VIAF 2014

World-famous Martinů Quartet in performance this evening …

The world-famous Martinů Quartet will be performing for us this evening at St George’s Basilica at 8pm. Needing no introduction, this famous string Quartet is known the world over and, despite their very busy schedule, they look forward to their visit to Gozo to perform in our Festival. Such is their enthusiasm for what we do that, having arrived yesterday evening, they have already booked their date for next year! This is humbling for us as organizers because it is the solid proof that attests to the high-level concerts we organize and the wonderful reputation we enjoy with the best and the great.

For this evening’s programme, the Martinů have chosen one of Beethoven’s wonderful quartets and Schubert’s ravishing Quartet in D Minor, better known as Death and the Maiden.

Martinů Quartet, originally the Havlák Quartet, was formed in 1976 by the then students of the Prague Conservatoire. It is inspired by and modelled on such legendary string quartets as the Vlach and the Smetana. They put favourable circumstances to good use by intensive practice and study of the Quartet repertoire, resulting in seven prizes at important international competitions, namely, the ARD – Munich, Evian – France, Yehudi Menuhin – Portsmouth, and the famous Prague Spring Competitions. These successes stand at the start-line of the Quartet’s brilliant international career, placing it firmly in the internally-respected Czech string-quartet tradition.  Originally called The Havlák Quartet after its leader, it changed its name in 1985 as a token of its commitment to promote the work of one of the great masters of Czech music, Bohuslav Martinů. Their efforts have been rewarded by a MIDEM prize in Cannes in 2004 for the best CD of the year in the chamber music/solo category – the CD being the second of three NAXOS CDs with Martinů’s seven quartets and other chamber compositions.  Although the main weight of its repertoire is centred on the music of the world’s great composers, the Martinů Quartet takes pleasure in seeking out neglected works and in giving first performances of pieces by contemporary composers. It has received an MW Classical Music Web’s CD of the Month award for its recording of works by Sylvie Bodorová (Terezín Ghetto Requiem) and Ronald Stevenson. It is also engaged on a long-term project of performing and recording the complete quartet output of the leading Czech composer resident in the U.S.A., Tomáš Svoboda. Apart from its busy concert schedule, which sees the Quartet performing in the most prestigious venues world-wide, the Martinů Quartet plays on Czech Radio, as it has done on the BBC, Radio France, ARD, and ORF.