After an absence of a few years, the brilliant Sakyr Ensemble are back with us and will perform later this evening. Santa-Monica Mihalache (Violin), Barbora Veisová (Viola), Šimon Veis (Violoncello), Marko Hilpo (Pianoforte), will play two of the repertoire’s most demanding piano quartets, namely, Mozart’s in G Minor K478 and Richard Strauss’ in C Minor op. 13.
Santa-Monica Mihalache started her first violin lessons with her mother at the tender age of six. She later continued her studies at the National University of Music in her native Bucharest with Prof. S. Gheorghiu after which she proceeded to the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia, Madrid, where she studied till 2005. Santa-Monica is the recipient of numerous prizes, namely, the Golden Lyre, Suceava, Excellene-La, Stresa, George Georgescu, Tulcea, and the international Mozart Competition, Constanta, amongst others. She has performed widely, both as a soloist and in chamber formations all over Europe. As a soloist she has performed with the Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bucharest National Radio Orchestra, the Brasov Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Ploiesti Philharmonic Orchestra.
Barbora Veisová started her viola studies under the tuition of Prof. J Motlík, subsequently furthering her musical education at the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, with Prof. Jan Pĕuška. In 2004 she was chosen to study at the Toho Gakuen, Japan, working with members of the famed Alban Berg Quartet. Two years later she won a scholarship to perfect her technique at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She finished her studies at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, Madrid. She has performed extensively all over Europe and Japan, and has participated in numerous festivals and competitions in Europe. She is the recipient of the first prize in the Concurso de jovenes interpretes ‘Cuitat de Xativa’, Valencia, being awarded the prize by Queen Sofia of Spain. Together with her brother Šimon, she is the co-founder of the Snítil Quartet, which is the Czech Republic’s youngest professional quartet. Recently, Barbora was also awarded the special prize for the best interpretation of the contemporary Quartet no. 2 by Viktor Kalabis.
Šimon Veis started his musical education at the age of five. He studied with Jan Vyehytil, Jaroslav Kulhan, and his father, Prof. Daniel Veis. At just fourteen years of age, Šimon appeared as a soloist playing with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1999 he has won numerous prizes in many competitions. At only sixteen years of age, Šimon came second in the Martinů Competition for musicians up to 28 years of age. In 2001 he came first at the Beethoven International Violoncello Competition with special prizes for the best interpretation of works by Janáček and Martinů. As a member of the Snitil Quartet (named after his grandfather Prof. Václav Snitil, violin virtuoso and member of the legendary Vlach Quartet), he is a laureate of the International Radio Competition Concertino Praga (1999) and laureate of the Beethoven International Competition (2003.) As a soloist, Šimon has played with the Solisti di Praga, Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra Katowice and Camerata Janáček, amongst others.
Marko Hilpo studied the pianoforte at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, with Hamsa Juris and Ilmo Ranta. He pursued postgraduate studies at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia, Madrid, with Claudio Martinez Mehner and Prof. Dmitri Bashkirov. He has also participated in master classes with the legendary Lisa Phojola, Emmanuel Krasovsky, and Andras Schiff, amongst others. He has performed extensively as soloist and in chamber ensembles, apart from proving to be a formidable accompanist, all over Europe and the USA (Carnegie Hall.) Marko has also performed with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Kuopio AMKO-Symphony and has been asked to give premiere performances of several works by contemporary composers. He has also made recordings for Finnish National Radio and is heavily involved performing in Summer Festivals in Finland. In 2008, Marko was awarded the Alumno mas sobresaliente prize given to the best student in the year from the Departments of Pianoforte and Chamber Music at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia, Madrid.