Orava Quartet

String quartet

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 – have been bringing their unique sound and breathtaking intensity to both the classics, and lesser-known jewels of the string quartet canon since 2011. Orava Quartet also regularly performs new works by contemporary and Australian composers including Elena Kats-Chernin, Paul Dean, Ross Edwards, and more.

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 and Huntington Estate Music Festival; Melbourne Festival and BBC Proms Melbourne (for which they were named one of the ‘2016 Arts Highlights of the Year’ by arts luminary, Robyn Archer); Queensland Music Festival, Melbourne Festival (where they were again one of the ‘Top 10 Picks’ of the Festival, in the Herald Sun); Canberra International Music Festival, for Sydney Opera House’ Utzon Music Series, Melbourne Recital Centre, and Musica Viva Australia.

Touring to Canada in 2019 and again in 2023 for summer festivals in regional Québec and Ottawa, recent engagements included Brisbane Festival, a return to Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival, Orange Chamber Music Festival (NSW), and Sydney Mozart Society. Chamber collaborations included with guitarist Slava Grigoryan, and pianist Stefan Cassomenos, along with a four-city tour with young Polish pianist, Aleksandra Swigut, marking the 90th anniversary of Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki’s birth and almost 120 years from Polish pianist and statesman, Jan Paderewski’s concert tour of Australia. Other recent highlights have included the North Australian Festival of Arts, 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).

In 2024, Orava Quartet proudly continues in its tenth year as ‘Quartet-in-Residence’ with Camerata, and in a similar ‘in-residence’ role at Blackheath Chamber Music Festival (NSW). Other festival appearances include a return to Sunshine Coast (QLD), Tyalgum, and Orange Chamber Music Festivals, debuts at Bowral Autumn Music Festival (NSW) and Coriole Music Festival (SA) and performances for Musica Viva Tasmania, for Melbourne Recital Centre with the world premiere of a string quartet by celebrated Australian composer, Paul Dean, and a collaboration with William Barton for Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra. The Quartet will tour to Europe in 2025.

In October 2023, the Quartet released its long-awaited, critically acclaimed second album for Deutsche Grammophon (and Universal Music Australia), called ‘ORAWA’ which topped both the ARIA Classical and Crossover/Classical charts, and remained in the top 20 on both charts for several weeks. Praised as “dazzling” (Limelight) and “masterly” (Daily Telegraph), the album was dedicated to the quartet’s mentor, Uzi Wiesel, and featured music by Dmitri Shostakovich, Erwin Schulhoff, Luke Howard and Wojciech Kilar, including the group’s namesake work, ‘Orawa’.

Orava Quartet is grateful for the support of private sponsors through the Australian Cultural Fund thanks to Creative 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. Orava Quartet proudly plays on Larsen Strings.


Latest News

Orava Quartet celebrate their 10th year as ‘Quartet-in-Residence’ with Camerata, Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, with concerts coming up on 19 Sept (Toowoomba) and 20 Sept (The Edge, State Library of QLD, Brisbane). Tickets on sale soon.

ORAWA, the Orava Quartet’s long-awaited second album for UMA/Deutsche Grammphon released to critical acclaim. Dedicated to their late mentor, Uzi Wiesel, the album features works that have deep significance for the quartet including Kilar’s Orawa (from which they drew their name), Shostakovich’s String Quartet no.6, alongside music by Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff and Australian neo-classical composer, Luke Howard. Buy/ download/ stream the album here.

  • Performances are as tight and committed as you’d expect from these guys. … There is a nice balance, too, between competing energies in the Kilar, between metronomic propulsion and raucous rusticity. … It has, as they say, been worth the wait.”
    Limelight, October 2023
  • “This is a very personal collection by the group and is guaranteed to win them some new friends as well as pleasing those who, like me, have been following their progress for 15 years. … The [Quartet] bring all their maturity and authority to bear in a masterly performance of the Shostakovich’s monumental four-movement work. You won’t hear it better played.”
    The Daily Telegraph, December 2023
Client:Orava Quartet