The Pražák Quartet was formed during the studies at the Prague Conservatory of its various members (1974-78).
In 1978, the Quartet won First Prize at the Evian International Competition and the Prague Spring Festival Prize the following year. Its members then decide to devote themselves entirely to a career of quartet players.
They worked at the Prague Academy (AMU) in Prof.’s chamber music class. Antonín Kohout, cellist of the Smetana Quartet, then with the Vlach Quartet, and finally at the University of Cincinnati with Walter Levine, the leader of the LaSalle Quartet. They then followed in the footsteps of groups wishing to become familiar with the modern repertoire, in particular the 2nd Vienna School.
Today, “Pražák” has become a household name in all of Central Europe’s repertoire, including works by Schönberg, Berg, Zemlinski and Webern, which they have programmed during their tours in Europe together with the quartets of the 1 ° School of Vienna, those of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, or that of Bohemia-Moravia of yesterday and today, the works of Dvořák, Smetana, Suk, Novák, Janáček, Martinů, Schulhoff, Feld … as well as contemporary composers whom they analyze in the light of their experience of the international repertoire, from Haydn to Dusapin (Quartet No. 4, dedicated to them). Following their exclusivity contract with the Praga Digitals label, they made themselves known worldwide and have definitively become the first international ensembles, like their American (Juilliard and LaSalle) and European (Albanian) elders. Berg Quartett). They realized an integral quartet of SCHÖNBERG (1995-2010), BERG, BEETHOVEN (2000-2004), BRAHMS (2005-6) which made them recognized globally as one of the most homogeneous ensembles of today and their interpretation, committed and virtuoso, was unanimous with the specialized critic.
In 2010, health reasons led Václav Remeš to leave the quartet; then it was the turn of his successor, Pavel Hůla, for similar reasons, during the 201-2015 season.
The members of the Pražák Quartet, like those of the Borodin Quartet many years ago, opened a new page of their career by betting on the youth and welcoming the excellent violinist Jana Vonášková as primarius. A graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, she has been a member of the Smetana Trio for 9 years.
After two years of intense activity to recover the repertoire in this new formation, the Quartet has found the international scene with great success. The ardor, freshness and agility of the youth join with the long experience of the founding members in favor of renewed sound and energy, remarkable cohesion and complicity. World tours in the United States, Japan and across Europe have sparked enthusiasm and numerous invitations.
The Pražák Quartet consists of:
Jana VONÁŠKOVÁ; 1 ° violin, playing on a Petr Sedláček (2010)
Vlastimil HOLEK, 2nd violin, playing on a Paolo Albani (1690) di Bolzano
Josef KLUSOŇ, viola, playing on Thomas Pilar (2006)
Michal KAŇKA, cello, playing on a Christian Bayon (Porto, 2006)