The Jubilee Quartet are:
Tereza Privratska – Violin I
Julia Loucks – Violin II
Lorena Cantó Woltèche – Viola
Toby White – Cello
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
JULIA: I was watching “Sesame Street” while growing up in Canada and saw Itzhak Perlman play-ing violin – it was the beginning of my fascination with the instrument.
TEREZA: My parents who love music but are not musicians themselves.
LORENA: The reason I decided to play the viola is that I have always been very curious and en-thusiastic about learning and have always wanted to express myself in one way or another. Since my family was very much classical music orientated and both my parents are violists (although my mum later became a baroque recorder teacher) it came to me naturally to start learning the viola under their tutoring.
TOBY: I was 3 years old and was in the car with my mum listening to the radio. ‘The Swan’ from ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ came on and I turned round and said “oh a daddy violin! I want one!”. My mum, being wonderful, obliged and I’ve been playing ever since.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
JULIA: I have had some wonderful teachers in both undergrad and postgrad, but some of my most important musical development has been learned from my friends and colleagues.
TEREZA: I studied with Rainer Schmidt in Basel and Günter Pichler in Madrid. They were highly influential years in my life.
LORENA: My teacher Boris Kucharsky is probably the first person that made me realise where I stand as a musician. It was among aspects such as seeing and hearing how he poured his soul into his playing and how he was always eager to express. Boris talked about the music with such passion and admiration; he was never satisfied and always thought and encouraged me to give more. It was this that made me realise how noble and beautiful the work of the musician is. I should, of course, briefly mention Tereza, Julia and Toby. They are three incredible musicians who I have admired since I met them, and with whom a day does not go by where I do not learn something new. They support me as a musician as much as I support them.
TOBY: There have been so many! But I suppose the most important influences have been my great teachers. I have been very lucky to have had such wonderful and inspiring teachers throughout my life.
JULIA: Learning to trust my instincts and believe in my own musical intention has always been a challenge, but the quartet has helped encourage me to come out of my shell.
TEREZA: The most difficult thing is combining what I love doing with what I need to be doing to pay the bills, which I believe is every musician’s concern. One must never give in to the work that pays better over the joy of what something else may bring.
LORENA: Redistributing priorities is something I still find hard to this day and since joining The Jubilee Quartet it has become a matter of importance.
TOBY: Finding the right work life balance is probably the hardest thing for me. I love what I do but it can be demanding time wise. It’s important for me to stay fresh and excited but that can be tough.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
JULIA: In terms of recordings our upcoming Haydn CD for Rubicon Classics is by far the project that I am most proud of.
TEREZA: The Jubilee Quartet is currently releasing a Haydn CD that I am most proud of.
LORENA: I am looking forward to the release of The Jubilee Quartet’s Haydn CD, because prob-ing deeply into three of Haydn’s quartets has made me realise how incredible and varied his music is. There was so much necessary thinking behind every decision we took when working towards an interpretation that resonated with us as a quartet.
TOBY: Our latest CD release of Haydn quartets. It has been such a privilege working on and re-cording these works with my colleagues.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
JULIA: I think our strength is definitely in early classical, particularly Haydn. We also love playing Schubert!
TEREZA: I believe it is Haydn but let’s listen to the CD first.
LORENA: I am interested in works of all styles and periods, because what I enjoy most is getting to know them and playing them as best I can. It is true though that ever since I was small I have been passionate about opera, especially Mozart’s, which has influenced my style of playing and the way I like to approach non-classical repertoire too.
TOBY: I think this is entirely subjective. I most enjoy playing Haydn with the quartet, but we also love playing works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and many others. All composers bring a different set of challenges which we relish as a group.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
JULIA: We try to make sure we have a good selection of works from different musical eras – and we also tend to programme pieces that are not frequently played or slightly unusual.
TEREZA: This decision will depend on where the Quartet is performing as sometimes we are asked to perform a certain programme. On other occasions we select what we like to play and crosscheck it with competition requirements in case we would like to apply.
LORENA: Our choice of repertoire usually depends on our common interests. We tend to like to add a new piece to our repertoire, while we polish older ones.
TOBY: We like to pick interesting and varied programmes so we will sometimes base a pro-gramme around a particular work and build from there. Other times we will be asked to perform a specific repertoire or we will be working on competition works.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
JULIA: Wigmore Hall is a wonderful space and has a spiritual feel to it – even attending a concert there feels like my life will change a little bit that night. Conway Hall is another fantastic space in London with a warm, generous, acoustic and personal feel.
TEREZA: My favourite concert venue is of course the Wigmore Hall. There is no alternative to such a perfect space for chamber music.
LORENA: I do not really have a favourite venue, but it has always been a pleasure to perform in concert halls with an enthusiastic audience.
TOBY: I don’t think anywhere can quite match the Wigmore Hall in London. That being said we have performed in some lovely halls, most recently in León, Spain in December last year which was a beautiful hall.
Who are your favourite musicians?
JULIA: I have always enjoyed listening to the Hagen Quartet and Isabelle Faust. The Amadeus Quartet have some fantastic Beethoven recordings, with a sound that you rarely hear these days.
TEREZA: My quartet colleagues.
LORENA: I love listening to the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, especially Frans Brüg-gen’s recordings and I used to be very passionate about Ana Netrebko’s singing.
TOBY: There are too many to mention and it would be unfair to miss anyone out. But of course I should mention my quartet colleagues who I admire very much.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
JULIA: My most memorable concert experience has to be the first time I performed in a full or-chestra, playing Brahms 1. I’d never heard anything like it before, I felt like I was flying! That defi-nitely helped my decision to study music at University.
TEREZA: In my first performance of Mozart K.589 I played from the full score and arranged my pages in what I thought was a “clever” way, until the repeats came in… and my music was re-moved on the floor at that point…
LORENA: My most memorable concert experience is performing Elgar’s ‘Piano Quintet’ with Boris Kucharsky and Bart Lafollette in the Marryat Chamber Music Festival when I was still a student at the Yehudi Menuhin School. The intense work we did in such a small space of time with such amazing musicians who all cared about the piece to the last little detail is what made the perfor-mance for me so rewarding and special. The experience officially made me realise that I wanted to be a chamber musician.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
JULIA: Success to me is feeling like you are always learning, and always improving. It’s amazing how achieving “goals” can leave you feeling quite empty – for me it’s all about the process!
TEREZA: To be able to perform, record, perform, record and… perform… the music we love.
LORENA: Success to me is a deeply personal state in which a passionate musician feels respected by the people around him/her not only as a musician but also as a person for the hard work put into communicating something with his/her music making.
TOBY: Success for me is being able to perform the music I love and travel the world’s concert halls.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
JULIA: I think developing an open, curious attitude is incredibly important. We can all strive for technical perfection but the most magical musical moments happen when we can create on the spot.
TEREZA: Always look for something new to discover in the pieces you are playing, even if it is a core repertoire of your group and you have played the pieces hundred times. Only that way the music will stay fresh and you will feel satisfaction in rehearsals.
LORENA: I believe aspiring musicians need to understand that chamber music is no different than playing solo or orchestra, and requires the same amount of individual work from each player.
TOBY: Never stop asking questions and searching for answers. Always be creative and try everything even if it seems a bit crazy. It will rarely be your final version but it may just steer you in the right direction.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
JULIA: Playing Quartets somewhere, hopefully near a fireplace and with a nice big dog sitting in the room.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
LORENA: Happiness is perfect when one learns to appreciate and enjoy the work that goes behind fulfilling our basic needs as individuals with all that may happen on the way there. All needs, such as loving and supporting oneself while caring for the people around us, learning a new skill or pursuing big dreams, have difficult challenges that present themselves and require personal com-mitment and involvement. Happiness is a box that needs to be constantly refilled, therefore, the goal should not be to fill it all, but to make the most of putting things in it. Working in The Jubilee Quartet brings me perfect happiness, because I feel fulfilled with all the effort that goes into every rehearsal to learn and improve and it is incredibly rewarding to share our music making with an audience every now and then, knowing that nothing stops there.
What is your most treasured possession?
TOBY: My cello. It never leaves me; I feel nervous when I’m out without it.
What is your present state of mind?
JULIA: I’m feeling inspired and ambitious!
TEREZA: I’m feeling happy with The Jubilee Quartet and in love with my husband to be.
The award-winning Jubilee Quartet will release its debut album of Haydn Quartets by Rubicon Classics on 10 March 2019
First prize winners of the Val Tidone International Chamber Music Competition 2010 and the St Martin’s Chamber Music Competition 2013, Second prize winners of the Karol Szymanowski International String Quartet Competition 2014, and third prize winners of the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition 2013, the Jubilee Quartet was formed in 2006 at the Royal Academy of Music, London. They held a Leverhulme Chamber Music Fellowship at the Academy during 2012-13, and the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance during 2013-14. The quartet are award winners of the Tillett Trust ‘Young Artists’ Platform’; the Park Lane Group ‘Young Artists’; the Hattori Foundation; the Worshipful Company of Musicians ‘Concordia Foundation Artists Fund’; and are recipients of the Philharmonia MMSF ‘Charles Henderson Ensemble Award’ and the Eaton Square ‘St. Peter’s Prize’ 2014. In 2012 the quartet were finalists in the Joseph Joachim International Chamber Music Competition, Weimar, and in 2013 and 2015, in the Royal Over-Seas League.
Their studies have been overseen by professors such as Günter Pichler, Hatto Beyerle, Thomas Brandis, Jon Thorne, Garfield Jackson, and Martin Outram, and they have participated in masterclasses by the Skampa, Wihan and Chilingirian Quartets, Miguel da Silva and Sylvia Rosenberg. The group studied with Rainer Schmidt at the Musikhochschule Basel from October 2014 to March 2016, with members of the Belcea String Quartet in 2016-17, with John Myerscough through the ChamberStudio at King’s Place in 2018. They have been named Associate String Quartet at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire while studying with Oliver Wille for 2018-19.
The quartet has performed widely throughout the UK in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Conway Hall and the Purcell Room, and their continental tours have included a performance in the presence of the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. They have enjoyed a variety of outreach work as part of the Live Music Now! scheme, and have participated in the Lake District Summer Music and St Magnus Festivals. In 2014 the group was selected to attend the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Montreal, Canada and in 2016 was invited to perform with the Doric Quartet at Festpiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Notable recent performances include an appearance at the international chamber music series in Basel, Switzerland (March, 2017), performing at the 2018 Luberon Festival through ProQuartet, and a performance in Léon for the International Festival de Música de Cámara in December 2018.
Early 2019 will feature the upcoming CD release of Haydn quartets for Rubcion Classics. The Jubilee Quartet would like to thank the Stradivari Trust, the Mears/Speers and Eyers families and Mike Down for their generous support.