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Elite chamber musicians will present a programme of interesting, seldom-heard works. The highlight will certainly be Messiaen’s extraordinarily challenging Quartet for the End of Time. This concert is presented in cooperation with the festival Bohuslav Martinů Days.
Piano Quartet in A minor (6')
String Sextet for two violins, two violas, and two cellos, H 224 (23')
— Intermission —
Quatuor pour la fin du Temps for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano (37')
Martin Kasík piano
Irvin Venyš clarinet
Milan Al-Ashhab violin
Roman Patočka violin
Jiří Pinkas viola
Karel Untermüller viola
Petr Nouzovský cello
Mikael Ericsson cello
The concert is being held with the financial support of the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation.
Martin Kasík is one of the most prominent figures on the Czech music scene. Critics and audiences acclaim his inventive, poetic approach to performing, through which he captures the mood of the moment. His playing has a spiritual dimension and an exceptional wealth of variable emotions. He studied at the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava under Monika Tugendliebová and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under Ivan Klánský. He expanded his musical horizons at masterclasses under Lazar Berman, Garrick Ohlsson, and Paul Badura-Skoda. His path to stages around the world was opened by victory at the 1998 Prague Spring Competition and at the 1999 Young Concert Artists Competition in New York. Since then, he has been collaborating with the most important Czech and foreign conductors and ensembles including the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, with which he has toured Japan and the USA. His recordings on the Supraphon and Arco Diva labels have won top honours in the journals Gramophone, Repertoire, and Harmonie. Besides giving concerts, Martin Kasík also teaches at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and at the Prague Conservatoire, and he is the artistic director of the Chopin Festival in Mariánské Lázně.
He was born in 1992. He started playing the violin at the age of five at the Elementary Art School in Chomutov. A year later he moved to the Elementary Art School in Most to the class of Květoslava Hasilová, under whose tutelage he continues his studies at the Conservatory in Teplice. Since 2012 he has also been a student of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in the class of Ivan Straus. Milan Al-Ashhab has won numerous awards in national and international competitions; the most important ones include first prize and the title of absolute winner in the International Kocian Violin Competition in Ústí nad Orlicí (2006), first prize in the Georg Philipp Telemann Competition in Poznań, Poland (2007), second prize in the Ludwig Spohr Competition in Weimar (2010) and fourth prize in the Henri Marteau Violin Competition in Lichtenberg, Selb and Hof, Germany (2011). Milan Al-Ashhab has given dozens of recitals and performed as a soloist with many orchestras (Hofer Symphoniker, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra of Ostrava, North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra of Teplice, Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of Pardubice, Europera Jugendorchester, etc.). Milan Al-Ashhab also plays chamber music together with his sister, pianist Marie Al-Ashhabová, and cellist Vojtěch Urban, both of whom are also students of the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts.
Called a “most talented violin virtuosoˮ, Roman Patočkaʼs colorful musicality and bravura technique make him a prominent figure among the young soloists of his generation. After completing his studies at the Prague Conservatory with Dagmar Zárubová and at Pragueʼs Academy of Performing Arts in the class of Ivan Štraus, Patočka continued his studies abroad: first in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with Keiko Wataya, and later in Lübeck, Germany, with Shmuel Ashkenasi. In 2009, he received his Masters from the Musikhochschule “Hanns Eislerˮ in Berlin as a student of Stefan Picard.
Patočka has worked with some of todayʼs most important musicians as a participant of the International Musical Academy in Montpellier, France; the Keshet Eilon Music Center festival in Israel; the Ravinia Festivalʼs Steans Institute in Chicago, USA; and the International Summer Academy in Semmering, Austria. He has studied chamber music and participated in masterclasses with Ida Haendel, Ruggiero Ricci, Gidon Kremer, Vadim Gluzman, Hagai Shaham, Daniel Barenboim and Menahem Pressler.
In 2003, he was awarded 2nd Prize with four Special Awards at the Prague Spring Competition. In 2007, Patočka earned 2nd Prize at the Max Rostal International Competition in Berlin and 3rd Prize at the International Pablo de Sarasate Violin Competition in Pamplona, Spain. In 2009, he was awarded 3rd Prize with 2 Special Award Prizes at the esteemed Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition in Augsburg, Germany.
Roman Patočka has performed as a soloist with orchestras in the Czech Republic and abroad- including the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, the Hamburger Symphoniker, the Konzerthouse Orchester Berlin, the Tiroler Symphonie Orchester Innsbruck, the Filharmonie Nagoya, La Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Radio Symphonic Orchestra, and the PKF – Prague Philharmonia under the baton of conductors Jiří Bělohlávek, Zdeněk Mácal, Vladimír Válek, Jakub Hrůša, Douglas Bostock, Yoko Matsuo, and Georg Fritzsch. In 2004, Patočka performed Leoš Janáčekʼs little-known concerto, The Wandering of a Little Soul with Sir Carles Mackerras and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. That same year, he had the distinct privilege of premiering Bohuslav Martinůʼs Czech Rhapsody for violin and orchestra with the Chamber Orchestra Berg.
As a chamber musician, Roman Patočka has performed with some of todayʼs most important Czech musicians-including Jiří Bárta, Radek Baborák, Martin Kasík, Adam Skoumal, Jana Boušková and Igor Ardašev – as well as internationally recognized musicians such as Daishin Kashimoto, Jennifer Frautschi, Lara St. John, Chloë Hanslip, Konstantin Lifschitz, José Gallardo, Maciej Pikulski and Roberto Giordano. He represented the Czech Republic at the international exhibition EXPO 2005 in Aichi, Japan and has performed chamber music around Europe at festivals such as Festival Pablo Casals, Les Musicales de lʼAbbaye dʼAuberive, Les Journées Romantiques du Vaisseau Fantôme in Paris and the Les Heures Romantiques au Pays de Monthodon in France; Lange Nacht der Musik in Vienna, Austria; the Shafran Festival at the Waldenburg castle in Germany; and the Prague Spring Festivals, among countless others. Patočka is a member of both the celebrated Talich Quartet and the Eben Trio.
Roman Patočkaʼs recordings have appeared on Czech Radio, BBC Radio 3, ORF, Radio 4 Netherlands, Romanian Radio, and Japanese TV NHK. In 2006, he recorded a CD of music by Beethoven, Suk, Dvořák, and Bartók with pianist Frédéric Lagarde. He also appears on recordings with the Talich Quartet and the Eben Trio. Most recently, he recorded a CD of violin concertos by František Benda with the Prague Chamber Orchestra.
Jiří Pinkas (1980) studied violin at the Pardubice Conservatoire under Vladimír Kulík and violin and viola at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under Jiří Tomášek and Lubomír Malý. During his studies he became a laurate of the Ostrava Conservatoire Competition (1999) and took part in many international performance masterclasses. As a soloist, he has appeared with such orchestras as the Czech Chamber Philharmonic in Pardubice, the Pilsen Philharmonic, the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, the Berg Chamber Orchestra, and the Jaroslav Kocian Chamber Orchestra. In 2001 he became the violist of the Bennewitz Quartet, which has become one of the best chamber ensembles on the music scene worldwide. Their greatest successes include first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition in Osaka, Japan (2005) and first prize at the most important string quartet competition, the Premio Paolo Borciani in Italy (2008). The Bennewitz Quartet is regularly invited to prestigious festivals. Jiří Pinkas plays a viola from the workshop of Daniel Achatius Stadlman (1739).
Born in 1972, the violist Karel Untermüller studied at the Prague Conservatory (in the class of Jaroslav Ruis) and the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (with Lubomír Malý), and attended master classes led by Norbert Brainin, Sigmund Nissel and Thomas Kakuska.
He is a member of the Suk Chamber Orchestra, in which he has headed the viola section for many years. Moreover, he is a member of the Herold Quartet, with whom over the 15 years of their existence he has performed throughout Europe, in Japan, Australia, Hawaii and elsewhere, with the concert halls they have appeared at including such prestigious venues as Wigmore Hall in London, the Sendesaal in Frankfurt, LʼAuditori in Barcelona and the Palau de la Música in Valencia.
As a soloist, he has collaborated with leading Czech orchestras (the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Suk Chamber Orchestra, Pardubice Chamber Philharmonic, North Bohemia Philharmonic, etc.). Of major significance was his collaboration with a towering figure of Czech music, the violinist Josef Suk, with whom, as well as other outstanding instrumentalists (Jiří Bárta, Pavel Šporcl, Jan Simon, etc.), he recorded three CDs featuring Antonín Dvořák’s and Josef Suk’s chamber works and gave numerous concerts, including at the Prague Spring festival.
Karel Untermüller teaches at the Teplice Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.