Czech Quartet
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Czech Quartet
The Bohemian Quartet in 1895 - (L-R) Karel Hoffmann (1st violinist), Hanu? Wihan (violoncellist), Oskar Nedbal (violist), and Josef Suk (2nd violinist).
The Bohemian Quartet in 1907 by Hugo Boettinger

The Bohemian Quartet (Czech: '?eské kvarteto'; known as the Czech Quartet after 1918) was a Czech string quartet of international repute that was founded in 1891 and disbanded in 1934.


The Quartet was founded in Prague by three pupils of Antonín Bennewitz (Karel Hoffmann, Josef Suk and Oskar Nedbal) and a pupil of Hanu? Wihan (Otakar Berger); Bennewitz and Wihan were both teachers at the Prague Conservatory. Wihan had himself studied at Prague, and was cellist of the chamber quartet of Ludwig II in Munich, becoming Professor at Prague in 1888. He replaced his student Otakar Berger as cellist in the quartet when Berger died prematurely. Wihan then directed the Quartet until 1913 when the strain of touring obliged him to retire from it and resume his teaching. His place was then taken by Ladislav Zelenka (b. 1881), who since 1911 had been playing with the ?ev?ík-Lhotský Quartet. In 1906, the violist Nedbal had run off with Hoffmann's wife;[1] during the tour in England, his place was at short notice taken by Lionel Tertis and afterwards formally by Je?í Herold. The group made repeated tours in Europe, especially with the quartets of Dvo?ák and Smetana, and were noted for their warm tone and fiery rhythms. In 1922 the four members were appointed professors at the Prague Conservatory.

Many key contemporary works were written for and/or first performed by the Bohemian Quartet. Most notably, this included works by Antonín Dvo?ák and Leo? Janá?ek, such as Janá?ek's second string quartet, subtitled "Intimate Letters".


1st violin

2nd violin




  • Smetana: Quartet no. 1 in E minor (1876) (Polydor 78rpm, 95076-95079). (as 'Bohemian Quartet')
  • Smetana: Quartet no. 2 in D minor (1882) (Pathé 78rpm X 86005-86008) (Private recording for Czech Academy).
  • Dvo?ák: Quartet no 6 in F major op 96 (Polydor 78rpm, 95084-95086). (as 'Bohemian (Suk) Quartet')
  • Dvo?ák: Quartet no 3 in E flat major op 51, Dumka only (Polydor 78rpm, 95087).(ditto)
  • Suk: Quartet no 1 in B major op 11 (Polydor 78rpm, 95080-95083).


  • A. Eaglefield-Hull, A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians (Dent, London 1924).
  • -. Boleska, Ten Years of the Czech Quartet (M. Urbánek, Prague 1902).
  • J.R. Bennett, Smetana on 3000 Records (Oakwood Press 1974).
  • R.D. Darrell, The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (New York 1936).
  1. ^ John White: Lionel Tertis. The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola, Woodbridge 2006, p. 14.

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