Slovenian Guitar Quartet
Slovenian Guitar Quartet was founded in 2012. It consists of four young Slovenian guitar players who graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana: Izidor Erazem Grafenauer, Mario Kurtjak, Simon Krajnčan Fojkar and Aljoša Vrščaj. The four guitarists have been awarded in various guitar competitions, won Gold Prizes in Slovenian national competitions and received the Prešeren Award – the highest award given by the Ljubljana Academy of Music.
After a successful Jeunesses Musicales Tour across Slovenia and Zagreb in 2013, where they also premiered Music for Sea Creatures by Nejc Kuhar, they have been invited to important concert venues in Slovenia and Croatia. In 2014, Slovenian Guitar Quartet and Cantabile Symphony Orchestra gave Slovenian premiere of Rodrigo’s monumental Concierto Andaluz to the 1500 listeners in the sold-out Cankarjev Dom – the largest concert venue in Slovenia. In 2015 the Quartet performed many concerts across Slovenia and Croatia, bringing out a new arrangement of Serenade for String Orchestra by Slovenian composer Benjamin Ipavec and premiering a work by their member Mario Kurtjak, Slovenian Potpourri, a witty piece that plays around with various Slovenian folk songs. At the end of the year they marked the 330th anniversary of the birth of J. S. Bach with a project called »BWV330«, a concert tour by performing only works composed by J. S. Bach. In 2016 they performed at the Bohinj Summer Music Festival for its 20th anniversary, at the Klassik am Hum traditional concert series in Austria, Gallusfest in Idrija and traditionally finished the year in an enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere of their Christmas/New Year concert. In 2017 they had a concert at the 6th Guitar Week (International Guitar Festival) in Postojna, where they premiered the Latino Suite for guitar quartet, a three-movement composition written for them by Slovenian composer Peter Šavli.
The Quartet is featured on a new CD with works by Croatian-American composer Miroslav Lončar, released by Les Productions d’Oz. They have started to record their own CD album too.
»The members of the Slovenian guitar quartet not only possess an outstanding instrumental technique and skill of playing together, balanced and nuanced sound and master all musical styles as well as the expressiveness they enable, but also have many other qualities which allow the musicians on the stage to establish a direct and sincere relationship with the listeners.« (Tomaž Gržeta, the Glasna journal)
Izidor Erazem Grafenauer studied the guitar with prof. Andrej Grafenauer at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana and with prof. Istvan Römer at the Academy of Music in Zagreb. As a soloist, he has collaborated with Slovenian Philharmonics and many other orchestras. He has been awarded at several guitar competitions including the Fernando Sor Competition in Rome and E. Mecatali Competition in Gorizia. He additionally specialised in historical performance on lute, theorbo, vihuela and the ancestors of the modern guitar. He’s a great collector of the old instruments, often performs as a member of different early music ensembles and teaches lute at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana after having completed his postgraduate studies of theorbo and baroque lute at the B. Marcello Conservatory of Venice with prof. Tiziano Bagnati.
Dr. Mario Kurtjak is a Slovenian guitarist, professor of guitar, a composer and a chemist with a PhD in science. He completed his studies with prof. Andrej Grafenauer at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana already at the age of 21. The award-winning guitarist has given concerts in Slovenia and abroad. He is currently finishing another MA study of guitar with prof. Michael Lewin at the distinguished Royal Academy of Music in London.
Simon Krajnčan Fojkar studied the guitar with prof. Katja Porovne Silič at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, graduating in 2012. He’s known for his outstanding performances of Francisco Tarrega as a soloist and often performs also in duo with Aljoša Vrščaj. He’s a professor of guitar and the head of the Department of plucked string instruments at the Music School of Jesenice. Besides his wide activity as a classical guitarist, he is a member of a punk rock band that has just released its third album.
Aljoša Vrščaj started playing the guitar at the age of 16. He studied with prof. Andrej Grafenauer and graduated from the Academy of Music of Ljubljana in 2012. In addition, he graduated in translation studies at the Faculty of Arts. He is giving concerts mostly as a chamber musician – in a guitar duo and in a duo with violin as well. He’s a professor of guitar at the Music School of Črnomelj and the secretary of the EGTA Slovenia. He has also very successfully organised the Summer school of guitar in Črnomelj for the third year in a row.