„The Kocian Quartet is a particularly strong team: perfectunanimity, plenty of
forthright thrust, a big, warm sound, clean musicianship with flashes of imagination. They
are extremely satisfying to hear.“
Financial Times, London
„ **** / four stars out of possible four / “
“The members of the Kocian Quartet interpret with decisive purposefulness and
passionate conviction Franck’s String Quartet in D major”
The Strad, January 2001
The Kocian Quartet was founded in 1972 and trained by Professor Antonin Kohout, cellist of the Smetana Quartet. In 1975 the groop took the name of the violin virtuoso and teacher Jaroslav Kocian [ 1883- 1950 ] who was, like Jan Kubelik, a world ? famous pupil of the violinist Otakar Sevcik. All members of the Quartet are graduates of the Prague Academy of Music: First violinist Pavel Hula was twice winner of the Kocian violin competition, second violinist Milos Cerny was a member of Prague Chamber Orchestra, Zbynek Padourek, viola, was a member of the Czech Nonet until 1992, cellist Vaclav Bernasek was winner of the Vienna cello competition in 1967 and principal cellist of the Prague FOK Symphony Orchestra until 1980.
The Kocian quartet has played a prominent role in Czech concert life, in the programmes of the Prague Spring Festival, cycles of the Czech Philharmonic and the Czech Society for Chamber Music. They have toured in 35 countries in Europe, USA and Japan. In 1992 they performed first time at the Wigmore Hall in London and made their BBC Radio debut.
The repertoire of the Kocian quartet concentrates on the basic classics [Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms ] and specializes in Czech works by Smetana, Dvorak, and the 20th- century composers Janacek and Martinu. They also concentrate on contemporary Czech music and have given premieres of many works by living composers.
The discography of the Kocian Quartet is very important. For Denon - Nippon Columbia they recorded Mozart’s Quartets No.14-23 and four last Dvorak’s quartets, for Supraphon complete chamber works of Erwin Schulhoff, for Orfeo [Germ.] Haydn op.20 and String Quartets of Z.Fibich. In 1996 they started the cooperation exclusive with the French label Praga Digitals, distrib. Harmonia Mundi with many interesting projects - for ex. String Quartets by the Terezin composers Krasa,Ullmann and Haas, Bloch Piano Quintets, String Quartets by Franck and Lalo. In 2005 they recorded Haydn String Quartets op.74, Martinu String Quartets No.2, 4 and 5 and Mendelssohn Piano sextet and String Octet. (with members of the Prazak Quartet)
In 1997 the Kocian Quartet were awarded the Grand Prix International du Disque Charles Cros in Paris for their recordings of the complete String Quartets of Paul Hindemith.
In 2002 the Kocian Quartet celebrated its 30th anniversary season, highlighted by a North American tour including a performance at the Library of Congress in Washington, and performances in Toronto, Tokyo, Prague for Czech Philharmonic, in Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Montpellier Festival, Bangkok, in Spain and Switzerland.
In 2005 the Kocian Quartet were awarded the "Diapason d´or de 2005" in Paris for the recording of Mendelssohn Octet and Piano sextet as a best chamber music recording of the year.