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Panocha Quartet

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Biography

Czech string quartet, formed in 1968, while its members were still students at Prague Conservatory. 1975 won 1st prize at the Prague Spring International String Quartet Competition. In 1968 a group of four talented student string players at the Prague Conservatory formed the Panocha Quartet. The name they chose comes from the ensemble’s lead member, first violinist Jiri Panocha. The group’s other players are violinist Pavel Zejfart, violist Miroslav Sehmoutka, and cellist Jaroslav Kulhan. Naturally, the Panocha Quartet occasionally expands or contracts its number to accommodate different-sized works, using pianists, double bass players, harmonium players, and various other instrumentalists.

The Panocha Quartet built its reputation steadily in the early years of its career, achieving its first significant breakthrough in 1975 at the Prague International String Quartet Competition, where the group captured first prize. Other important awards and citations followed quickly, including the Bordeaux Gold Medal in 1976. The first recordings began attracting attention in the coming years, and for these early efforts the group received several awards, including the Paris-based Grand Prix Academy Charles Cros in 1983. This latter honor was given for a critically acclaimed Supraphon disc of the Martinu Fourth and Sixth quartets.
In the latter decades of the twentieth century and the early years of the new millennium, the Panocha Quartet concertized busily, traveling to festivals and concert halls throughout Europe, Israel, Japan, Australia, and numerous exotic locales, as well.

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