The Kalabis Quintet was established in 2012 by students of the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Two years later it won First Prize and the title of Laureate at the Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf Competition in Vidnava. In 2015 the ensemble placed third at the prestigious international contest of wind quintets in Marseille, where it was also awarded the title of Laureate.
In 2016–19 the Kalabis Quintet was on the List of Young Artists of the Czech Music Fund. This allowed the ensemble to visit more than 100 stages in all parts of the Czech Republic over the course of three concert seasons. In July 2019 it won Third Prize at the Bucharest International Music Competition.
For its Prague Spring concert, the wind quintet has prepared works of the twentieth century with a broad range of emotions. The performance will open with Three Short Pieces by Jacques Ibert, full of playfulness and optimism. The grim atmosphere of Pēteris Vasks’ Music for a Deceased Friend is immediately apparent from the title, and it is enhanced by sections based on the singing of the female ensemble members. Six Bagatelles is one of the masterpieces of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. “These six brief movements contain perhaps every emotion imaginable. They weave impatience with melancholy, sorrow with sarcasm,” remarks the flautist Zuzana Bandúrová. In the Wind Quintet, Jaroslav Ježek, known mainly as a composer of popular songs for Prague’s former Liberated Theatre, is seen as a 25-year-old composer influenced by Igor Stravinsky and French Neo-Classicism. “In Barber’s Summer Music, it is impossible to overlook the brilliant instrumental tone painting, reinforced by the slightly embittered and sentimental tone of the composition as a whole,” Ms Bandúrová adds. Unadulterated optimism will close off the programme in Malcolm Arnold’s Three Shanties, which are based on motifs from sailors’ songs.