The Zagreb Guitar Quartet was founded in 1990 by Ante Čagalj, one of the leading guitar teachers in Croatia. Čagalj assembled the Quartet from his students and he is still the ensemble’s artistic director. The Quartet’s current members are Tomislav Vasilj, Krunoslav Pehar, Melita Ivković and Frane Verbanac.
This experienced ensemble of young musicians has given a multitude of concerts in Croatia and in other countries, from Canada to India, from Russia to South Africa – including appearances at the Austrian Parliament in Vienna, Pontificio instituto di musica sacra in Rome, Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi, Teatro Verdi in Trieste and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow. It has successfully appeared at several prestigious international competitions, winning first prize at Trofeo Kawai in Tortona, Italy (1996) and at Simone Salmaso in Viareggio, Italy (1998), as well as the Grand Prix at the Ghitaralia Festival Competition in Przemysl, Poland (1998, when Zbigniew Dubiella wrote in Swiat Gitary: For more than few years I haven’t heard something so exciting - after their performance, all that one could do was to get out and scream: Viva guitarra!). At the Varaždin Baroque Evenings in 1998, the Quartet won the Ivan Lukačić Award for the best performance of the festival.
Two years later at this same festival, the Quartet treated the audience to the world premiere of Bach’s The Art of the Fugue arranged for four guitars, receiving rave reviews from Colin Cooper, the editor of the well-known magazine Classical Guitar: it was one of the most extraordinary and vivid experiences including the guitar I can remember.
The Quartet has mastered a huge repertoire ranging from Renaissance and Baroque masters to contemporary composers. It is not afraid to make excursions into jazz and other music, and has made brilliant arrangements of traditional compositions from the Croatian coast and mainland. The Zagreb Guitar Quartet members are also distinguished by the special attention they pay to living Croatian composers amongst whom Željko Brkanović, Miroslav Miletić, Anđelko Klobučar, Vlado Sunko, Adalbert Marković, Sanda Majurec, Tomislav Uhlik, Ivo Josipović, Krešimir Seletković and Ivan Josip Skender have all dedicated original works to this artistically inquisitive ensemble.
In 2005 the Zagreb Guitar Quartet has released the CD Da fuga a milonga, published by the Zagreb Concert Agency. The complete repertoire of, and basic information and news about the Zagreb Guitar Quartet have been available since 2001 at www.guitar4.com
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