Tiny Premieres

  • 13:30
  • 02.02 / 03.02.2018
  • Atriumzaal

Signum Quartett presents #Quartweet

The German Signum Quartet combines the string quartet and modern media in their #Quartweet project. They have asked numerous renowned composers to send in a Quartweet via twitter; a Quartweet is a composition of maximum 140 notes and rests (the equivalent of the maximum number of characters in a Tweet). However, young, new, old, as yet undiscovered and future composers are also invited to compose and send in a Quartweet! During the String Quartet Biennale the Signum Quartet will play a selection of new Quartweets in two sessions.


Keynote: Alex Ross

  • 11:30
  • 03.02.2018
  • Grote Zaal



Intimate Revolution: Radical Departures in String Quartets of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Alex Ross made his international breakthrough with ‘The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century’; the book made the New York Times’ top 10 and won international awards – not without reason. In The Rest Is Noise he achieved a feat that many have attempted in vain: he wrote an accessible guide to 20th-century music. Alex Ross will make his first Dutch appearance as a speaker at the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam.

In Ross’ own words: From Schoenberg’s Second Quartet onward, the string quartet has been the scene of some of the most significant developments in musical modernism. Something about the intimacy of the form has encouraged composers to drop constraints and test the outer limits of their art, whether in terms of harmony (Schoenberg, Webern), timbre and texture (Ruth Crawford Seeger, Xenakis), or form and duration (Shostakovich, Morton Feldman). In this lecture, we will recall some of the most striking moments in string-quartet modernism and examine the more adventurous tendencies in the music of today.

More info about Alex Ross


Early Haydn

  • 09:30
  • 03.02.2018
  • Kleine Zaal



Chris Duindam violin
Mintje van Lier violin
Anna den Herder viola
Maartje-Maria den Herder cello

Joseph Haydn String Quartet no. 24, op. 20/6
Mayke Nas Withorwithout

The Cuypers Quartet has been especially formed for the String Quartet Biennale. It comprises four musicians who join forces in an experiment: it is their particular instruments rather than their shared passion for the string quartet that have brought them together. All four musicians have an instrument made by the 18th-century Dutch violin maker Cuypers. Coming from the same maker, surely these instruments will blend perfectly together in a string quartet.

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What better way to open the festival day than with a Haydn quartet? The graceful elegance and clarity of the six Opus 20 string quartets, also known as the ‘Sun’ quartets, almost mask the ingenuity of this delightful music. During the String Quartet Biennale six different quartet ensembles open each festival day with a Haydn opus 20 and a surprising musical diversion.



  • 14:15
  • 03.02.2018
  • Grote Zaal



Frank de Groot violin
Maartje Kraan violin
Karin Dolman viola
Hans Woudenberg cello

Jan Rokyta cimbalom

György Kurtág Officium Breve
Sándor Veress String Quartet no. 2
Klaas de Vries Stringed quintet for string quartet and cimbalom (world première)

The DoelenKwartet is a renowned Dutch quartet specialising in contemporary music. The quartet celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new composition for string quartet and cimbalom by Klaas de Vries. The composer appropriately named the piece ‘Stringed’.

More info about DoelenKwartet, Klaas de Vries

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Although none of Bartók’s works are included in this programme, he is in fact the binding element between these three composers: De Vries looked to Bartók as a source of inspiration for Saba, while Veress is viewed as the connecting link between Bartók and Kurtág with regard to style.


Selected by / Signum Quartett

  • 17:00
  • 03.02.2018
  • Grote Zaal



Florian Donderer violin
Annette Walther violin
Xandi van Dijk viola
Thomas Schmitz cello

Leoš Janáček String Quartet no. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’
Franz Schubert String Quartet no. 13, D 804 ‘Rosamunde’

Sehnsucht; longing. This subject has fired the imagination of many artists and composers, including Schubert and Janáček. In Schubert’s ’Rosamunde’ the Signum Quartet senses a universally recognisable and extremely Romantic musical portrayal of longing. This is different from the personal longing felt by Janáček, who composed his second string quartet inspired by the extremely intimate, long-term correspondence between him and his unattainable love Kamila.

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There is no such thing as a definitive list of essential, outstanding, monumental or pioneering works that constitute the canon of the string quartet. During the String Quartet Biennale various quartets will start to create one. From an individual perspective, each selects a number of diverse works, adding them to the String Quartet Biennale canon under the title Selected By.


Closing Concert

  • 20:15
  • 03.02.2018
  • Grote Zaal



Quatuor Danel:

Marc Danel violin
Gilles Millet violin
Vlad Bogdanas viola
Yovan Markovitch cello

O/Modernt String Quartet:

Hugo Ticciati violin
Daniel Rowland violin
Gareth Lubbe viola
Julian Arp cello

Evelyn Glennie percussion

Jorinde Keesmaat regie

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky String Quartet no. 1
Claude Debussy String Quartet
Henry Purcell
Chaconne in G minor
Leoš Janáček String Quartet no. 1 ‘Kreutzer Sonata’
Askell Masson Frum
Evelyn Glennie Light in Darkness
James Tenney Having Never Written a Note for Percussion
Arvo Pärt Dona nobis pacem
Albert Schnelzer Apollonian Dances for string quartet (world première)

The Quatuor Danel, O/Modernt String Quartet and the percussionist Evelyn Glennie team up to conclude the first edition of the String Quartet Biennale under the direction of Jorinde Keesmaat: tradition, experiment, overtone singing, baroque and avant-garde; a spectacular crowning event to top off a week that has redefined the limits of the string quartet.

More info about Quatuor Danel, O/Modernt String Quartet, Evelyn Glennie, Jorinde Keesmaat

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The first half of this extra long concert will feature Quatuor Danel, which pays tribute to the tradition with Tchaikovsky and Debussy – an evergreen, quintessential string quartet programme. After the interval the O/Modernt String Quartet and percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who has been deaf since the age of 12, will take centre stage. Embracing experimentation one last time, they will demonstrate that the string quartet genre is full of life and continuing to evolve. Jorinde Keesmaat’s staging adds a fitting visual image to this distinctive and varied programme.