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Wihan Quartet

Leoš Čepický and Jan Schulmeister (violins), Jakub Čepický (viola) and Michal Kaňka (cello)

The Wihan Quartet is one of the leading string quartets to emerge from the great Czech school of performance in recent years. Praised by the New York Times for possessing a sound that is ‘deeply pleasurable and also deeply traditional’ and called ‘one of the world’s finest chamber ensembles’ by BBC Music Magazine, the quartet has gained an extraordinary reputation for its interpretation of the Czech domestic repertoire and beyond.

The Quartet is in demand as an exponent of the foremost works of the quartet repertoire of the Classical and Romantic periods, as well as modern works, and looks forward to returning to Wigmore Hall in June, following their residency at the Salzburg String Quartet Festival for Martin Randall in May. The quartet perform regularly in the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom, and previous seasons have included tours and appearances at major festivals throughout Europe, the United States, East Asia and Australia.

Formed in 1985, the Wihan Quartet was mentored by Antonin Kohout, cellist of the Smetana Quartet, and takes its name from the celebrated Czech cellist Hanuš Wihan. Winners of the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the 1991 London International String Quartet Competition, the quartet is a laureate of many international competitions, including the Prague Spring Festival and Osaka Chamber Festa. Past career highlights include a period as the Czech Chamber Music Society Resident Ensemble at the Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall, Prague, and their years as Richard Carne Quartet in Residence at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

The Wihan Quartet is respected for its world-class recordings and has been described by International Record Review as ‘one of the best quartets in the world today’. With over twenty-five recordings to their credit, the quartet has received international critical acclaim. Their recent Smetana and Dvořák recording was awarded 5 stars from BBC Music Magazine, while their 2020 collaboration with pianist Mimi Shikimori of Franck and Fauré quintets was hailed by the Sunday Times as a ‘deeply satisfying disc’. The quartet’s landmark cycle of the Beethoven Quartets in Prague, subsequently repeated in London, was recorded for release on CD and DVD for Nimbus Alliance and received many accolades. In 2017 they made the world premiere recordings of six new quartets as part of their album ‘Kol Nidrei: Elegy for Pamela’.

They are great supporters of the work of the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust, regularly giving inspirational concerts and master classes to young people in many parts of the UK.

In 2025 the Wihan Quartet celebrates its fortieth anniversary. With only two changes in personnel over the course of their career, the quartet’s remarkable consistency has been the object of much admiration, with The Times noting their “insight of long, deep mutual experience”. Founder members Leoš Čepický and Jan Schulmeister were joined by violist Jakub Čepický in 2014 and cellist Michal Kaňka the following year, succeeding original members Jiří Žigmund and Aleš Kaspřík.

Last updated: 4 Jun 24
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21/07/2024