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Szymanowski Quartet Returning to Santa Barbara Museum of Art

The Szymanowski Quartet, a gifted and critically acclaimed Polish ensemble, will return to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for the seventh time for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 in the Mary Craig Auditorium, 1130 State St. in Santa Barbara.

Founded in Warsaw in 1995, the Szymanowski Quartet is one of the most exceptional and experienced international string quartets in the world of chamber music. The quartet has captivated audiences at prestigious festivals and concert halls worldwide, including Carnegie Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Vienna's Musikverein.

Their program includes Waclaw of Szamotuly's 4 Chorales, Haydn's Opus 33, No. 1, Szymanowski's Opus 56, No. 2 and Dvorák's String Quartet No.13 in G Major, Opus 106.

Tickets are $15 for Museum of Art members and $19 for nonmembers. Purchase tickets at the museum's Visitor Services desks or online by clicking here.

The Szymanowski Quartet has developed into one of the most exceptional international string quartets of its generation. Their sophisticated programs present a perfect balance between intellect and passion, characteristics with which the Szymanowski Quartet captivates its audiences at prestigious festivals and concert halls in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia and South America.

The quartet's extraordinarily high standard has been confirmed by numerous awards and distinctions. They took first prizes at the "Premio Vittorio Gui" Competition in Florence and the "In Memoriam Dimitri Schostakowitsch" in Hanover. They were prize winners at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. From 2001 to 2003, the Szymanowski Quartet participated in the "New Generation Artists Scheme" of BBC Radio 3 in London. In 2005 they were honored with the "Szymanowski Award" of the Karol Szymanowski Foundation in Warsaw, the only time ever given to a string quartet. In 2007 they were awarded the Medal of Honor by the Polish government for their service to Polish culture.

The ensemble is a regular guest at internationally renowned festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein and Rheingau, Mozartfest Würzburg, Bregenz and Schwetzingen, Niedersächsische Musiktage as well Lockenhaus, London, Cheltenham, Bath and Perth. In 2008 the Quartet founded the Lviv Chamber Music Festival, at the UNESCO World Heritage site on the border between the Ukraine and Poland. The Quartet's concerts take them throughout the work with performances in at major concert halls such as New York's Carnegie Hall, London's Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, Louvre in Paris and Konzerthaus in Stockholm. Regular tours to North America have brought appearances in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver and Montreal.

Along with standard classical-romantic repertoire, the Quartet has a strong commitment to contemporary music. It performs the music of Magnus Lindberg, Elena Kats-Chernin, Philip Cashian, Thomas Larcher and Andrew Toowey; some of whom have dedicated their works to the Szymanowski Quartet.

Recordings from several seasons of BBC concerts document the artistic versatility of the ensemble. More recently its recording of Haydn, Bacewicz and Dvorák was released on the Avie label as well as a classical / jazz crossover recording with "Pure Desmond". In spring 2009 the Quartet launched the record label Cavi-music, which focuses on their namesake, composer Karol Szymanowski, in the context of three music capitals: Paris, Vienna and Moscow.

The Szymanowski Quartet studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover with their teacher and mentor Hatto Beyerle. They continued to refine their performances working with Isaac Stern, Walter Levin and the following quartets: Amadeus, Emerson, Juilliard and Guarneri. Since 2000, they have been "Quartet in Residence" Musikhochschule Hanover.

— Katrina Carl is the public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

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