On April 25, 1919, the Zagreb Quartet was established by a concert in the great hall of the Croatian State Music Institute.
The Zagreb Quartet played more than 4,000 concerts on all continents, recorded more that 60 records for various world publishing and radio houses, i.e. like Sastruphon, RCA, Melodicom, Da Camera Magna, Croatia Records, ALM Records, etc.
Founded as the first permanent and professional ensemble of its kind in the Croatian musical scene, Zagreb Quartet held their first concert on April 25th 1919. Members at the time were Václav Huml, first violin, Milan Graf, second violin, Ladislav Škatula (later Miranov), viola and Umberto Fabbri, cello – all of them professors at Zagreb conservatory. During the first decades, many musicians passed through the quartet (Jan Prybyl, Jan Holub, Francis E. Arány, Dragutin Aranyi, Zlatko Topolski, Stjepan Šulek, Aleksandar Szegedi, Ljudevit Dobronji…), which has already took on high standards of performance, making until today a backbone of Zagreb and Croatian quartet music.
In the early stages, the Quartet formed a wide musical repertoire, ranging from classical music such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and so-called iron quartet repertoire, to contemporary composers with particular emphasis on Croatian composers. In their performances works of Božidar Širola, Josip Štolcer Slavenski, Milko Kelemen, Marko Ruždjak, Frano Parać, Dubravko Detoni and numerous others were regularly included.
In season of 1930 – 1931 members set off on their first international tour to Czech Republic and Germany, receiving excellent reviews. Regular performances in Croatia and at international tours have marked their existence until nowadays.
Outside Europe, they held many important tours across the United States, former Soviet Union, Russia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea etc. Cooperation with other prominent solo musicians also starts during their early phase.
Since 2008 in Croatian Music Institute (Hrvatski glazbeni zavod), where the season of Zagreb Quartet is held until present. The reputation of the ensemble is confirmed by international tours and hosting held in 1990s, on which they particularly try to raise the awareness of on-going war state in Croatia. Tours were held from Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Rudolfinum in Prague and St. John’s Smith Square in London to the United Nations headquarters in New York and Guangyuan Concert Hall. They performed major compositions like Bach’s Art of Fugue, Beethoven’s last string quartets. One of the performances that should be singled out is Joseph Haydn’s Last Seven Words of Christ, performed in the crypt of St. Anne’s church in Jerusalem.
In 2014, Marin Maras takes place as the first violin, in line up with other members: Davor Philips, Hrvoje Philips and Martin Jordan.
Rich discography of the Quartet, recorded throughout almost two decades, includes records for Jugoton, PGP RTB, Melodicom, Sastruphon, Nuova Era Records, ZYX Classic, RCA, Da Camera Magna, Croatia Records, ZG Zoe, Cantus/HDS and many others. Last album – cooperation Leoš Janáček quartet and Antonína Dvořáka quartet – was published by Spona Classics label.
Numerous rewards and prizes include most significant national awards: Zagreb City Award in 1957 and 2001, Milka Trnina Award, Vjesnik’s Josip Štolcer Slavenski Award, Vatroslav Lisinski Award, Vladimir Nazor Award both annual and the lifetime achievement award in 2009.
The Zagreb Quartet plays Peter Infeld violin and viola strings as well as Spirocore cello strings by Thomastik-Infeld Vienna.
Marin Maras, violin – Peter Infeld strings: "Excellent strings, have a very clear sound and beautiful color. Very easy to play especially in high positions and the fast passages."
Davor Philips, violin – Peter Infeld strings: "Improve the sound quality of my German instrument and give it a darker color. The entire quartet sounds like one instrument."
Hrvoje Philips, viola - Peter Infeld strings: "Strings perfectly match the requirements of my modern instrument that is 15 years old and very large size. Special mention to a beautiful velvet tone of the G and C strings."
Martin Jordan, cello - Spirocore strings: "Traditionally excellent strings. For years I play on them and really suit on my very old Italian cello."