The Szymanowski Quartet is a string quartet founded in 1995 in Warsaw. Given their worldwide career, they are recognized as the ambassadors of Polish music on an international level. A significant place in their repertoire is reserved for the composer the ensemble is named after, Karol Szymanowski. The quartet’s current members are Agata Szymczewska (violin), Grzegorz Kotów (violin), Volodia Mykytka (viola), and Marcin Sieniawski (cello).
The Szymanowski Quartet performs throughout the world in major concert halls such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Konzerthaus in Berlin and Musikverein in Vienna. The ensemble has given concerts at prominent international festivals including BBC Proms, Schleswig-Holstein Musik, Rheingau Musik, Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, Schubertiade and Lockenhaus Kammermusikfest. In 2008 they launched an international chamber music festival Szymanowski Quartet and Friends held in Lviv, Ukraine, and they regularly tour around the United States, Canada and Asia. They also travel to South America and Australia.
The ensemble collaborates closely with other eminent artists such as pianists Rudolf Buchbinder, Joseph Kalichstein, and Alfred Brendel and composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Sofia Gubaidulina and Magnus Lindberg. They have also performed pieces by Elena Kats-Chermin, Philip Cashian, and Andrew Toowey.
The Szymanowski Quartet has received numerous prizes and distinctions for its remarkable performance. The musicians were awarded first prize at the Premio Vittorio Gui Competition in Florence as well as Classica Nova In Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich in Hanover. They also won prizes at both the Osaka and Melbourne International Chamber Music Competitions. In the 2001/2002 season the ensemble was invited to take part in BBC Radio’s programme New Generation Artists. In 2005 they received the Szymanowski Prize awarded by the Karol Szymanowski Foundation and in 2007 they were awarded the "Meritorious for Polish Culture" decoration of honour.
- Brahms & Mozart. Quintets, BBC Music, 2002
- Haydn, Bacewicz, Dvořák. String Quartets, Avie-Records, 2005
- The Meeting of Minds (in collaboration with Pure Desmond), 2009
- Paris. Szymanowski - Ravel - Laks, Avi-Music, 2009
- Vienna. Beethoven - Schubert - Szymanowski - Webern, Avi-Music, 2010
- Dmitry Shostakovich, Mieczysław Weinberg. Piano Quintets (in collaboration with Matthiasem Kirschnereitem), Hänssler Classic, 2011
- Zarębski: Piano Quintet; Żeleński: Piano Quartet (in collaboration with Jonathanem Plowrightem), Hyperion Records, 2012
- Moscow. Szymanowski - Prokofiew - Tchaikovsky - Skoryk, Avi-Music, 2015
Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, Polish Music Information Centre, November 2006. Translated by Agnieszka Grzybowska.
Updated: March 2016, Agnieszka Grzybowska