Kwadrofonik is the only quartet of its kind in Poland and one of a few in the world and was created out of two duos: Lutosławski Piano Duo (pianists Emilia Sitarz and Bartek Wąsik) and Hob-beats Percussion Duo (percussionists Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala). Together they have been playing music from the 20th and 21st centuries, transcriptions of symphonies, and their own compositions inspired by traditional, contemporary, and popular music.
Kwadrofonik's career took of in 2006, when they spectacularly won the 9th Polish Radio Festival – Nowa Tradycja (New Tradition) – where the musicians received Grand Prix and the Audience Award. The critics hailed the quartet as superinnovative and blazing new trails for folk and world music. In 2007 Kwadrofonik became a laureate of a prestigious Special Award at the 3rd Contest of European Broadcast Union (EBU) in Bratislava (Slovakia). The award for modernity, innovation and loyalty to tradition was granted for the frst time in the history of this contest. In 2008 the debut CD Folklove – released by the Polish Radio – was enthusiastically welcomed by the media and in 2009 the musicians received Folk Phonogram of the Year – an award given by critics for the best folk/ world music CD in Poland. In 2008 compositions of the band were presented in the Late Junction programme of BBC Radio 3.
In 2010, during the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin's birthday the quartet prepared a project with their own arrangements of Chopin's masterpieces – I was there, Frederic – presented at Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall. In 2011 Kwadrofonik had a debut in the Berliner Philharmonie where their own version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was presented. In 2012 quartet performed for the first time in Asia – Izumi Hall in Osaka and Chamber Music Festival in Beijing.
In 2013 the quartet cooperated with cellist Andrzej Bauer and composer Cezary Duchnowski, preparing a chamber version, with electronics, of Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto. That same year Kwadrofonik met Polish jazz singer, Dorota Miśkiewicz and worked on their own arrangements of Lutosławski’s Children Songs. CD has been released by Sony BMG and in 2014 was awarded a gold record.
In November, 2014, on the occasion of the celebrations of Kolberg’s Year, Kwadrofonik and singer Adam Strug prepared Requiem Ludowe (Folk Requiem), a composition inspired by traditional Polish mourning music. An album with that program was published in March, 2015, by Polish Radio and the National Audiovisual Institute, and received the Folk Phonogram of the Year award. That album was also nominated in the Event of the Year category for the Coryphaeus of Polish Music award given by the Institute of Music and Dance.
In 2015 Kwadrofonik received the annual prestigious Polish award Paszport Polityki (Polityka’s Passport), presented by the weekly magazine "Polityka" since 1993, a cultural prize for achievements in classical music. In September 2015 Kwadrofonik ran the frst edition of their own contemporary chamber music festival in Warsaw – Kwadrofonik Festival. That year the band also began working on music for a multimedia show, directed by Jan Komasa, for the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Poznań 1956 protests. The show, titled Ksenofonia, premiered at the Malta 2016 theater festival. The newest, multimedia and ‘inter-genre’ project of the band is Symfonia Przemysłowa (Industrial Symphony), a concert of music by Angelo Badalamenti, given by Kwadrofonik and Artur Rojek.
The musicians of Kwadrofonik have a unique conversation – they imperceptibly change the functions of their instruments: pianos become percussion instruments, while groups of percussion instruments take over the functions of melodic instruments. The band is also known for using everyday objects (buckets filled with water, cell phones, balloons) during its concerts and demonstrating, in a spectacular manner, their surprising sound possibilities. While working on their own pieces, the members of the group often improvise, create on the basis of their own experiences and quests for the right sound, so as to use their instruments to the maximum.
Apart from projects based on their own compositions or on transcriptions (including transcriptions of symphonies, for example, Igor Strawiński’s The Rite of Spring or Karol Szymanowski’s Mazurkas and Harnasie), the musicians play compositions which were originally meant to be played by such an instrumental group, including Béla Bartók’s, Georg Crumb’s and Rolf Wallin’s, They also gave several world-premieres of the pieces composed especially for the quartet by Polish composers (such as Wojciech Ziemowit Zych, Wojciech Blecharz, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Maciej Jabłoński).
updated: 2018 (ac)