The Pavel Haas Quartet, formed in 2002, has become its generation's representative of the tradition of great Czech string quartets. It takes its name from that of Czech composer Pavel Haas, who died in Auschwitz in 1944. The founding members were violinists Veronika Jaruskova and Kateřina Gemrotová, violist Pavel Nikl, and cellist Lukáš Polák, who soon swapped positions with Peter Jarusek of the Skampa Quartet. In July 2012, Marek Zwiebel became the fourth person to take on the position of second violin. Early on, Jaruskova sought the advice of violist Milan Skampa of the Smetana Quartet, and he remains a close mentor of the younger quartet.
Naturally, the three string quartets of Haas and those of other Czech composers are an important cornerstone of their active repertoire, but they also specialize in the core string quartet works of Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. The quartet has recorded exclusively for Supraphon since 2006, when its debut album, Janácek and Haas, won the "Newcomer of the Year" distinction in BBC Music Magazine and a Gramophone Award. In early 2010, the quartet added a Diapason d'Or de l'Année award to its mantel (for Prokofiev), followed by a 2011 Gramophone Record of the Year (for Dvorák), and a 2014 Gramophone Best Chamber Music Record (for Schubert), among other recognitions. As part of competition prize awards, the Pavel Haas Quartet began to tour internationally in the 2007-2008 season, and it has since appeared throughout Europe and, in 2015, in Australia, Japan, and Korea. The quartet has also expanded its repertoire through collaborations with artists such as mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink, percussionist Colin Currie, and pianist Nicholas Angelich. A disc of Smetana's quartets was also part of 2015's activities. ~ Patsy Morita