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Lecture-Concert Series presents the Graffe String Quartet with pianist Michiko Otaki

Oct. 6, 2008 -- The Graffe String Quartet and pianist Michiko Otaki are the featured performers in the third event of Arkansas State University’s Lecture-Concert Series. The quartet and Otaki will present “An Evening with the Graffe Strings” on Monday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Riceland Hall, Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. This performance, like every performance in the Lecture-Concert Series, is free, and the public is invited.

The Graffe String Quartet with pianist Michiko Otaki, will appear as part of ASU's Lecture-Concert Series.

The Graffe String Quartet ranks among the best and most promising ensembles of its generation. Founded in 1997 at the Brno Conservatory (Czech Republic), the ensemble has been quite successful both on the concert stage and in international competitions. The quartet has twice won the Leoš Janáček Foundation Prize (in 2001, and again in 2003), for their performance of the quartets of Leoš Janáček. In 2005, they were honored by a special prize from the French association, Forum Voix Etouffés. The Czech Chamber Music Society in Prague, under the auspices of the Czech Philharmonic, has named the Graffe String Quartet winner of its 2008 Prize for most promising young ensemble. The Graffe String Quartet is Štěpán Graffe, violin; Lukáš Bednařík, violin; Lukáš Cybulski, viola; and Michal Hreňo, violoncello. For more information about the Graffe String Quartet, visit

Abroad, the Graffe String Quartet has been heard throughout Slovakia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.  Critics have often praised the youthful freshness, temperament, expression, and interpretative ripeness of the quartet. The Graffe String Quartet performs the classical quartet repertoire, as well as performing many world premieres of contemporary Czech and world composers such as Miloš Štědroň, Jan Slimáček, Werner Schulze, H. Neumann, and Páll P. Pálsson.

Japanese-American pianist Michiko Otaki, who has performed with the quartet at international festivals, is touring with the group. In October 2007, a new CD by the Graffe Quartet and Otaki, was produced by Radioservis, a Czech Broadcasting Company label. Recorded in July 2007, the disc, “Piano Quintets of the Two Centuries,” contains pieces by Robert Schumann and Bohuslav Martinů. Otaki was born in the small Japanese coastal town of Hazu and came to the United States in 1977. Although both her early academic and musical training was in Japan, all of her college and post-graduate study has been in the U.S., at the San Francisco Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Miami, where she received her doctorate.

Dr. Otaki has been active in playing chamber music in addition to her solo career. She has performed in most major U.S. cities and abroad as soloist and accompanist, including concerts at Washington's National Gallery (broadcast nationwide on NPR's "Performance Today"), Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall (during that hall's celebrated centennial season), the Chamber Music Hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, Pick-Staiger Hall at Northwestern University, and festivals including "Music in Old Cracow" in Poland. Currently, she is director of keyboard studies at Clayton State University, Morrow, Ga.

For more details, contact Dr. Gil Fowler, associate dean for the Honors College, at (870) 972-2308, via e-mail at, or visit for a complete listing of the 2008-09 Lecture-Concert Series programs and a printable flyer.

The Lecture-Concert Series presents diverse programs to enrich the cultural life of the campus, community, and region.



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