The Pavel Haas Quartet has been called “the world’s most exciting string quartet” (Gramophone). Since winning the Paolo Borciani competition in Italy in Spring 2005, they have established themselves as one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles, performing at the world’s most prestigious concert halls and recording six award-winning CDs. Based in Prague, the quartet studied with Milan Skampa, the legendary violist of the Smetana Quartet, and still enjoy a close relationship with him.
In the 2016/17 season the quartet will perform concerts at the Wigmore Hall, Munich Herkulessaal, Stuttgart Liederhalle, the Schubertiade, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Théâtre des Abbesses Paris, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Fundación Juan March Madrid, as well as their debut at the Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series in London. The quartet will tour to Japan, giving concerts in Tokyo, Musashino, Yokohama and Nagoya, as well as to the United States including performances in San Francisco, Portland and Napa Valley. Last season’s highlights included their South Korea debut in Seoul, performances at the Philharmonie Berlin, Palau de la Musica Barcelona, Stockholm Konserthuset and in Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The Pavel Haas Quartet record exclusively for Supraphon, and their most recent recording of Smetana’s String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 was awarded a BBC Music Magazine Award in the Chamber category, as well as Best Chamber Music Recording at the 2015 Gramophone Awards. This is the fourth time the quartet have received this prestigious award, and Gramophone commented: ‘Their sound is, as always, immediately recognisable – partly due to the sheer richness of timbre but also the sense of four personalities at play… at times it’s hard to believe you are in the presence of only four players, so intense is the sound.’ BBC Music Magazine remarked that these were ‘definite performances in which nothing is taken for granted’, and the Sunday Times wrote ‘it’s hard to imagine a more compelling or harrowing take on the less frequently programmed D minor quartet.’ The quartet won the same prize in 2014 for their recording of Schubert’s String Quartet ‘Death and the Maiden’ and the String Quintet with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, and their account of Dvořák’s String Quartets No.12 ‘American’ and No.13 was awarded both the Chamber Music award and the most coveted prize, Recording of the Year in 2011. The Sunday Times commented: ‘Their account of the ‘American’ Quartet belongs alongside the greatest performances on disc.’ The quartet also won the Diapason d’Or de l’Année in 2010 for their disc featuring Prokofiev’s String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, and received yet another Gramophone Chamber Music Award in 2007 for their recording of Janáček’s Quartet No.2 ‘Intimate Letters’ and Haas’s Quartet No.2 ‘From the Monkey Mountains’.
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 between 2007-2009, and in 2010 was awarded the Special Ensemble Scholarship of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust.
The Quartet take their 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.
Wigmore Hall, London
Auditorium du Louvre, Paris
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Auditorio Nacional de Musica, Madrid
Palau de la Musica, Barcelona
Festivals and residencies
Edinburgh International Festival
Prague Spring and Dvořák Prague Festival
Residency at Bodensee Festival
Previous residencies at Cologne Philharmonie, Birmingham Town Hall, Glasgow Concert Halls, LSO St Luke’s
The Pavel Haas Quartet is one of the truly outstanding ensembles of our time. They combine a sensual sound quality with an innate sense for the chamber musical structure in the finest and most vital way.
They represent the best qualities of the Czech tradition – warmth, sonorousness, individuality, intensity; but what’s striking here is their fearless risk-taking, their fervency and the absolute confidence with which they propel you through these two masterpieces.
The Pavel Haas Quartet at the Kammermusiksaal played its way into the highest echelon of string quartets... The four musicians play with an infectious and fearless passion and a technical brilliance that was breath-taking.