MOZART GROUP – COMEDY STRING QUARTET
08 May 2012 Tuesday
MozART GROUP – COMEDY STRING QUARTET
Mersin Cultural Center
Filip Jaślar first violin
Michal Sikorski second violin
Pawel Kowaluk viola
Bolek Blaszczyk cello
MozART Group (Comedy String Quartet)
"We exist despite the sober formality of great concert halls, despite the boredom of classical musicians' life, despite fanatic lovers of classical music, despite fans of rock, rap or pop who are afraid of classical music. We treat our Muse with a humorous irony and we're sure, she will have nothing against it!"They are all well educated instrumentalists who graduated from prestigious Academies of Music in Warsaw and Łódz, but they decided to play classical music in a humorous way. They created a worldwide unique musical cabaret, where the music, not the words are the source of joy and laugh.Take a classical composition as canvas, analyze its structure and theme, surround it with musical associations, brilliant, unbelievable ideas and while listening to the final product the listener is constantly surprised, amazed, laughing and moved to tears.The musicians of the MozART Group have been playing together since 1995. At the beginning, they presented short musical jokes on Television. They gave their first debut in 1997 at the PAKA competition of young Polish cabarets in Krakow. In the same year, they presented their first cabaret program entitled "Mozart's still alive" and since then, they have given concerts in all of Europe, Canada, the U.S.A and Asia.The Quartet received prestigious prizes like the Grand Prix of the XVIII Festival of Satire and Comedy in Lidzbark; "Pingwin z brazu" (the Bronze Penguin) - the prize given by the cabaret community of Zielona Gora, an informal capitol of Polish cabaret. The MozART GROUP also performances with colleagues around the world including concerts with the mime Irek Krosny or Bobby McFerrin.The first show of the Group, in which they took Vivaldi as their patron, was entitled "The Four Seasons à la MozART Group". Similar subtitle has their CD "Creatures" where each of the "seasons" begins the same as Vivaldi's compositions. Later on, however, it runs freely in the direction of various world songs about spring, summer, autumn and winter. This show provides the listener with a sophisticated, perfectly arranged, sublime fun!In 2008 & 2009 two DVDs of the MozART Group were released with great success and got a huge attention in Poland and abroad. The "Best of MozART Group" DVD was released in February 2010. Together over 100.000 copies were sold.In 2009 the MozART Group won two Golden Troughs at the RYJEK Festival in Rybnik/Poland.In July 2010 the MozART group was awarded a special prize from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Poland for outstanding achievements and 15 years on stage.
"Four Horsemen of the Ridiculous"
They are generally opposed to the solemnity of concert halls, monotonous every-day reality. They are avowed music enthusiasts. The MozART Group is a combination of things that seem to be very distant from each other: pop music, classical music, humor and skits.
Filip Jaślar: Once I was driving through a Silesian village at night and was foolish enough to drive 50 km per hour. I was stopped by the police; seeing instruments in the car, they asked me if I was a musician. I admitted I was. When asked where I performed, I said I played with a string quartet. I also admitted I performed on television once in a while. After a moment of reflection, having taken a look at my ID, the officer asked: MozART …You must be the group that stands up to play? The MozART Group is comprised of dedicated professionals with excellent musical education: Filip Jaślar on first violin, Michał Sikorski on second violin, Paweł Kowaluk on alto and Bolek Błaszczyk on cello. The group is a string quartet capable of stirring emotions among the public that many rock stars would envy. Their performances amount to spectacles combining music, theater and cabaret. They don't use words, only the language of music and gestures. When four smartly dressed men-as befits a string quartet-come on stage, members of the audience who don't know what they're in for suspect nothing. Emotions heat up as the show goes on. The first violinist puts a garland of flowers on his head and pretends he is spring-one of the spectacles is called The Four Seasons According to MozART Group. At one point the second violinist begins to yodel and the cellist puts on a cap with a pompom to show that winter has arrived. But this is just the beginning; the quartet dances and taps their feet to the rhythm, also playing bottles filled with water and mobile phones.
Michal Sikorski : "Some time ago we were giving a concert in the wonderful castle of Moszna; it is temporarily inhabited by people who come there to, let's say, regain their mental composure. The castle is quite large. We had a dressing room in one part of the castle and performed in another. The concert was a success. Towards the end, to general applause, we played a piece for a pager and a string quartet. Pagers were very popular then since mobile phones were huge and cost a fortune. Everything was going fine until Filip realized that he had forgot to take his pager battery, so he began to improvise. With a pager in his hand he whistled to microphone. The public were aware something was wrong, but it was very funny anyway." The group is the realization of Filip Jaślar's boyhood dreams. His father was a well-known variety show artist, so he was subjected to quite an environment while he was growing up. "As a kid I knew the songs of Cabaret Tej by heart. Later on, I imitated the whispered rhymes of Bogdan Smoleń from Opole, this time more aware of their contents. Since my early childhood I have been acquainted with this genre, I have been living amidst a variety show," he said. True to his early fascinations and his fondness of amusing people, he gave his first cabaret spectacle, together with Kowaluk and the late Artur Renion, at his high prom. In 1995, they established cooperation with a commercial television station; in short skits they presented classic music in a light, amusing manner. Then they attended the PAKA cabaret festival and had their first performance before a large audience. The members of the MozARTGroup attribute their success to television, skills and good intentions, although the latter is generally in abundance among artists. They admit that television had a strong influence on their careers; it enabled them to release a record and popularize their unorthodox style.
Pawel Kowaluk : "We were going to a concert, when Artur Renion, the previous cellist, was still with us (he was killed in a car accident in 2000). I was driving. At one point Artur uttered the word I'd rather not mention. I felt something was wrong. It turned out that he had forgotten his score. We couldn't come back because we had already passed Częstochowa. But Artur retained his presence of mind. He called his mother who faxed his score to a theater in Rybnik. Having arrived in the theater we were welcomed by the director with a several-meter-long piece of fax paper in his hand on which the score of an hour-long concert was recorded. ‘Primarily our success has been due to hard work’ said Jaślar. "It's technically difficult to synchronize instruments in compositions which are difficult to arrange for string parts. You also need unlimited trust in your own memory, permitting you to reproduce melodies from children's good-night broadcasts and adjusting programs for the various tastes of the audience. This also means very painful, although pleasant creative process." The MozART Group is a group with a strong sense of humor. "We feel provoked by various musical and sociological phenomena; we like to take an attitude on what we see," said Sikorski.
Bolek Blaszczyk: "I'll tell you the story that amused me the most. After one of our concerts, Filip was approached by a man, middle-aged, placid and very kind, and said: "I am your idol." Filip was very sorry he didn't have the man's picture; after all Filip was supposedly his biggest fan. "This is how the piece Boys Band was born, on the basis of Just 5 boys' successes," said Jaślar. We took the liberty parodying the band, but, much like the group themselves; we have abandoned playing this composition." They play compositions by Mozart, Vivaldi and popular songs in a way that helps attract both teenagers and adults-and everybody who just wants to have fun.