The Orava Quartet has been hailed by Limelight magazine as “the most exciting young quartet on the block” and predicted by The Australian to become “one of Australia’s proudest cultural exports.” Known for their genuinely thrilling performances, the Quartet – brothers Daniel and Karol Kowalik (violin and cello), violinist David Dalseno and violist Thomas Chawner – bring their unique sound and breathtaking intensity to both the classics, and lesser-known jewels of the string quartet canon.
Selected by Deutsche Grammophon for its historic, first Australian recording release in 2018, received with widespread critical acclaim, Orava Quartet has performed throughout North America, the UAE, and Asia, as well as playing for Queen Sofia of Spain and Pope Benedict XVI. As graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado (USA), they worked closely with the world-renowned Takács Quartet from 2012-2014, and toured in the US including at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The Quartet made their debut at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall for VIVID Festival with Sufjan Stevens and won major awards at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition, including the Musica Viva Australia Tony Berg Award for ‘Most Outstanding Australian Ensemble’.
Orava Quartet has held residencies at Canada’s Banff Arts Centre, and Australia’s Bundanon Trust. Since returning to Australia as Quartet-in-Residence with Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra in 2014, the Orava Quartet has performed for New Zealand Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) and Huntington Estate Music Festival; Melbourne Festival and BBC Proms Melbourne; Queensland Music Festival, Canberra International Music Festival, for Sydney Opera House’ Utzon Music Series, Melbourne Recital Centre, and Musica Viva Australia. Touring to Canada in 2019, most recent engagements include Canberra International Music Festival, the North Australian Festival of Arts, Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival, Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival; concerts at UKARIA Cultural Centre, Melbourne Recital Centre, City Recital Hall (Sydney), and at HOTA Gold Coast with guitarist Karin Schaupp. In 2022 the Quartet also gave the world premiere of a new string quartet by Elena Kats-Chernin, and began a three-year residency with Bangalow Music Festival (NSW).
This year, Orava Quartet continues in its ninth year as ‘Quartet-in-Residence’ with Camerata, and in a similar ‘in-residence’ role at Bangalow Music Festival and Orange Chamber Music Festival. Highlights include an invited return tour to Canada to festivals in Québec and Ottawa, and the highly anticipated release of their second album for UMA/Deutsche Grammophon Australia, ‘Orawa’. They return to Brisbane Festival, Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival, the Blackheath Chamber Music Festival (NSW), and perform for Sydney Mozart Society, Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre and more.
Orava Quartet is grateful for the support of private sponsors through the Australian Cultural Fund thanks to Cultural Partnerships Australia; Universal Music Australia, the University of Colorado, Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Music Foundation, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation, Ernest Llewellyn Scholarship and Ars Musica Australis. www.oravaquartet.com
In April 2022, the Oravas are heading into the studio to record their much-anticipated second album. The Oravas are open to receiving donations through the Australian Cultural Fund to help support this project. Read more about the project here.
Review by Nicholas Routley (Australian Stage) of the Orava Quartet’s live performance at the Bangalow Music Festival 2016: “The Orava quartet … showed with this performance that they have arrived, not merely on the international scene, but somewhere near its apex. I have known and loved this quartet [Schubert D minor string quartet] for 60 years, and I have never heard a better performance of it. From the uncompromising non-vibrato of the opening phrase to the ineffable sweeties of the close of the slow movement; from the commitment to every note in the score to the tightness of the ensemble playing, which made the whole even greater than the sum of its brilliant parts; from the deep seriousness with which they approached the piece to the risks they successfully took with the terrifying textures of the tarantella finale – this was a complete performance, of one of the towering works in the entire string quartet genre. No-one who heard this performance will ever forget it.”
“Elegant style and musical maturity… an engaging sweetness of tone. That ease, of course, only comes with time and effort, and their impeccable balance and pinpoint intonation is clearly a product of intense listening… The hymn-like Adagio with its radiant tonal explorations found the group at their very finest… The Minuet with its softly chuntering cello solo (magical playing from Karol Kowalik) was a gas, the finale a riot of rip-roaring musical japery.” – Limelight Magazine, 2016 (live review)
- “The quartet is known for lively and passionate performances, and this was no exception…. a thoroughly enjoyable concert”The Creative Issue, July 2021live review, Brisbane Music Festival
- "The Oravas gave each harmony a different colour, so the harmonic changes became meaningful and profound. They are a quartet who excel at extremes, and this was particularly advantageous in this work. The quiet stillness of the opening, with just the harmonic changes gently emphasised, was atmospheric and beautiful. The full richness they achieved at the work’s centre was all-encompassing, carrying us with them on their journey from lost to found...” 4.5 starsLimelight Magazine, April 2021live review, Hobart Town Hall
- “[a] mighty debut on the renowned Yellow Label.”The Daily Telegraph, Feb 2018album review
- “beauty of tone, uniformity of style, phrasing, dynamics and vibrato, and a broad-sweep approach to musical architecture… Within the next decade, the Orava Quartet will surely take its place as one of the most accomplished string quartets on the planet, continuing in the great tradition of the genre, as well as becoming one of Australia’s proudest cultural exports.” 4.5 starsThe Australian, March 2018album review
- “world class”The Mercury, 2017live review
- “warmth of sound, sublime inner voicing and spontaneity”The Sydney Morning Herald