Josef Suk Piano Quartet
- Radim Kresta – violin
- Eva Krestová – viola
- Václav Petr – cello
- Václav Mácha – piano
he Josef Suk Piano Quartet was named after Josef Suk (1929-2011), one of the greatest violinists of the twentieth century, the grandson of composer Josef Suk and great grandson of Antonín Dvořák. The honour of accepting the name of a leading Czech artist was proposed to the ensemble by the Czech Society for Chamber Music and with the kind support of Marie Suková, Josef Suk’s wife.
The Josef Suk Piano Quartet develops the rich tradition of Czech chamber ensembles, namely of the famous Suk Trio. The members of the quartet are former students of leading Czech musical personalities. Violinist Radim Kresta studied with one of the most inspiring violin teachers, Prof. Bohumil Kotmel, and with Prof. Václav Snítil, a leading Czech violin soloist and long-term member of the Vlach String Quartet and the Czech Nonet. As part of his studies abroad he took classes with Prof. Valery Gradow in Mannheim and Prof. Emi Ohi Resnick in Amsterdam. Violist Eva Krestová (née Karová), a former second violinist of the Pavel Haas Quartet, studied with Prof. Rudolf Šťastný, the long-time leader of the Moravian Quarter, and Prof. Jindřich Pazdera, the leader of the Stamitz Quartet. Cellist Václav Petr studied with the prominent Czech cello teachers Martin and Mirko Škampa, with the soloist Prof. Daniel Veis, formerly a long-term member of the Dvořák Piano Trio, currently member of the Rosamunde Trio, and with Prof. Michal Kaňka, an outstanding Czech solois and member of the Pražák Quartet. Václav Petr has also taken classes with Prof. Wolfgang Boettcher, the former solo-cellist of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Pianist Václav Mácha studied with Prof. Jan Tůma and Prof. Ivan Moravec, one of the most important Czech pianists of the twentieth century. Václav Mácha has also studied with Prof. Karl Heinz Kammerling in Hoschschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.
The ensemble was founded by violinist Radim Kresta in 2007, initially as the Taras Piano Trio. Under this name the ensemble won prizes at a number of international competitions: 1st Prize at the Johannes Brahms Wettbewerb 2007; 1st Prize at the Premio Rovere d’Oro 2008; or, 1st Prize at the Val Tidone Music Competitions 2010. From late 2012 they played as Ensemble Taras as a piano quartet. In 2013, the ensemble achieved outstanding success winning two 1st Prizes at international competitions: in May 2013 at the Concorso Salieri-Zinetti in Verona, and in September 2013 at one of the most prestigious competitions, ACM Premio Trio di Trieste. The quartet also became the holders of the prominent prize of the Czech Society for Chamber Music as the Czech Chamber Ensemble of the Year 2014. Thanks to these successes the ensemble were given unique opportunities of performing on prestigious stages and of recording their début CD and DVD for Limen Music and Arts Milan, with the music of Gabriel Fauré (Piano Quartet Op. 15) and Johannes Brahms (Piano Quartet Op. 60), and another CD for the Azzura Music Label, with the music of Gustav Mahler and Brahms (Piano Quartet Op. 25). The ensemble has been performing under their new name of the Josef Suk Piano Quartet since 2014. In 2017 the quartet has recorded a CD under the label of Supraphon with a music of Josef Suk and Antonín Dvořák. Right after the recording was released it was very well critically acclaimed (The Guardian, Gramophone, MusicWeb International and others).
During this year (2017) the ensemble has performed for example in Rudolfinum in Prague, Graz, Burgos, Trieste, Rome (Quirinalle hall), Belluno, Bologna (Bologna Festival), Macerata (Appassionata Festival), Zwickau, it has been recording live for the Italian, the Austrian and the Czech most important broadcasting stations (Rai, ORF, ČRo) and made its first Japanese tour. Among others there is coming up the first tour in the Brazil in the spring of 2018. From the past events we can name the most important such as debut in the most important Czech music festival “Prague Spring” or concerts in Wien, Santander, Milano or in Verona (Salla Maffeiana – here all the members of the quartet performed solo concertos accompanied by Italian orchestra “Virtuosi Italiani”)Their repertoire comprises key works from Classicism to the present; the pillars of their music are the works of Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, Josef Suk and Bohuslav Martinů, apart from prominent works of the 20th and 21st centuries. The quartet regularly performs debuts of new compositions by prominent composers such as Jean-Luc Darbelay, Max E. Keller, Matteo D’Amico, Marta Jiráčková and Jiří Gemrot. During their concerts, the ensemble perform in other formations too, as a piano trio or a string trio (as the Josef Suk Trio). As the ensemble members say, “a piano quartet is the ideal formation for us. It offers a range of possibilities and opportunities for the lovers of chamber music. It may unravel in various chamber combinations, for duos to string or piano trios; the piano quartet is also often able to stand for the whole orchestra, and some of the works of this formation are like symphonies…”
Summary of the members
Born in 1974, is a teacher of violin at the Prague Conservatoire, a soloist and a chamber player. In 2014 he became the new Principal Violinist of the Prague Chamber Orchestra, performing with them also as a soloist. Formerly, he has been principal violinist and soloist of the Pavel Haas Chamber Orchestra and the Berg Orchestra. In the 2014-2015 season he was invited as a guest principal violinist of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In solo competitions he has been awarded, among others, an Honorable Mention at the Prague Spring 1997; 2nd Prize at the Prix Mercure in Semmering, Austria; in a duo with cellist Václav Petr they won the 3rd Prize at the Salieri-Zinetti Chamber Music Competition 2012. He is the founder of the Taras Piano Trio and the Ensemble Taras, the predecessors of the Josef Suk Piano Quartet, with whom he won a number of international prizes.
Born in 1984, is a violin teacher and a leading chamber player in Prague (with the Josef Suk Piano Quartet, the Puella Trio, or the Kaprálová Quartet). She has won several prizes at such international chamber music competitions as the Maria Yudina Competition in Russa; the Charles Hennen Concours in the Netherlands; or, the Rovere d’Oro in Italy. Formerly, she has been a violinist in the Pavel Haas Quartet with whom she has toured the world (giving concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York, at Wigmore Hall in London, at the Herkulessaal in Munich or at the Louvre in Paris, among others) and has won the most prominent Gramophone Award. She has recorded a number of CDs for the labels Supraphon and Arco Diva; she has also made recordings for the BBC, the Japanese TV company NHK and the Czech TV.
Born in 1989, is the laureate of many international solo competitions, such as the radio competition Concertino Prage, the International Cello Competition David Popper in Hungary, the Antonio Janigro Cello Competition in Croatia, the Bohuslav Martinů Competition in Prague, the J.J.F. Dotzauer Cello Competition in Dresden, the International String Competition Rudolf Matz in Dubrovnik and others. He is also the Absolute Winner of the international competition Talents for Europe 2005. In October 2013 he won the auditions for the position of cello concert master of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and became one of the youngest concert masters of this prominent orchestra ever. He gives regular solo concerts with such ensembles as the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Chamber Philharmonia, the Prague Chamber Orchestra, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava, the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra and others.
Born in 1989, belongs to the most prominent Czech chamber players. As a soloist he has won a number of national and international prizes at competitions, for example the 1st Prize at the Viotti-Valsesia International Competition in Italy or the 1st Prize at the Karl Bergemann Competition in Hannover, Germany. He has given solo performances with a number of orchestras, such as the Prague Chamber Philharmonia, the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, or the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava; he has also given a solo concert with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in London as part of the BBC Proms Festival. He has made numerous recordings for the Czech Radio, the Slovak Radio, the Czech TV, the Deutsche Welle (Germany), the BBC, the NHK (Japan), both for live broadcast and for CDs. He recorded Mozart’s piano sonatas for the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) in 2006. He is a piano lecturer at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU) and a member of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.