Duo Beautiful Strings
The violinist Monika Urbanová and harpist Hedvika Mousa Bacha founded the Beautiful Strings duo during their studies at the Music Faculty of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts in 2010. They have won prizes at various international competitions and are also experienced soloists. They have performed together at concert venues in the Czech Republic and beyond since 2010. Between 2011 and 2013, they performed in the Easy Living Show at Mlejn Theatre, which combined classical music with aerial acrobatics. In 2017, they achieved success at the Unconventional Žižkov Autumn Festival and at the International Organ Festival in Filipov (northern Bohemia). In addition to original compositions, they also perform their own arrangements. In 2013, the duo released the CD Beau Soir, featuring works by French masters (including Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Camille Saint-Saëns). Their broad and varied repertoire – from the Baroque to the present – and their virtuosity and precision have won them wide acclaim from music critics and the general public alike.
Hedvika Mousa Bacha (harp) attended the Jan Neruda High School, where she was taught music by Hana Müllerová-Jouzová (graduating in 2004), the Prague Conservatory (graduating in 2006) and the Music Faculty of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts under Prof. Jana Boušková (graduating in 2012). During her studies, she participated in master classes with world-famous harpists. Between 2007 and 2008, she took an internship in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she studied at the Haute École de Musique. In 1999 she won the Hudba na gymnáziu (Music at High School) competition and in 2002 she won the Anna Hostomská Award at the Preludium (Prelude) festival for young performers in Šumperk, Moravia. She has a successful chamber and solo career and has performed with many talented young musicians at concert venues and music festivals in the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Switzerland and Hungary. In addition to classical music, she is also interested in Czech contemporary and popular works. She is in demand as a performer of works by contemporary composers. She has collaborated with Lenka Dusilová, Beata Hlavenková, Iva Bittová, Dary Rollins and Dana Bárta. Orchestral and teaching work is an integral part of her career. She regularly performs with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Berg Orchestra, the Talich Chamber Philharmonic and the State Opera in Prague. Since 2008, she has been teaching harp at the elementary arts school in Lounských Street, Prague. Between 2009 and 2010, she was a member of the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra.
Monika Urbanová, née Růžková (violin) studied under Prof. Dagmar Zárubová and Prof. Jaroslav Foltýn at the Prague Conservatory between 2000 and 2006. In 2011, she completed a master’s degree under Prof. Ivan Strauss and Prof. Leoš Čepický at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts. Between 2009 and 2010, she completed a one-year internship at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna). She has received prizes in a number of international competitions (2002 – 1st prize at the Josef Muzika Competition, 2005 – 3rd prize at the Czech Conservatories Competition, 2006 – 1st prize and an award for the best performance of a work by Martinů at the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation Competition, 2010 – 3rd prize at the Stephanie-Hohl Wettbewerb Competition in Vienna). Since 2010, she has been one of the first violinists in the Prague Symphony Orchestra, also performing as a soloist. She has also performed as a soloist with the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pavel Haas Chamber Orchestra and the Prague Symphonic Chamber Orchestra. Intensively involved in chamber music, Monika Urbanová has played in the Phantasy Quartet and the Trio Con Brio. Between 2007 and 2016, she was a member of the Eve Quartet, performing both classical music and swing. She has sought to explore new ways of performing “standard” works in the violin repertoire, providing a completely different, untraditional dimension with the addition of an organ or harp.