“Flawless ensemble ... Among the Russian cultural treasures.”
- New York Times -
“Best CD of the month”
- Stereo Review -

“Russian music-making at its best”

- Boston Globe -

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 various festivals.

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 Arnold.

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 1995.

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


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