The Orava Quartet, founded in 2007 by Daniel Kowalik (violin), Karol Kowalik (cello), and Thomas Chawner (viola), and joined in 2011 by David Dalseno (violin), is one of the most exciting string quartets of its generation. Known for their passionate and engaging performances, they have been hailed as, “in terms of the future of Australian Chamber Music, the real deal.”
Orava has been invited to perform in Canada, China, United States, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines, as well as for Queen Sofia of Spain and Pope Benedict XVI. They were the graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado, in the United States, from 2012-2014, where they had the privilege of working closely with the world-renowned Takács Quartet for two years. In addition, the Quartet were selected to be part of the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City, and performed at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. and extensively across the USA. This period also saw them win the Musica Viva Australia Tony Berg Award for ‘Most Outstanding Australian Ensemble’, the Peter Druce Audience Prize at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition in Melbourne, and perform at the Sydney Opera House.
Since their return to Australia and based in Brisbane as Ensemble-in-Residence with Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, the Quartet has made an impressive and rapid rise to national attention. Earning a reputation for consistently excellent and thrilling performances, the Quartet has been increasingly sought-after for major festivals throughout Australia, which have included recently the BBC Proms in Melbourne (for which they were named one of the ‘2016 Arts Highlights of the Year’ by arts luminary, Robyn Archer; Musica Viva Festival, Melbourne Festival (where they were again one of the ‘Top 10 Picks’ of the Festival, in the Herald Sun), and Brisbane Baroque, Bangalow and Port Fairy Spring Music Festivals, among others.
Following highly-praised performances in 2016 at both the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the Huntington Estate Music Festival, including collaborations with Wolfgang Holzmair and Lise Berthaud, they return to both events in 2017. Highlights of the current season also include Queensland Music Festival, Bleach Festival (Gold Coast), Newcastle Music Festival, and featured subscription concerts as part of Camerata’s 2017 season. This year Orava also records their debut album, for worldwide release on a major international label in late 2017/early 2018.
In addition to the University of Colorado, the quartet has held residencies at the Banff Arts Centre in Canada, and the Bundanon Trust Artist-in-Residence program in Australia, and studied with members of the Jerusalem, Emerson, St Lawrence, Schoenberg, Julliard, Brentano and Goldner String Quartets. Mentored during their undergraduate studies by Uzi Wiesel, Janet Davies and Ole Böhn, the quartet collaborate frequently with prominent Australian musicians such as the Goldner Quartet, Piers Lane, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Katie Noonan, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Slava Grigoryan, Karin Schaupp and William Barton.
Orava are grateful for the support of several organisations, including the University of Colorado, the Australia Council for the Arts, Australia Music Foundation, Musica Viva, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation, Ernest Llewellyn Scholarship and Ars Musica. Daniel, David and Thomas play on instruments by contemporary American luthiers David Gusset and Ryan Soltis, and Karol on a French, 19th century cello.