The Wihan Quartet has been described by International Record Review as:  ‘ one of the best quartets in the world today.’    The Quartet is celebrating 30 years since its formation in 2015 and over the years it has developed an outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage, and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire. 

The Quartet’s recording of Dvorak Op.34 / Op.105 was chosen as a ‘Recording of the Year’ by MusicWeb International and BBC Music Magazine said of their Dvorak Op.61 recording:   ‘This is the finest recorded performance I have encountered to date’ . 

photo: Makrlik.cz
The Wihan’s recent release of  Schubert G Major received an ‘Outstanding’ from International Record Review and a ‘Recommended’ from The Strad.   The Sunday Times said of the recording:  ‘This is playing of the highest quality from the Czech quartet. Their tempo for the opening movement is unusually broad, which allows you to savour to the full the harmonic richness of this extraordinary musiic.."
 
During the 2012/13 season the Quartet was Czech Chamber Music Society Resident Ensemble at the Rudolfinum Dvorak Hall, Prague.  In 2008 the Quartet completed the first ever cycle of Beethoven Quartets in Prague and also repeated this cycle at Blackheath Halls, London.  This landmark series of Beethoven concerts in Prague was recorded for release on CD and DVD for Nimbus Alliance and received many accolades.   

The Wihan Quartet has won many International Competitions including The Prague Spring Festival and the Osaka ‘Chamber Festa’.  In 1991, they won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the London International String Quartet Competition. Since that time they have developed an impressive international career, which includes visits to major festivals in Europe and the Far East. They visit Japan regularly and have had highly acclaimed tours of the United States, Australia and New Zealand.  They are also frequent visitors to the UK.

The Quartet are the ‘Richard Carne Quartet in Residence’ at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London and also coach at the Royal Academy of Music, London.  For several years they have taught many of the UK’s gifted young Quartets at Pro Corda in Suffolk and are also great supporters of the work of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, which gives inspirational concerts and master classes to young people in many parts of the UK.

Due to personal reasons, the charismatic and much loved viola player, Jiri Zigmund, is taking a sabbatical from the Wihan Quartet.  In his place the quartet have been very fortunate to find an excellent musician in Jakub Cepicky, son of Leos Cepicky.   Jakub has established a reputation in the Czech Republic as a fine violinst and viola player and he and Leos have performed together as soloists many times in recent years.

 
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The Wihan Quartet play on Thomastik-Infeld strings.
Thomastik-Infeld website
 
Leoš Čepický, 1st violin

Born in 1965, he started learning the violin at the age of six and took up the piano four years later. Following in his footsteps, both his son Jakub (b. 1990) and daughter, Elisabeth (b. 1995) play the violin and Leoš plays with his son in public performances as often as possible.

After spending 6 years at the Conservatoire in Pardubice, Bohemia, Leoš quickly made his mark as a violinist of remarkable talent and, on arriving in the Prague Academy of Performing Arts in 1985, became a founder member of the Wihan Quartet. He is now a much sought-after Professor of Violin at his Alma Mater.

During the early part of 2008, Leoš performed the Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Prokofiev and Beethoven violin concertos in the Czech Republic. In addition to his busy schedule with the Wihan Quartet, other forms of chamber music, such as the Trio with Gemma Rosefield and Michael Dussek, are also becoming important in his musical life.

In September 2010, Leoš Čepický was appointed Head of Strings at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts.
 
 
Jan Schulmeister, 2nd violin

Born in 1964 in Moravia, Jan comes from a very old musical family. His great-grandfather, Frantisek Cerny, was a friend and fellow pupil of Dvorak. His father taught violin until his retirement and his mother is a sought-after singing teacher. Another member of Jan's family, his great-uncle Vasa Cerny, was the founder and cellist of the famous Janacek Quartet as well as holding the position of first cellist in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.

After studying at the Conservatoire in Kromeriz, Jan arrived at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 1985, where he became a founder member of the Wihan Quartet, which was formed in that year. His hobbies revolve around music: he collects CDs, specialising in famous and unusual interpretations and reads widely about the history of music. His depth of knowledge is transmitted to his students at Trinity College of Music and at Pro Corda, where the Wihan Quartet give master classes several times a year.

 
 

Jakub Čepický, viola

Born in 1990, Jakub started playing the violin at the age of six.   After finishing his early music training in Prague, where he studied with Dagmar Zarubova, Jakub went to Prague's Academy of Performing Arts to study with his father Leoš Čepický and Prof. Ivan Štraus.   The first year of his master's degree was spent in Stockholm,  at the  Musikhögskolan Edsberg, with Per Enoksson.     Jakub  has played in many chamber ensembles and is a member of the leading Czech baroque ensemble 'Barocco Sempre Giovanne'. 

 
 

Aleš Kaspřík, cello

Born in 1962 in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), he was taken as a nine year old by his mother to watch a cello class and fell in love with the sound and shape of the cello. During his time at the Ostrava Conservatoire, he won the cello prize and met up with Jiří Žigmund.

In 1983, he arrived in Prague's Academy of Performing Arts to study with Milos Sadlo, the greatest Czech cellist of the period. It was his idea to form a string quartet in 1985. Ales invited Leoš Čepický and Jan Schulmeister to join him and a short while later the violist, Jiří Žigmund became the fourth member of the Wihan Quartet. Antonin Kohout, the cellist of the world famous Smetana Quartet became their guide and mentor, following the great traditions of the Czech composers, Janacek, Dvorak and Smetana.