The Quartet was formed in 1985 by graduates of the Leningrad
Conservatory under the guidance of Vladimir Ovcharek, first violinist
of the Taneyev String Quartet. Early in their musical career,
the Quartet (then called "String Quartet of the Leningrad
Conservatory Named after N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov") won 1st Prize
at the All-Soviet Union String Quartet Competition. Almost without
a moment's rest, they began preparing for the First International
Shostakovich Competition for String Quartets, held in Leningrad
in 1987. There the Quartet had considerable success, winning one
of the prizes, the title of Laureate, and the Special Prize for
the best performance of the required work, Shostakovich's Quartet
No.7. Due to these successes and positive press reviews, the Quartet
received several invitations to tour in the USSR and abroad. In
1987 the ensemble performed in concert halls throughout Russia,
made its first recordings for radio and TV, and participated in
Having gone through this "baptism of fire" in their
own country, the young quartet was given permission in 1989 to
take the name "Leningrad String Quartet" and to travel
to Tokyo to compete in the International Competition of Chamber
Ensembles. There they won the Silver Medal and a Special Prize.
In the summer of that same year, the Quartet visited the USA for
the first time, as Artists-in-Residence at the Musicorda Festival
and String Program in Massachusetts, which has become a regular
part of their musical life.
After a short rest in the mountains of New England, the Quartet
began preparing for a new competition-the Vittorio Gui International
Competition for Chamber Ensembles in Florence, Italy. There they
won not only the 1st Prize but both Special Prizes.
In July 1991, the Quartet set about preparing for its greatest
challenge yet- the International Competition for Chamber Ensembles
in Melbourne, Australia. There they had a brilliant success, returning
home with the First Prize and the "Grand Prix Musica Viva."
Intensive periods of international touring followed, with concerts
in Germany, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Lithuania, Japan, North and
South Korea, Taiwan, the Netherlands and the USA.
In August 1991, events took place in Russia which could not but
influence the life of all Russians, including the ensemble. Their
native city changed its name and so did the Quartet. Since September
1991 the group has been known as the St. Petersburg String Quartet.
Sony Classical launched their project of recordings by the St.
Petersburg String Quartet in Fall 1994 with the group's set of
the Complete Quartets of Tchaikovsky. In Spring of 1995 appeared
the two Borodin Quartets and the first installment (nos.3, 5 &
7) of the complete Shostakovich Cycle, which was nominated for
a Grammy Award in '96 and chosen "BEST RECORD OF THE MONTH"
in the November '95 Stereo Review.
In Summer of 1995, the Quartet spent two months in the USA, receiving
rave reviews and standing ovations at nearly 20 music festivals
including Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, the Sedona Festival
in Arizona, Mainly Mozart in San Diego, the Colorado, San Antonio
and Texas Music Festivals, Music Mountain in Connecticut, the
Princeton Music Festival in New Jersey, the Arcady Festival in
Maine, the Sewanee Festival in Tennessee and the Huntington Festival
in Long Island, NY, among others. In Autumn '95 the group played
24 concerts in the United States (from New York City to Honolulu),
receiving unanimous rave reviews. They also gave extremely successful
tours of Holland in Sept. '95 and Denmark in May '96.
In summer '96 the Quartet returned to the U.S. to perform to
standing-room-only houses and standing ovations at two months
of music festivals. They gave the opening concert at the Piccolo
Spoleto Festival in Charleston to a sold-out house and made their
Washington DC debut at the Smithsonian, receiving rave reviews
including one from the Washington Post.
The Quartet's Winter '97 tour included concerts at Yale University,
Cleveland Museum of Art, Merkin Hall and Columbia University's
Miller Theatre in NYC, as well as appearances in Massachusetts,
Michigan, California, Minnesota, Florida and Washington.
The Quartet's summer '97 tour included two months of performances
at music festivals including Caramoor (NY), Music Mountain (their
3rd summer in a row), Princeton (also their 3rd summer in a row),
Piccolo Spoleto, Mainly Mozart Miami, Mendocino Music Festival,
Colorado Music Festival, Killington, and many others.
The Quartet is in residence at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
in Ohio for the '97-98 year. The Delos label will launch an extensive
recording project with the Quartet in 1998. Alla Aranovskaya,
First Violinist, was born in 1958 in Leningrad. She began studying
the violin when she was six. After graduating from the St. Petersburg
Conservatory, she took a post-graduate course, and also played
in the Kirov Theatre Orchestra. In 1985, she won First Prize in
the USSR National String Players' Competition. Since 1989 she
has been a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She has
a son born in 1979. Besides her love for music she is keen on
pets, especially dogs, and has a champion German Shepherd named
Ilya Teplyakov, Second Violinist, was born in 1966 in
Leningrad, and began studying the violin at the age of five. At
six he entered the Conservatory school for gifted children, where
he was asked to be concertmaster of the school orchestra. Later,
while a student at the Conservatory, his study was interrupted
for army service. He was very pleased to leave the army and return
to his beloved music. He won many competitions and was concertmaster
of the Conservatory Orchestra. While still a student, he played
in the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and joined the St. Petersburg
String Quartet. He has two daughters, born in '88 and '94. He
devotes his spare time to family, home and management.
Konstantin Kats, Violist, was born in Leningrad in 1953.
He began to study violin at the age of 7, and viola at 14 at the
Conservatory School for talented children. Later he continued
his education at the Rimski-Korsakov St. Petersburg Conservatory.
After graduation, he was called for military service, and spent
two years in the army. After leaving the army, he won the competition
for the position of leader of the viola section of the Mussorgski
Opera and Ballet Theatre, which he held for 8 years. In 1981 he
won the Special Prize at the All-Union Competition for Violists
in Lvov, Ukraine. Besides his devotion to music he is a great
fan of theatre. He has one daughter, born in 1984. He was delighted
to join the St. Petersburg String Quartet in the beginning of
Leonid Shukaev, Cellist, was born in Leningrad in 1960.
He has been playing the cello since the age of seven. He studied
at Leningrad Conservatory both as an undergraduate and then, after
military service, as a post-graduate. At the same time, he played
in Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the winner of the
Conservatory Competition for Cellists. He has taught cello and
quartet playing at the Conservatory and at Rimsky-Korsakov College
of Music. He is fond of good musical instruments, and enjoys trying
out cellos made by different masters and studying other string
instruments. He has two sons, born in 1990 and 1997