Prof. Christine Vlajk has graced major concert stages around the world including the Weill Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She has held the positions of violist of the Penderecki String Quartet (www.ps4.ca) and Artist-in-Residence in viola and chamber music at Laurier since 1997. Prior to that, Vlajk played with the Montclaire String Quartet for 15 years. Vlajk holds BmusEd and BMus (Viola Performance) degrees from the University of Colorado and a MMus (Viola Performance) degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been guest soloist with the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and has performed numerous recitals internationally including, in recent years, viola concertos premiering work by Piotr Grella-Mozejko and Karol Gostynski. As a member of the Penderecki String Quartet and the Montclaire Quartet, Vlajk has recorded on the Koch, Leonarda, Eclectra, Marquis Classics and EMI labels.
Jerzy Kaplanek , violinist, member of the Penderecki String Quartet, was born in Poland in 1965. His music schooling started at the age of six on piano and at the age of ten he commenced his violin studies. In 1984, he received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory in Bytom. Six years later, in 1990, graduated with a Master’s Degree in Musical Arts from the prestigious Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. There, he studied with the distinguished teachers Janusz Skramlik, Stanislaw Lewandowski, and Aureli Blaszczok.
In 1987, Mr. Kaplanek left Poland to continue his music education in the United States. In 1987-88 he was assistant to Efim Boico of the Fine Arts Quartet at the Chamber Music Institute in Milwaukee. In 1989-90, he was a student of Sylvia Rosenberg in New York City. In 1990-91 he studied at the University of Maryland, where his teachers included Daniel Heifetz, the Guarneri String Quartet and its violinists, Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley. Pursuing his interest in Baroque performance practice, Mr. Kaplanek has also worked with the Custodian of Period Instruments at the Smithsonian Museum, Jaap Schroeder.
With the Penderecki Quartet, and also as a soloist and chamber musician, Jerzy Kaplanek performs throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America over 80 concerts each season. His impressive discography includes over two dozen CDs (Marquis, Eclectra, CBC, CMC, EMI labels), including the acclaimed recording of the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók with the PSQ, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Blue Rider Ensemble.
His chamber music partners have been pianists Janina Fialkowska, Francine Kay, Vladimir Feltsman, Lev Natochenny, Jamie Parker, Stéphan Sylvestre (with whom he has formed a duo), cellist Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, clarinettist James Campbell, and others. He is frequently heard on CBC Radio and NPR. In the fall of 1997 was featured soloist at a concert held in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, as a tribute to Karol Szymanowski. The duo Kaplanek/Sylvestre released a CD of works for violin and piano by Karol Szymanowski on Marquis Classics Label. Jerzy Kaplanek is presently an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where he has been teaching violin and chamber music since 1991. In addition to his duties at the WLU, he is in great demand as a soloist, adjudicator and teacher at international competitions and summer festivals, and master classes given in Canada and abroad. He plays a 1680 Antonio Casini violin made in Modena, Italy.