Performance Friday, March 22, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Škampa Quartet

Weill Recital Hall
“The beauty of their playing,” says London’s Independent of the Škampa Quartet, “stems from deep musical intelligence.” With a profound understanding of Czech folklore, this group has made a specialty of music by composers from its native country. On this program, the quartet performs works by Czech composers from different eras: 19th-century master Antonín Dvořák and Pavel Fischer, a former Škampa violinist.

This concert is part of Salon Encores.


  • Škampa Quartet
    ·· Helena Jiríkovská, Violin
    ·· Daniela Soucková, Violin
    ·· Radim Sedmidubský, Viola
    ·· Petr Šporcl, Cello


  • MOZART String Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 589, "Prussian"
  • PAVEL FISCHER String Quartet No. 3, "Mad Piper" (NY Premiere)
  • DVORÁK String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, "American"

  • Encore:
  • PAVEL FISCHER Movement V (Allegro) from String Quartet No. 1, "Morava"


  • Škampa Quartet

    The Škampa Quartet of Prague is recognized as one of today's most exciting string quartets. Founded in 1989 at the Prague Academy of Music, they soon received international attention, winning the Best Quartet prize at the Premio Vittorio Gui competition in Florence. The quartet was also named 1993's Best Debut by England's Royal Philharmonic Society and shortly after became the first-ever quartet in residence at London's famed Wigmore Hall. In addition to the quartet's annual performances at Wigmore Hall, it also appears in major centers throughout the world, including the Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, the Edinburgh Festival, Tokyo's Suntory Hall, Prague's Dvořák Hall, and Lincoln Center and the 92nd  Street Y in New York City.

    The quartet has a dozen recordings on the Supraphon label, including a Pick of the Month in BBC Music Magazine and a winner of Best Chamber Music Recording from Harmonie, the leading Czech classical music magazine.  The Škampa Quartet's recordings of the quartets of Janáček and Smetana are often cited as the benchmarks against which other performances are judged. The quartet is also among the elite artists and ensembles whose performances have been selected for release on the Wigmore Hall Live label. Education has long been an important and rewarding facet of the quartet's work; in addition to its 2001 appointment as visiting professors of chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the four members regularly take part in residency activities alongside their performances. The quartet's spring 2013 US tour also includes appearances in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

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Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, "American," Allegro ma non troppo
Škampa Quartet

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  String Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 589, "Prussian"

The three quartets that Mozart wrote in 1789-1790 for the cello-playing Prussian monarch Friedrich Wilhelm II are his last and among his finest contributions to the genre. Roughly contemporaneous with the comic opera Così fan tutte and the Clarinet Quintet, K. 581, the "Prussian" Quartets combine elegance, wit, and virtuosity. Bravura writing for both the first violin and the cello gives the B-flat-Major Quartet an extra measure of sparkle.

PAVEL FISCHER  String Quartet No. 3, "Mad Piper"

True to his roots in what is now the Czech Republic, composer and violinist Pavel Fischer draws on a wide range of Moravian and other Eastern and Western European folk traditions in his three string quartets. The third, subtitled "Mad Piper," memorializes a Scottish soldier who risked his life on D-Day in 1944 by landing unarmed on a Norman beach and playing highland tunes on his bagpipes to bolster the morale of invading British forces.

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK  String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, Op. 96, "American"

In the mid-1890s, Dvořák spent parts of three years in the United States as director of the National Conservatory in New York City. During that happy period, he composed the "New World" Symphony, as well as a pair of chamber works that inevitably acquired the nickname "American": the String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, and the String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97. The former, written during an idyllic summer sojourn in Iowa, has long been one of the Bohemian composer's most popular works.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Quartets Plus.

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