Graffe Quartet from Czech Republic to perform Oct. 29

Graffe Quartet from Czech Republic to perform Oct. 29

The award-winning Graffe String Quartet from the Czech Republic will perform with renowned pianist Michiko Otaki at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in Baumgaertner Auditorium, Room 120, Brady Educational Center, south campus.

Featured on the program is a 1917 work by the Croatian composer, Antun Dobronić (1878-1955). After hearing his work performed at a European festival last summer, Dobronić's grandson, who lives in Rochester, Minn., was instrumental in having the Graffe Quartet invited to come to St. Paul.

This performance will be the United States premiere of the piece. The concert, presented through the cooperation of the University of St. Thomas' History and Music departments, is made possible through the support of the Croatian Cultural Society, the Czech and Slovak Cultural Society, STAR (St. Thomas Activities and Recreation) and the Allied Concert Services.

The Graffe Quartet was formed at the Brno Conservatory in 1997, and is winner of the 2008 prize for "Most Promising Young Ensemble" given by the Czech Chamber Music Society in Prague, under the auspices of the Czech Philharmonic. It is one of the most prestigious musical awards in Europe.

The quartet made its critically acclaimed American debut in 2007 with an extensive tour, including appearances at major halls in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. With pianist, Michiko Otaki, they recorded piano quintets by Schumann and Martinů that received the highest rating of "5 Clefs" from the critics of the Czech Radio review program, "Rondo."

The Graffe Quartet also has performed throughout the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Iceland and the UK. They played at the ceremony during which Václav Havel, then President of the Czech Republic, received an honorary doctorate from the Janáček Academy of Music Arts.

Otaki , director of keyboard studies at Clayton State University in Atlanta, has performed throughout the United States and Europe with such major international soloists and ensembles as the Kodály String Quartet, violist Roger Chase, Brno Chamber Soloists, Swiss and Warsaw Wind Quintets, and the Pilsen Philharmonic.

In addition to the Dobronić work, the all-Slavic Twin Cities program features the beloved "Piano Quintet" of Antonín Dvořák and a late Romantic work by Vítězslav Novák, who was a student of Dvořák and the teacher of Dobronić. Complete program information is listed below.

Tickets for the concert are $12 in advance and $15 at the door ($10 for members of sponsoring organizations; $5 for students; free for UST students with ID). Buy tickets online at the UST Box Office Web site.

For information, contact Vanča Schrunk, (651) 962-5740.

Visit the Graffe Quartet Web site and Otaki's Web site for further information.

Graffe String Quartet:

  • Štěpán Graffe, violin
  • Lukáš Bednařík, violin
  • Lukáš Cybulski, viola
  • Michal Hreňo, violoncello
  • With Michiko Otaki, piano


  • String Quartet No. 1 ("The Song of Related Souls") [1917], Antun Dobronić (1878-1955)
  • String Quartet No. 2 in D major, op. 35 [1905], Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949)
  • Quintet for Piano and Strings in A major, op. 81, Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)