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Arete String Quartet

In association with Czech Chamber Music Society.


  • Viktor Kalabis: String Quartet No. 4 “Ad honorem J. S. Bach“
  • Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 1 after Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata”
  • César Franck: String Quartet in D major


  • Arete String Quartet


200 - 500 CZK
21 5 2022
Saturday 20.00
Expected end of the event 21.50

Return to Rudolfinum

The clear winner of the 72nd annual Prague Spring International Music Competition in the string quartet category, the Arete String Quartet, thrilled the jury from the first round with its remarkable performances. “Their Janáček drove forwards from the opening bars; it was a beautiful musical retelling of Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata,” wrote the violinist Leoš Čepický, one of the competition jurors, for the server Operaplus. “They were the only finalists to choose Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in E minor Op. 59 No. 2. The music flowed beautifully, and I was just a bit sorry the quartet has only four movements”, he confided. In addition, the Korean quartet also won a number of the special prizes: the Prize of the Foundation of the Czech Music Fund for the best performance of the compulsory composition titled Four by Slavomír Hořínka, the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Prize, the Viktor Kalabis and Zuzana Růžičková Prize, the Gewa Music Prize, the Prize of the City of Prague, and the Czech Radio Prize.

Munich studies

It is hard to believe that the Arete String Quartet with violinists Chae-Ann Jeon and Dong-Hwi Kim, violist Yoon-sun Jang, and cellist Seong-hyeon Park was first established in September 2019. Just a year later it made its debut at the Kumho Art Hall Yonsei in Seoul, where their performance was carried live by the prestigious Korea Broadcasting System. Since then, they have given concerts including appearances at the hall of the PRAUM Musical Instrument Museum, the Seocho Chamber Music Festival, and the Guro Classic Festival, and they have presented themselves as part of the project The House Concert and in a concert series of Korea’s prestigious Kukje Art Hall. Their recent successes also include a special prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition (best performance of the composition UTA-ORI. Weaving Song for string quartet by the Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa), where the quartet also won a scholarship from the organisation Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland. In the past, the ensemble has worked with Jae-young Kim (Novus Quartet), and its members are currently studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich under the guidance of the conductor and violinist Christoph Poppen.

Viktor_Kalabis_FOTO Harmonie

The String Quartet No. 4 by Viktor Kalabis from 1983-84 is subtitled “Ad honorem J. S. Bach”. Although the work’s musical basis is the well-known cryptogram of the Baroque genius, its extramusical inspiration is from the poetry of William Shakespeare. The composer’s official allusion was to Hamlet’s famous soliloquy “To be, or not to be…”, but according to the memoirs of his wife, the legendary harpsichord player Zuzana Růžičková, the allusion is actually to the poet’s “Hamletesque” Sonnet No. 66, which is one of the most famous of all the sonnets.

Leos Janácek

Both string quartets by Leoš Janáček (1854–1928) represent a style of writing for a chamber ensemble of four string instruments which, from Ludwig van Beethoven’s late period onwards, became the means to convey the narratives of the composer’s intimate world.


Concluding the programme will be César Franck and his String Quartet in D Major. Written at the turn of 1889 and 1890, the work was a big success at its premiere on 19 April 1890 at La Société Nationale de Musique in Paris, making it, together with the Violin Sonata (which the Prague Spring Festival artist-in-residence Gautier Capuçon will perform in the version for cello and piano on 16 May), one of the few works for which the composer earned recognition during his lifetime.