Oklahoma Baptist University

World-Famous Quartet to Visit Bison Hill

Oklahoma Baptist University will host the world-famous Graffe String Quartet Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel's Yarborough Auditorium. Shawnee will be the third stop on the quartet's fall 2008 tour, and the public is invited to attend this free event.

The quartet consists of violinists Štpán Graffe and Lukáš Bednarík, violist Lukáš Cybulski, and cellist Michal Hreno, with piano accompaniment by Michiko Otaki.

"It is an outstanding ensemble that is part of our annual artist series to enrich our students' education, as well Shawnee's cultural scene," said Dr. Paul Hammond, OBU's dean of fine arts.

The string musicians all hail from Czechoslovakia and are making their second American tour in as many years. All four attended school at Brno Conservatory in Brno, Czechoslovakia, where the quartet was formed. The quartet has been heard throughout the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom. The Graffe Quartet made its American debut in 2007 with a highly successful coast-to-coast tour (again with pianist Michiko Otaki) including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

The ensemble is famous not only for their stunning stage concerts, but also for their standings in international competitions as well. In 2003 it won the ACT Competition of Chamber Ensembles in London and in 2004 the ensemble won the international competition "Verfemte Musik" in Schwerin, Germany.

Pianist Michiko Otaki was born in Japan and studied at the San Francisco Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Miami. Otaki is currently director of keyboard studies at Clayton State University in Atlanta.