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Kira Kraftzoff

Kira KraftzoffKira Kraftzoff, leader and founder of the Russian Quattro, Rastrelli Cello Quartet, and the Rastrelli Chamber Orchestra, was born in 1971 in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia).

At age six, he began his studies at “The Special Music School for Highly Talented Children” of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Kraftzoff made his public debut at the age of 14 with the Orchestra of St. Petersburg Radio Khatchaturian’s Cello Concerto in The Grand Concert Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
In 1987, he took part in the “All-Russia Cello Competition”, and was granted a diploma there. In 1988, Kraftzoff was the youngest finalist ever in the “All-USSR Cello Competition”, winning a diploma and a special award for a “most brilliant perspective”.

Kraftzoff continued his studies with the class tutored by Prof. Anatoly Nikitin at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory named after Rimsky-Korsakov, from which he graduated with honors in 1994. Upon graduating, he became the assistant teacher of Prof. Nikitin's class (a post he held for four years), as well as being a student of the legendary performer Daniel Schafran.

In 1993, Kraftzoff received the high distinction of representing the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Mstislav Rostropovichґs first master-class in Russia after his long exile. As a participant in a student exchange program, he came to Stuttgart, completing his studies with Prof. Peter Buck (cellist of the "Melos-Quartet"), and graduated as a student laureate.

Kira Kraftzoff has won prizes in the following international competitions:
1990 Murcia (Spain): First Prize
1992 Pretoria (South Africa) Third prize in "UNISA String Competition"
1994 Trapani (Italy): Second prize in "Chamber music Competition"(First Prize was not awarded)
1995 Munich (Germany) Third prize in "Konzertgesellschaft Wettbewerb"
1997 Vienna (Austria ): First prize in "Vienna International Competition"

He has performed as a soloist in many of the great concert halls including:
Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Herkulessaal und Gasteig Munich, Tonhalle Zurich, Concertgebow Amsterdam, Laiszhalle Hamburg, Stefaniesaal Graz, Mozarteum Salzburg, Grand Park Chicago, Taegue Philharmonic South Korea, and many others.
Kira Kraftzoff was invited to perform in numerous festivals all over the world, such as “Davos Music Festival”, ”Schwetzingen Festspiele”, “Beethoven Festival in Bonn”, “Grand Park Music Festival”,”Rheingau Musikfestival” “Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele", “Freiburger Zeltwunder Festival”, "Colorado Music Festival”, “Savonlinna Festival Finland”, “Musical Olympus St. Petersburg”, working with artists such as Gidon Kremer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Gilles Apap, Giora Feidman, King's Singers and Justus Frantz.

Kraftzoff has appeared in countless radio and television broadcasts, like the NBC, BR, SWR, HR, NDR, NHK & Russia 1, which broadcasted a forty-minute film about his life and career in 1993. He was invited to play at the Daniel Schafran Memorial Concert, where he performed the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto for the late grandmaster of the cello in 1997.
Before he formed the Russian Quattro and Rastrelli Cello Quartet, Kraftzoff was the principal cellist in the ensemble "St. Petersburg Soloists" (1991-1994), and from 1998 until 2005, the principal cellist of the "Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester" (Germany).
The creation of the Rastrelli Cello Quartet (2002) has made Kraftzoff world-famous; in 2010 he began his conducting career and founded the “Rastrelli Chamber Orchestra”. Most recently in 2012 “Russian Quattro” was conceived – a first-ever string quartet with two violins and two cellos.

Official website


Sergio Drabkin

Sergio DrabkinSergio Drabkin Cellist Sergey (aka Sergio) Drabkin is in charge of the musical arrangements.
Sergey Drabkin, born 1953 in Polotsk, Belarus, studied music at the Minsk State Conservatoire. From 1977 to 1995 he enjoyed a high-profile musical career in Belarus: he was lead cellist of the Minsk State Symphonic Orchestra; he was a member of the Belarus State Quartet; he was solo cellist of the Baroque ensemble "Cantabile"; and he was solo cellist of the Minsk Chamber Orchestra, with which he made several recordings.

In 1995 Sergey Drabkin moved to Germany with his family. He now is a full-time member of the renowned Wurtemberg Chamber Orchestra, for which he has written several arrangements. He is also a co-founder of the acclaimed Rastrelli Cello Quartet, which plays exclusively his arrangements, thus contributing to Drabkin's growing fame as a master of the musical arrangement. (Discography and audio samples:
A long experience of musical arrangements enables Sergey Drabkin to swiftly design and produce high-quality arrangements for all sorts of orchestration.

Sergio Drabkin has written arrangements for a number of famous musician such as King's Singers, James Galway, Irena Grafenauer, Michaela Petri ,Giora Feidman and Casal Quartet.

Sergio's Arrangements

Michael Makarov

Michael MakarovMichael  Makarov

Michael plays regularly as an orchestral musician with well-known artists such as Nigel Kennedy, James Galway, Giora Feidmann, Andrei Gavrilov, Anna Maria Kaufmann, Eva Lind, Mischa Maisky and Sergei Nakariakov.He has played under renowned conductors such as Gary Bertini and Rudolf Barshai with the Young German Philharmonic and other orchestras, and as a chamber musician with the La i Sedici under Luigi Sagrestano. As a student, Michael was Concertmaster of the PRIMARTE Orchester under Alois Springer for nearly ten years at the Berlin Classic summer festival. 

Michael also plays cross-over regularly in jazz clubs and at a wide variety of venues, played avant-garde pieces in the ensemble Frescos of the Odessa Philharmonic and appeared regularly at the festival Two Days and Two Nights of New Music in Odessa.

He founded the Ultimate Duet (violin and guitar) and the Arco String Quartet and plays violin in the group Violincello, which is better known as Russian Quattro.

Born in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa in 1978 to a musical dynasty with a pianist mother and opera singer father who performed regularly at the city's Opera House, Michael Makarov has been playing music in Europe since his early childhood and fell in love with jazz under the influence of his older sax-playing brother. He received his first violin lessons from Zoja Merzalova at the age of five and at 16 undertook his first concert tours after winning the music competition New Name of Ukraine. After completing his training at the Nezhdanova Academy of Music in Odessa, he continued his studies with Professor Sören Uhde at the Academy of Music in Würzburg.

At an early age, Michael discovered jazz, funk, art rock and pop His musical tastes range from Bach and Mozart to Coltrane and Keith Jarrett.


Vlad Pesin

Vlad PesinVladislav Pesin was born in 1973 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He graduated with honours from St. Petersburg Conservarory as a violinist in 1998, under the guidance of Professors A. Resnikovski, E. Komarova and E. Shafran, and post-graduate course for soloists in 2000. He was on a special course in the "Sweelink-Conservatoire" (Amsterdam, 1996), and in Moscow State Conservarory (2001-2002) under the guidance of professor S. Girshenko. He participated in master-courses of V. Libermann, T. Zehetmair, G. Krebbers, M. Leonhardt.

Grant-holder of the Foundation "Gartov Stiftung" (Germany).

Laureate of the prestigious international competitions: "Franz Schubert and the music of XX age" (Graz, 1997), Pietro Locatelli Competition (Amsterdam, 1997), Johannes Brahms Competition (Gdansk, 2003), special prizes of the Chamber Music Festival in Kuhmo (Finland 1999 and 2004).

In 1998-2000 he was the leader and soloist of chamber orchestra "St. Petersburg Mozarteum", with which has fulfilled a number of successful projects on the stage of the St. Petersburg State Philharmonic Great Hall. Among others were performed series of A. Vivaldi concerts "Le Quattro Stagioni" and "L'estro Armonico". At the same period of time he made a number of records for WDR and Opus111 with the  early music ensemble "Musica Petropolitana".

As a soloist appeared repeatedly with St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, The State Academy Symphony St. Petersburg  Orchestra, Vladicaucasus and Skopje Philharmonic Orchestras, Murmansk Philharmonic Orchestra, orchestra of The State Hermitage "St. Petersburg Camerata", Arkhangelsk State Chamber Orchestra, orchestras "MUSICA VIVA", Niewe Ensemble (Amsterdam), "The Pocket Symphony" (Moscow), «Minsk Chamber Soloists»,

in collaboration with T. Zehetmair, H. Holliger, S. Sondetskis, T. Sokhiev, F. Mastrangelo, A. Rudin, T.Grindenko, M. Fedotova, A. Goribol, P. Osetinskaja, N. Kozhukhar.

From 2005, he is the artistic director and soloist of the created by him "One Orchestra". The ensemble collaborated with «PICCOLO-teatro» of Milan in the production of the W. A. Mozart opera «Cosi fan tutte» (producer George Streler) on the stage of The St. Petersburg Alexandrinski Theatre. With the participation of "One Orchestra" went off successfully the Russian premiere of the «Stabat Mater» by L. Boccerini (author's version of 1800) under the guidance of the Lucca (Italy) «Boccerini-Orchestra» chief conductor maestro Rafaele Mascolo, and was realized the Russian premiere of the B. Britten's cantata «The Saint Nicholas», under patronage of The  British Council in St. Petersburg. 

He takes part in prestige international festivals of early and modern music as a soloist of The Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (MCME); carries on the intensive concert activities in Russia and abroad, appearing as a member of the "Playel-trio", the concerts and records of which are regularly transmitted by the broadcasting stations WDR-3, NDR-3, Russia Radio, and Radio «Orpheus».

From 2009 to 2012, he was the first violinist of The State Glinka quartet.

He is a grant-holder of the Darmstadt international Music Institute (Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt) in the nomination «Interpretation», 2012. .

He participated in the recording of more than 20 compact discs, in particular chamber music of L. Desyatnikov, V. Gaivoronski, P. Karmanov, D. Kurlyandski, B. Furrer. Together with Vasili Ilisavski (hammerklavier) they were the first in the Russia, who recorded on the historical instruments Violin Sonatas by L. van Beethoven.