The Panocha Quartet was formed in 1968 by students of the Prague Conservatory. Their first great success came in 1975 at the International String Quartet Competition in Prague, where they were nominated as laureates of Competition. Quartet has performed regularly in nearly every country of Europe, as well as overseas. Since 1975 the Quartet has been twenty-five times to the USA and Canada, as well as playing also in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Israel, Mexico and elsewhere. The Quartet has participated in prominent international festivals, such as Edinburgh, Salzburg. Prague, Menton, Dubrovník, Tel Aviv, Kuhmo and Mondsee. It was awarded the Gold Medal in Bordeaux (1976) and the Gold Disc of Supraphon (1982). In 1983 was received the Grand Prix Academie Charles Cros in Paris for Its recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s Quartets Nos. 4 and 6. The Quartet places particular emphasis on Czech music, especially the works of Dvořák, Smetana, Martinů and Janáček. The Panocha Quartet’s extensive repertoire includes many Viennese classics, particularly the quartets of Joseph Haydn, Equally the Quartet’s programs often include the great Romantic quartets, as well as those of twentieth century masters such as Bartók and Shostakowitch. The Quartet has made many recordings on the Supraphon label. In the last years they finished the completion of all the chamber music works of Antonín Dvořák, they also played number of concerts with pianist, Andras Schiff. Their recordings of Dvořák’s quartet No. 10 “Slavonic” and The Cypresses were awarded the MIDEM Cannes Classical Awards. At the present they are completing recordings of all the chamber music of another Czech composer, Zdeněk Fibich. The Panocha Quartet toured extensively in USA, Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. The Panocha Quartet has already joined by the Czech (Bohemian) Quartet and continued by the Smetana, Janáček and Vlach Quartet.
Jiří Panocha, 1st violin
Comes from Kladno where he was born in 1950. He began playing the violin at the age of eight. Later, he attended the Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under professors Josef Micka and Jiří Novák, 1st violin of the famous Smetana Quartet. He took part in international courses (weimar) under outstanding violinists. During his studies, he also participated in several Czechoslovak competitions (1970–competition of the Czech Ministry of Culture. The following year in the international contest of the 1971 Prague Spring Festival, he won the third prize and title of laureate). He devoted his life to The Panocha Quartet since 1968. He is the founder of this quartet. He plays an Italian violin C. A. Testore (1743).
Pavel Zejfart, 2nd violin
Born in 1952 in Prague. He studied violin at the Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under professors Josef Micka and Nora Grumlíková. As a child he began playing the piano and to sing. During his childhood he also was the movie actor. He has been a member of The Panocha Quartet since 1968, and has toured and recorded with the quartet extensively in many countries. He plays a violin, Joseph Kloz (1807).
Miroslav Sehnoutka, viola
Born in 1952. He studied viola at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts under Milan Škampa, the distinguished viola of the Smetana Quartet. He has been a member of The Panocha Quartet since 1971 and has toured with the quartet on many visits to the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and most European countries. He plays an Italian instrument, Giuseppe Dall’ Aglio (1773).
Jaroslav Kulhan, violoncello
Born in 1950, comes from Ceské Budéjovice where he also took up the cello. In 1972, He graduated from the Prague Conservatory under Prof. Josef Chuchro. He continued his studies at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts under the same professor. Since 1968 he has been a member of The Panocha Quartet with which he has performed many concerts and made a considerable number of recordings for Spraphon, Panton, Denon and Teldec. He plays an Italian instrument, Aloysius Marconcini (1787).