz Schubert: Quintet in C Major for Two Violoncellos, D956  


The Bennewitz Quartet


Jiři Němeček - Violin

Štĕpán Ježek - Violin

Jiři Pinkas - Viola

Štĕpán Doležal - Violoncello



Soon after its establishment at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 1998, the Bennewitz Quartet found its way among prominent Czech chamber ensembles. It was named after the famous Czech violinist and teacher Antonín Bennewitz (1833-1926).

Two renowned personalities played a crucial role in the Quartet’s artistic development: Professor Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) whose classes the Bennewitz Quartet attended at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid (2002–2004); and Professor Walter Levin (LaSalle Quartet) who worked with them at the Basel Musikakademie between 2004 and 2006. At this time, the Bennewitz Quartet was also engaged as the Musikakademie’s residential ensemble, conducting, apart from their own study projects, classes of chamber music for young quartet ensembles.

Besides various minor awards (for instance, Bohuslav Martinu Foundation Prize, 2001; Laureate Prize of the Czech Chamber Music Society, 2004; National Presentation Concerts Award, Amsterdam, 2004; FNAPEC Scholarship, Paris, 2006), the Bennewitz Quartet received, in 2004, two special prizes (Theodor Rogler Foundation Prize and Bärenreiter Urtext Prize) at the ARD Competition in Munich, Germany; in 2005, the Gold Medal at the International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka, Japan; and in June 2008, the first prize in the Premio Paolo Borciani string quartet contest in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

A prize winner tour of 50 concerts will take the four young Czechs to important concert series throughout Europe, the USA and Japan during the season 2008-2009, including concerts in Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Hamburg, Bremen, Stuttgart, Brussels, Basel, Rome and Florence.

The Bennewitz Quartet already participated in various international music festivals (Rheingau Festival and Heidelberger Frühling – Germany; Lucerne Festival – Switzerland; Orlando Festival – Netherlands; Prague Spring Festival – Czech Republic), and performed in prominent European concert halls (Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, Herkulessaal Munich, or Rudolfinum Prague).

Besides a number of CDs, the Bennewitz Quartet made several recordings for the Czech Radio and Czech Television, as well as for a number of radio and television companies abroad (SWR, BR and NWR – Germany, Radio 4 – Netherlands, ORF Austria, Rádio Clásica – Spain, STV Radio, Yomiuri TV – Japan). In Spring 2008 their latest CD with both string quartets of Janaček and Bartoks 4th String Quartet has been released under the label "Coviello Classics."





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