Rising star string quartet The Orava Quartet has been signed to Deutsche Grammophon Australia, Universal Music Australia has announced. The quartet – which has impressed audiences at festivals across Australia since returning from a residency with the legendary Takács Quartet in Colorado (and which is featured in the January/February issue of Limelight) – will release a disc of Tchaikovksy, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich on February 9 on the prestigious yellow label.

Orava QuartetThe Orava Quartet at the 2017 Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Photo © Andrew Rankin

“It’s tremendously humbling and an honour to record on this prestigious label. I have grown up listening to the great Deutsche Grammophon recordings, and without a doubt those recordings have helped shape me into the musician I am today,” said Daniel Kowalik, the Quartet’s first violin. “This is a dream come true for the Quartet; we’re deeply grateful for this opportunity and already looking forward to our next project.”

The Orava Quartet was founded in 2007 and is made up of Daniel Kowalik and David Dalseno on violins, Thomas Chawner on viola and Karol Kowalik on cello. The ensemble’s debut album, which was recorded across three days in June 2017 at Cannon Hill Anglican College in Brisbane, includes Tchaikovsky’s First String Quartet and Shostakovich’s Eighth, Rachmaninov’s two movements for string quartet and – as a bonus track – an arrangement by Richard Mills of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise for double string quartet with soprano Greta Bradman as soloist.

Orava QuartetCover art for the Orava Quartet’s debut album.

“I first heard the Orava Quartet when I attended the 2015 Musica Viva Huntington Estate Music Festival with my colleague Tom Ford,” said Cyrus Meher-Homji, Executive Producer and General Manager of Classics & Jazz at Universal Music Australia. “We had travelled there to hear the great Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair sing Schubert and Wolf Lieder. On the first evening, the Orava Quartet performed Shostakovich’s Sixth String Quartet and I was gobsmacked by their clarity and dedication to the work. The following day, they joined French violist Lise Berthaud in Mozart’s String Quintet in G Minor. Again, their articulate and uniform performance struck me as something special. Coupled with their distinct stage appearance, I knew there and then that we had to record an album with them.”

The quartet has a busy schedule of tour dates in 2018, including performances in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Wellington and at the Canberra International Music Festival.

Read Limelight’s feature on the Orava Quartet here.

The Orava Quartet’s debut album is out on Deutsche Grammophon Australia February 9. For the Quartet’s touring schedule click here.