The Orava Quartet, founded in 2007 by Daniel Kowalik (violin), Karol Kowalik (cello), and Thomas Chawner (viola), and joined in 2011 by David Dalseno (violin), is one of the most exciting string quartets of its generation. Known for their passionate and engaging performances, they have been hailed as, “in terms of the future of Australian Chamber Music, the real deal.”
Orava were the graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado, in the United States, from 2012-2014. In addition to the privilege of working closely with the world-renowned Takács Quartet for two years, the quartet were selected to be part of the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar in New York City, and performed at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. and extensively across the USA. This period also saw them perform at the Sydney Opera House, win the Musica Viva Australia Tony Berg Award for ‘Most Outstanding Australian Ensemble’, and also the Peter Druce Audience Prize at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition.
Since their return to Australia, the quartet has been based in Brisbane, as the Quartet-in-Residence with Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra. Earning a reputation for consistently excellent and thrilling performances, the Quartet has been increasingly sought-after for major festivals throughout Australia, which have included recently the BBC Proms in Melbourne (for which they were named one of the ‘2016 Arts Highlights of the Year’ by arts luminary, Robyn Archer; Musica Viva Festival, Melbourne Festival (where they were again one of the ‘Top 10 Picks’ of the Festival, in the Herald Sun), and Brisbane Baroque, Bangalow and Port Fairy Spring Music Festivals, among others.
In 2017 they enjoy return invitations to the Huntington Estate Music Festival and Australian Festival of Chamber Music, following highly-reviewed performances at the latter, including collaborations with Wolfgang Holzmair and Lise Berthaud. Other highlights of the current season include Queensland Music Festival, Bleach Festival (Gold Coast), Newcastle Music Festival, and featured subscription concerts as part of Camerata’s 2017 season. Orava also record their debut album for a major international label this year, scheduled for release in early 2018.
Orava has been invited to perform in Canada, China, United States, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines, as well as for Queen Sofia of Spain and Pope Benedict XVI. They collaborate frequently with prominent Australian musicians including the Goldner Quartet, Piers Lane, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Elena Kats-Chernin, Greta Bradman, Deborah Humble, Jayson Gillham, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Slava Grigoryan, Karin Schaupp and William Barton.
During their undergraduate studies, mentored by Uzi Wiesel, Janet Davies and Ole Böhn, the quartet also held residencies at the Banff Arts Centre in Canada and the Bundanon Trust Artist-in-Residence program, and studied with members of the Jerusalem, Emerson, St Lawrence, Schoenberg, Julliard, Brentano and Goldner String Quartets.
Orava are grateful for the support of several organisations, including the University of Colorado, the Australia Council for the Arts, Australia Music Foundation, Musica Viva, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation, Ernest Llewellyn Scholarship and Ars Musica. Daniel, David and Thomas play on instruments by contemporary American luthiers David Gusset and Ryan Soltis, and Karol on a French, 19th century cello.