The Ševčík Quartet was founded in June 2020 in Prague. From the beginning, the quartet has played in the following composition: 1. Violin – Pavla Tesařová, 2. Violin – Michael Foršt, Viola – Matouš Hasoň, Cello – Martin Houdek. The quartet has been studying at the Prague Conservatory with Radek Křižanovský (Apollon Quartet) since 2020, and in 2021 it continued its previous studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with Štěpán Ježek (Bennewitz Quartet). Three of the quartet members are also studying their major disciplines at HAMU in Prague. Pavla Tesařová studies in the class of Pavel Kudelásk, Matouš Hasoň with Karel Untermüller and Martin Houdek with Tomáš Strašil. Michael Foršt is studying at the German Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden with Hellen Weiß.
The founding members of the quartet are talented and gifted performers of the young musical scene, in June 2021 they won first prize at the Talents for Europe competition, reached the semifinals of the Prague Spring competition and also reached the finals of the Italian Societa Umanitaria competition. The Ševčík Quartet also took part in several master classes, in France at the Musique ala Flaine with Maria Chilemme (Quatuor Ebene), in Germany at the Jenuesses Musicales Deutschalnd (Cuarteto Casals), at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with the Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) . The ensemble also took part in a project organized by Musethica in Barcelona, where they performed repeatedly Brahms sextet together with Jonathan Brown and Eric Wise. Ševčík Quartet is developed under the supervision of players from the best Czech and foreign chamber ensembles, among them, in addition to Štěpán Ježek, Petr Holman (Zemlinsky Quartet), Günter Pichler (Alban Berg Quartet, Jonathan Brown (Cuarteto Casals) and Yovan Markovitch (Quatuor Danel) and others.
Why Ševčík Quartet?
The ensemble is named after one of the best-known Czech violin teachers, Otokar Ševčík, the author of numerous volumes of string exercises, which help us to improve our technique. This way, we would like to pay homage to Ševčík and also raise the awareness of him in the Czech Republic, because, despite being renowned abroad, in his homeland, the name still does not have the recognition it deserves. The name also alludes to the Ševčík-Lhotský quartet, which was formed predominantly by Ševčík’s students and was one of the first chamber music ensembles that gained international recognition.
Otakar Ševčík (1852 Horažďovice – 1934 Písek)
Otakar Ševčík is considered one of the most prominent violin players and teachers from the Czech republic. His violin teaching method gained him an international reputation. Among his students were, for example, Jan Kubelík, Jaroslav Kocian, or Emanuel Ondříček; Ševčík was also a tutor of violinists like Mary Hall, Erika Morini or Vladimir Reznikov.
Ševčík was born a son of a teacher and choirmaster Josef Ševčík, who guided his first steps in music. Aged 10, Otakar left his hometown to study at a grammar school in Prague, and only four years after that, he was admitted to the Prague Conservatory, where he studied under Antonín Sitt and Antonín Bennewitz, who regarded Ševčík as one of his most gifted students.
Ševčík worked as a tutor at Mozarteum University in Salzburg for three years, later he accepted an offer to teach at a conservatory in Kyiv and also visited the United States on several occasions. In 1901, he became a teacher at the Prague Conservatory. The then Director of the Conservatory, Antonín Dvořák, implemented Ševčík’s violin teaching method as a part of the curriculum. In 1909, Ševčík was named a professor of violin at The University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he worked until 1918. During his life, Ševčík composed volumes of string exercises and a complex, progressive violin teaching methodology.