Szymanowski Quartet - Biography

Szymanowski Quartet © Malgorzata Popinigis

Szymanowski Quartet

Agata Szymczewska - violin

Robert Kowalski - violin

Volodia Mykytka - viola

Monika Leskovar - cello

With sophisticated programmes that always maintain their balance between intellect and passion, the Szymanowski Quartet captivates its audiences in major concert halls and festivals throughout the world. Along with their standard classical-romantic repertoire, the Warsaw-founded quartet’s strong commitment to contemporary music includes music by Krzysztof Penderecki, Sofia Gubaidulina, Magnus Lindberg and other composers, several of whom dedicated their works to the quartet.

The ensemble performs throughout the world in major concert halls: New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Konzerthaus in Berlin and Shanghai Symphony Hall. The Szymanowski Quartet is a regular guest at prominent international festivals including Schleswig-Holstein and Rheingau, "Schubertiade" and Schwetzingen as well as Lockenhaus, Paris, London, Warsaw, Moscow, Cheltenham, Basel, Bath, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver and Perth.

The Szymanowski Quartet received guidance by its musical mentors Hatto Beyerle, Alfred Brendel and Seiji Ozawa. Further important impulses came from Isaac Stern, Walter Levin, the Amadeus- and Emerson- , the Juilliard- and the Guarneri Quartet. The ensemble has received numerous prizes and awards from major international competitions including those in Osaka and Melbourne, the “New Generation Artists Scheme” of BBC Radio 3 in London, as well as the Polish “Szymanowski Award”, which was given to a string quartet for the first time.

Between 2009 and 2015 the Quartet launched a recording series of 3 CDs on Cavi-music record label, focusing on composer Karol Szymanowski in the context of the music capitals Paris, Vienna and Moscow. Earlier records include works by Haydn, Bacewicz und Dvorak, M. Weinberg’s piano quintet (Hänssler Classic) and two albums featuring works by Zelenski and Zarebski as well as Friedman and Rózycki (Hyperion). The latest releases of Szymanowsky Quartet are, both dating to 2017, the Piano quintet of Dmitri Shostakovich with Michail Lifits (Decca Records) and „Les Vendredis“, a collection of 16 miniatures for string quartet from Belaiev's legendary Fridays with guest composers and friends (SWR Classic).

Most recently the Szymanowski Quartet performed on tours through Northern America, Asia and Spain as well as for instance at London Wigmore Hall, in Warsaw and Alte Oper Frankfurt.