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 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. (a concert “beautifully calculated and coordinated – time and motion seemed to defy the laws of physics” ) and extensively across the USA. This period also saw them win the Musica Viva Australia Tony Berg Award for most outstanding Australian ensemble, and the Peter Druce Audience Prize, at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition.
The quartet has been based in Brisbane since late-2014, as the quartet-in-residence with the Camerata -Queensland's Chamber Orchestra. Since their return to Australia, major events have included the Musica Viva Festival, Melbourne Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and Huntington Estate Festival. Following highly-reviewed performances at the latter, including collaborations with Wolfgang Holzmair and Lise Berthaud.
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. The quartet was 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, as well as collaborating with prominent Australian musicians including Piers Lane, Tamara Anna Cislowska, Goldner Quartet, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Kristian Chong, Slava Grigoryan, Karin Schaupp and William Barton.
Orava are grateful for the support of several organisations, including the University of Colorado, the Australia Council for the Arts, Australia Music Foundation, 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.