- Izabella Szałaj-Zimak – violin I
- Elwira Przybyłowska – violin II
- Marek Czech – viola
- Michał Pepol – violoncello
Shortlisted by the Royal Philharmonic Society as one of the three most outstanding chamber groups to appear in the UK in 2006, the Quartet was established in 1998 and has since gained a reputation as one of the world's most interesting and dynamically developing string quartets of the young generation. It has won rave reviews with such superlatives as 'technically superb', 'youthful energy certainly not in short supply' and 'an undeniably talented group'. Such opinions were confirmed by the numerous awards at competitions, including First Prize and the Grand Prix at the 9th Carlo Silva International Competition in Casale Monferrato (2000), Second Prize at the 7th International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Kraków (2003), Special Jury Prize at the 1st International String Quartet Competition in Kuhmo, Finland (2004) and Third Prize in Banff's 8th International String Quartet Competition in Canada (2004). 'The most memorable playing came from Poland's Royal String Quartet, a performance brimming with musical intelligence and finesse' (The Strad, January 2005).
RSQ was also awarded a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2005 which has helped in developing the quartets international career, and in 2007 the Special Prize of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 'in recognition of their contribution to Polish culture'.
Right from the start the Royal String Quartet has been fortunate in improving its skills under the guidance of outstanding musicians. Initially, these were members of the Camerata and Wilanów Quartets. Upon graduation from the Music Academy in Warsaw, the RSQ worked with the Alban Berg Quartett at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (2001-2004). The ensemble has also worked with musicians from the Amadeus, Guarneri and Chilingirian Quartets. Since 2005 the Quartet has been teaching young students at the international summer music schools in Dartington and the Lake District.
From 2004-2006 the Royal String Quartet were members of the BBC's 'New Generation Artists', a scheme promoting outstanding young international artists. This enabled the ensemble to perform in prestigious festivals, appear on radio and make recordings (these include Mendelssohn's Octet with the Psophos Quartet as a cover CD for the BBC Music Magazine).
The Quartet has participated in many festivals in Poland (the Mozart Festival, the Easter Beethoven Festival, Piano Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Wratislavia Cantans) and abroad (BBC Proms, City of London, East Neuk, Lichfield, Aldeburgh, Pulse, West Cork Music, Angela Hewitt's Trasimeno Music, Next Generation in Dortmund, Musikfesttage in Frankfurt, Valloires, Classique au Vert in Paris, and the Perth International Arts Festival). In 2004 the Royal String Quartet performed for Queen Elizabeth II during the official visit of the Polish President. Since 2004 the Quartet has run its own chamber music festival in Warsaw 'Kwartesencja' (Quartessence). 'Kwartesencja' has already won a wide following and media recognition as the 'Cultural Highlight of Year'. Next edition will be 5-9 November 2008.
The Quartet has performed with such artists as Angela Hewitt, Thomas Allen, Ann Murray, Mark Padmore, Antoine Tamestit, Christian Poltéra, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Laurence Power, Freddy Kempf, Cédric Tiberghien, Martin Fröst, Nicholas Daniel, Tzimon Barto, Cédric Pescia, Simon Lepper, Llyr Williams, Ronald van Spaendonck, Ronan Collett, Ula Ulijona, Klaudiusz Baran, Tomasz Strahl, Wojciech Świtała, Maciej Grzybowski, Michał Nagy and the Skampa, Camerata, Silesian and Psophos Quartets. The venues of their appearances include the Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Le Grand Theatre in Bordeaux, Martinu Hall in Prague, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Stockholm Concert Hall and the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio, the National Philharmonic and the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Their concerts have been broadcast on Polish Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and many other European radio stations, as well as on TV MEZZO.
The Royal String Quartet has recorded the Szymanowski Quartets for Hyperion, the CD will be released in January 2009. Its discography currently consists of 4 CDs: 'Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven' (debut CD for the DUX label, nominated for the 'Fryderyk' Award of the Polish recording industry in 2002), 'Astor Piazzolla - Tango' (for Sony Classical, the 'Fryderyk 2003' Award in the chamber music category), 'String Quartets by Moniuszko, Szymanowski and Bacewicz' (BeArTon, 2006; nominated for the the 'Fryderyk 2006' Award in two categories: the chamber music and the best Polish music recording) and Juliusz Zarębski's Piano Quintet (with Wojciech Świtała, BeArTon, 2006; nominated for the 'Fryderyk 2006' Award in the chamber music category).