Renaissance Soundscape

  • 11:00
  • 28.01.2018
  • Grote Zaal


Mark Steinberg violin
Serena Canin violin
Misha Amory viola
Nina Lee cello

Johannes Ockeghem Ave Maria
Josquin des Prez (arr. Charles Wuorinen) Josquiniana: a selection of works by Josquin
Orlando di Lasso Carmina Chromatica
Richard Mico Fancy no. 5
Orlando di Lasso Sibylla Cimmeria
Richard Mico Fancy no. 9
Orlando di Lasso Sybilla Persica
Richard Mico Fancy no. 7
Orlando di Lasso Jubilate Deo
Carlo Gesualdo (arr. Mark Steinberg) Asciagate i beglio occhi
Carlo Gesualdo (arr. Mark Steinberg) O voi, troppo felici
Carlo Gesualdo (arr. Mark Steinberg) Tu m’uccidio crudele
Claudio Monteverdi (arr. Mark Steinberg) Lasciatemi Morire
Claudio Monteverdi (arr. Mark Steinberg) Ohime il bel viso
Claudio Monteverdi (arr. Mark Steinberg) Ditelo voi
Claudio Monteverdi (arr. Mark Steinberg) Zefiro torna

Composers such as Monteverdi, Josquin and Ockeghem are not names that one immediately associates with the string quartet. Although their music was not originally written for string quartet, the American Brentano Quartet feels strongly drawn towards the Renaissance sound world. With the string quartet as a new medium for early music, they breathe new life into these works from five centuries ago.

More info about Brentano Quartet

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The Brentano Quartet relishes performing early music. In their view this music is shown to best advantage in the form of the string quartet. Monteverdi’s heartrending music is complemented by the pure sounds of Josquin. Combined with some of Mico’s early works for string instruments – string quartet avant la lettre – this concert creates a unique soundscape.


Grass Roots

  • 13:00
  • 28.01.2018
  • Grote Zaal



  • Showcase afternoon with young talent and fringe programme
  • Specials

Winner Banff International String Quartet Competition (Rolston String Quartet / US)
Winner Melbourne International String Quartet Competition (Noga Quartett / GER)
Winner Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition (Quatuor Akilone / FR)
Winner Trondheim International String Quartet Competition (Maxwell Quartet / UK)

Winner Orlando Competition Behn Quartet (NL / UK)

Leo Samama host

Who are the string quartets of the future? Grass Roots features six young string quartets surrounded by a special fringe programme. The entire afternoon is devoted to making acquaintance with young talent and with the entire string quartet genre. As the entry ticket for Grass Roots gives the possibility of entering and leaving at will, listeners can select their own afternoon programme.

More info about Rolston String Quartet, Noga Quartet, Quatuor Akilone, Maxwell QuartetBehn QuartetLeo Samama

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In a varied Showcase programme four young quartet winners of international competitions present themselves, alongside two up-and-coming quartets from the Netherlands. On the programme: many works by Dutch composers and the essential core repertoire of every quartet. The fringe programme includes Leo Samama. This celebrated musicologist shares his knowledge about the history of the string quartet with unequalled passion and inspiration. There is also a workshop that focuses on learning to listen to the sound of the instruments.

More details will be released about the special fringe programme in the lead-up to the festival.


The creation of Beethoven’s late quartets

  • 17:00
  • 28.01.2018
  • Atriumzaal



  • Muzikaal college Prof. Barry Cooper + Quatuor Danel
  • Specials

Prof. Barry Cooper

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

Beethoven left behind thousands of pages of virtually illegible musical sketches. Once deciphered they give insight into the creation process of his compositions. The British professor Barry Cooper is the leading international authority in this extremely fascinating field. His many years of research shed a whole new light on the interpretation of Beethoven’s masterpieces. In this musical lecture he delves into the sketches of Beethoven’s late string quartets together with Quatuor Danel.

In this musical lecture (given in the English language) Professor Barry Cooper takes the public on a journey from first sketch to publication. Cooper teaches and carries out research at the University of Manchester, where he regularly collaborates with Quatuor Danel.

More info about Quatuor Danel, Barry Cooper


Lecture by Alfred Brendel

  • 14:00
  • 02.02.2018
  • BIMhuis

Alfred Brendel speaker
Leo Samama Q&A

Alfred Brendel is a household name. Though a string quartet festival might not be the place you’d expect the legendary pianist. Ever since he retired as a piano player in 2008, he has focussed on giving lectures and masterclasses and has string quartet had a special place for him.

In his own words: “For many years I have greatly enjoyed coaching string quartets, and above all dealing with the late string quartet music of Beethoven. What distinguished Beethovens lifestyle? To find a concise answer it seems indispensable to look at his late piano works that, next to the Piano/Cello Sonatas Op. 102 and the song cycle ‘An die ferne Geliebte’, inaugurated a new approach towards composition. I shall be glad to talk about these matters during the String Quartet Biennale in Amsterdam.


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



  • 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.