The Kukal Quartet was founded in 2020 by members of the Academy of Chamber Music under the guidance of its artistic director, the Czech cellist Tomáš Jamník. The members had previously performed together in various chamber groups, but it was not until the summer of 2020 that they came together to form the quartet. Since then, they have had the opportunity to perform under the direction of leading chamber musicians, including Jakub Fišer (Bennewitz Quartet) and Peter Jarůšek (Pavel Haas Quartet). They have given a number of live and streamed concerts. The members of the quartet are mutually inspired by each other’s experience gained at prestigious universities of music in Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and Warsaw. In May 2021, they became laureates at the Prague Spring International Music Competition, winning third place. The quartet is named after the leading contemporary Czech composer, Ondřej Kukal.
Eliška Kukalová (violin) was born into a musical family, the daughter of conductor and composer Ondřej Kukal. She received her first violin lessons at the age of five from Hana Metelková. She later attended the class of Jiří Fišer at the Prague Conservatory. She regularly participates in violin competitions, earning top places. In 2015, she took first place at the 19th annual competition held by the Václav Hudeček Academy, winning a master violin and the opportunity to tour. She has performed as a soloist with the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, the North Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra of Teplice, the PKF – Prague Philharmonia, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra. In June 2018, she performed Dvořák’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Georg Christoph Sandmann at two concerts in Germany. She was awarded a scholarship with the Chamber Music Academy in 2019 and is currently attending the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) under the guidance of Jan Pospíchal, the long-time concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Klára Lešková (violin) received her first violin lessons at the age of six from Prof. Magdalena Micková. After finishing high school and the Music Gymnasium in Prague, she attended Universität Mozarteum Salzburg (Mozarteum University Salzburg). Since her musical beginnings, she has earned top places in violin competitions.
In 2017, she won the main prize and a master violin at the Václav Hudeček Academy, including the opportunity to perform as a guest at concerts with Václav Hudeček. She was invited to perform solo with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Mariánské Lázně. As part of the concert series “Josef Suk uvádí mladé talenty” (Josef Suk Presents Young Talent), Klára Lešková has appeared several times as a soloist at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum in Prague, accompanied by the Prague Philharmonia and the Prague Symphony Orchestra under the direction of distinguished conductors such as Andreas Sebastian Weiser, David Ševec and Jiří Rožná.
In 2018, she successfully passed the audition for membership of the Orchestral Academy of the Czech Philharmonic. She has performed with the Czech Philharmonic at many of Europe’s most prestigious venues, including the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, the Concertgebouw in Bruges, the Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Philharmonie in Essen. Klára Lešková has been a member of the Chamber Music Academy since 2019.
Vilém Vlček (cello) received his first cello lessons at the age of six from Prof. Martin Škampa. In 2010, he joined the class of Prof. Martin and Mirko Škampa at the Music Gymnasium in Prague. Since 2018, he has been attending the class of Danjulo Ishizaka at the Musik Akademie Basel (City of Basel Music Academy). He has played as a soloist with many renowned orchestras, including the Czech Philharmonic, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with many distinguished conductors and has performed in 30 different countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. He regularly participates in master classes at home and abroad.
Šimon Truszka (viola) was first introduced to the violin at the age of six and has been playing the viola since the age of 15, initially under the guidance of the famous Russian teacher Vera Lipatová at the Conservatory of Košice. During his studies, he won two solo and chamber music competitions. Since 2016, he has been studying at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Prague under the guidance of Prof. Jan Peruška. He completed a one-year internship at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Prof. Thomas Selditz and a one-year internship at the Chopin University of Music under the guidance of Piotr Reichert.
He also attended the Czech French Academy of Music in Telč (under the guidance of Vladimír Bukač) and the Festival Academy in Budapest. He has participated in numerous master classes and has been a member of the State Theatre in Košice. He has also been a member of the renowned EUYO (European Union Youth Orchestra). He has performed at many prestigious venues, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Dubai Opera, and the Grafenegg Festival.