Ján FIGURA, flute, artistic leader
Jozef KOVÁČIK, oboe
Bibiána BIENIKOVÁ, clarinet
Ida CHOVANOVÁ, bassoon
Jozef SOKOL, French horn
THE SUCHOŇ QUINTET takes its name from one of Slovakia's most important twentieth century composers, Eugen Suchoň (1908 – 1993), the founder of Slovak National Modernism. It consists of the leading wind players of the Slovak Sinfonietta, but was formed even before the orchestra's existence, in the early 1960´s while the musicians were still students at Žilina's music conservatory. One of its original members (the flutist) are still performing in the quintet. As the oldest chamber ensemble within the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina the wind quintet has performed many concerts throughout all of Slovakia, as well as abroad, has given concerts for children and young people, at gallery exhibitions, and has been heard throughout the world on radio recordings.
In 1996, the Suchoň Quintet performed in the Austria Center in Vienna for the International Congress of Unisys, at which such world firms as IBM and others took part. In October 1996, the Suchoň Quintet played Divertimento for Wind Quintet by Dr. Ľudovít Rajter, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, in the Fatra House of Art in Žilina. In April 1998, the group performed at the 2nd Festival de Manaus in Brazil. In May 2004 the ensemble took part in the international 49th Košice Music Spring Festival, 2006 and 2007 the ensemble played at the concert tournee in French Picardie. The ensemble has cooperated with famous Slovak pianists Ladislav Fabčovič and Tomáš Nemec.
For most of its career the ensemble was known as the Wind Quintet of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina. However, in 1998 – which would have marked the composer´s 90th birthday – it was renamed the Suchoň Quintet, an honor bestowed by Marián Suchoň, the composer's son and director of the Suchoň Foundation. The year 2008 (100th anniversary) was also officially designated by the Slovak Ministry of Culture as the Eugen Suchoň Year. In that year the Suchoň Quintet performed Eugen Suchoň Works in many Slovak towns, in Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall in Bratislava, in Fatra House of Arts in Žilina, Slovak cultural institute in Budapest, Bekescaba, Maribor etc.
Since 2003 the ensemble has cooperated with famous young pianist, and laureate of Prague Spring 2004 and European Union Piano Competition Matej Arendárik, with whom Suchoň Quintet recorded CD for Music Master.
Ján FIGURA (b. 1954) comes from a family of musicians. He studied flute at the Conservatory of Music in Žilina in the class of his father, Ján Figura, Sr., and finished his studies in 1975. As a student, his most eminent success was the title of laureate at the International Competition for Wind Instruments in Markneukirchen, Germany, in 1974.
He has been the first flutist and the chief of the wind section of the orchestra since the establishment of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina in 1974. He has performed as a soloist in many concerts in Slovakia, and also in Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, France, Austria, the U.S.A., Spain and Japan. He was also soloist at the Bratislava Music Festival (1978, 1981), the Central European Festival of Concert Arts in Žilina (1993), the Haydn - Tage (1996), and Wienerfestwochen (1993, 1994, 1998) in Vienna, the Festival de Bonaguil in France, 16. Musikalische Begegnungen Lenzburg in Switzerland (1999), and elsewhere. He also performed with Philharmonic Orchestra Suhl in Germany, the Naples Chamber Orchestra in Italy, the South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra (CZ), the Symphony Orchestra Poděbrady (CZ), State Philharmonic Orchestra Košice, Capella Cracoviensis in Poland etc. As soloist he has worked with such prominent conductors as Oliver von Dohnanyi, Leoš Svárovský, Vladimír Válek, Tsugio Maeda, Stanislaw Galonski, Petr Vronský, Ľudovít Rajter, Eduard Fischer, Christian Pollack, Urs Schneider, Mika Eichenholz and Tomáš Koutník. He has also performed in joint recitals and double concertos with Ľuba Orgonášová, soprano; Sergej Kopčák, bass; Jiří Stivín, flute; Alzbieta Gajewska, flute; Jana Boušková, harp; Juraj Čižmarovič, violin; Flora Goméz, piano; Richard Vandra, cello and Nao Higano, soprano. He played chamber music with the ensembles Animae trio, from Switzerland, and In modo camerale from the Czech Republic.
He is the leader of the chamber ensembles Armonia slovacca, Suchoň Quintet and Baroque Quartet. He has performed with these ensembles in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Japan and Brasil. He has also taught at the Žilina Conservatory.
Jozef KOVÁČIK (b. 1957) studied at the Conservatory of Music in Žilina in the class of Milada Hrianková. During his studies, he won the first prize at the Competition of the Slovak Conservatories. He has been the principal oboist of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina since July 1980. He also regularly performs as a solo or chamber player at the subscription series of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina, various matinee performances for children and parents, and at other functions. He has made numerous recordings for the Slovak Radio. Among many highlights of his career with the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina stands out his interpretation of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, KV 297b, for 4 wind instruments and orchestra; and Bach's Suite No.1. He is a permanent member of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina - based wind ensembles Armonia Slovacca and the Suchoň Quintet. He has also taught at the Žilina Conservatory.
Bibiána BIENIKOVÁ (b. 1971) studied at the Conservatory of Music in Žilina in the class of Pavol Bienik, and at the Academy of the Arts in Bratislava in the class of Jozef Luptáčik. While studying, she won a number of awards at various competitions in Slovakia: among others the third prize (1990) and second prize (1992) at the Competition of the Slovak Conservatories. She twice participated at the International Masterclasses in Brno (CZ).
In 1993 she won the first prize at a competition organised by Yamaha. She has been the principal clarinetist of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina since 1994, where she also performs as a soloist. Some of her performances include concertos by Stamic, Crusel, Mozart, and Gašparík. In November 2000 at the Festival of New Slovak Music she premiered a work, „Vnútorné obrazy“ (Inner Pictures) by Róbert Gašparík with the Slovak Philharmonic conducted by Bystrík Režucha. She gave a consequent performance of this work in March 2001 with the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina. She works with the String Quartet of the Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina and together with the pianist Ivan Gajan she performed at a concert at the Mirbach Palace in Bratislava in 2001. She is a member of the Suchoň Quintet and Armonia slovacca with whom she has performed at many concerts in Slovakia and abroad. She is the winner of the prestigious "Zlatá nota Slovenskej sporiteľne 2003" (Slovenská Sporiteľňa Golden Note Award). Since 2003 he teaches at the Žilina Conservatory.
Jozef SOKOL (b. 1957) studied at the Conservatory in Košice as a student of Milan Hubner. During his studies, he won the First and Second Prizes in the National Competition of Slovak Conservatories. He has served as the Principal Horn in Jonáš Záborský Theater in Prešov (1979), the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Košice (1982-2012) and the Slovak Sinfonietta since 2013 to the present. As a member of these orchestras and a brass quintet, he has performed in many countries, including the USA, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and throughout Europe.