Liza Ferschtman, violin

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Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman is known for her passionate performances, interesting programs and communicative qualities on stage. The daughter of Russian musicians, Liza Ferschtman grew up constantly surrounded by music. One of her earliest major influences was the violinist Philipp Hirschhorn, a close family friend. She received her formal training from Herman Krebbers at the Amsterdam Conservatory, Ida Kavafian at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and David Takeno in London. In 2006 she received the highest accolade awarded to a musician in the Netherlands, the Dutch Music Award.

Liza Ferschtman’s worldwide appearances include: BBC National Orchestra of Wales and London Philharmonic, Dallas and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, Essen Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Weimar and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique and Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Prague, Malmö Symphony and Bergen Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic as well as virtually every Dutch orchestra, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philhamonic. Amongst the Conductors with whom she has worked are: Stefan Blunier, Frans Brüggen, Christoph von Dohnányi, Claus Peter Flor, Neeme Järvi, Yakov Kreizberg, Zdeněk Macál, Jun Märkl, Gianandrea Noseda, Marc Soustrot, Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Søndergård, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Mario Venzago, Jan Willem de Vriend and Jaap van Zweden.

An avid chamber musician, Liza Ferschtman has collaborated regularly with artists such as Jonathan Biss, Nobuko Imai, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Christian Poltera, Lars Anders Tomter and Alisa Weilerstein, counting as her duo partners Enrico Pace and Inon Barnatan. Appearing at venues such as Alice Tully Hall (New York), Wigmore Hall (London), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Liederhalle (Stuttgart) and Beethoven Haus (Bonn), she is also present at major international Chamber Music festivals. Moreover, Ms. Ferschtman has been the artistic director of the Delft Chamber Music Festival since 2007, one of the most admired festivals in the Netherlands.

Recent highlights have been the performance of Bach’s complete solo works in Amsterdam and a concert tour with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer of which The New York Times wrote: “…with Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman bringing refined beauty and character to the solo part of the Bernstein [Serenade] …the concert was nothing short of revelatory”. In 2015/16 she will be looking forward to concerts with the Residentie Orkest The Hague, the Nuremberg Symphony, Staatskapelle Weimar, and Bremen Philharmonic. She will further perform a tour with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra through Germany. Chamber music projects with different partners take her to the Schumannfest Düsseldorf, to Utrecht, Amsterdam and the Norwegian Risør Festival.

Liza Ferschtman’s recording of the Beethoven Concerto and Romances was received with great critical acclaim, as were other recordings with concertos by Dvořák and Röntgen, solo works by Bach and Ysaÿe (STRAD CD choice of the month), and duo works by Beethoven and Schubert. Her latest CD features solo works by Bach, Biber, Bartók and Berio (Challenge Classics).

Kreeta-Maria Kentala, violin

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Violinist Kreeta-Maria Kentala is a pioneer in the Finnish movement for early music. She’s at home as a soloist, a leader and a pedagogue of Baroque, Classical, Romantic music as well as folk music. She regularly gives concerts as a solo artist, a member of chamber music projects, and as a soloist, concertmaster and a leader of an orchestra.

Kreeta-Maria studied violin in the Central Ostrobothnia school of music with esteemed teachers such as Mauno Järvelä, Juha Kangas and Kaija Saarikettu. From there she advanced to Sibelius Academy and on to Edsberg music school to Jennifer and Endre Wolf’s group. A master class arranged at Edsberg introduced her to Reinhard Goebel, whom she followed to Cologne to study Baroque music. Kreeta-Maria also studied Baroque music on various master classes and collaborative projects under the guidance of Baroque violinist Monica Huggett.

In the course of her career Kreeta-Maria has had the opportunity to work as an orchestra musician in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and as a Baroque musician in the Musica Antiqua Köln ensemble. Kreeta-Maria is also active as a pedagogue – it seems a passion for teaching is a hereditary trait in her family. She teaches musicians specializing in Baroque music in Novia, Pietarsaari University of Applied Sciences. Furthermore, she’s very much in demand as a trainer for orchestral musicians and instrument pedagogues, especially in the musical styles of Baroque, Classicism and early Romantic era. Previously Kreeta-Maria as also worked as a lecturer for violin in the Länsi-Helsinki school of music and as a Baroque music lecturer in the Sibelius Academy.

Kreeta-Maria is the leader figure of several regularly touring ensembles. She’s a member of the Rantatie string quartet, specialising in period instruments, the Jouheva ensemble and the folk Baroque ensemble SAMA who combine Baroque with folk and new music. She’s also a member of The Jones Band that plays less familiar and more unusual Baroque sonatas, and Barocco Boreale, who tour the western coast of Finland and spread knowledge of early music. One of Kreeta-Maria’s favorite tasks is drawing up and playing concert repertoire consisting of unknown composers and music that rarely gets performed. She also loves merging different genres together: Baroque goes very well together with folk music or a brand new modern piece of music.

Recordings Kreeta-Maria has made as a chamber musician and a soloist have gathered great acclaim in Finland and abroad. She’s received three Emma Awards, a Janne Award from the Finnish AV producers and two the Album of the Year awards of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. In the year 2016 The Arts Promotion Centre Finland granted Kreeta-Maria a five-year artist grant for the years 2017–2021.

As a Kaustinen-born folk musician from both her mother and her father’s side, Kreeta-Maria has played folk music from a very early age, and the highly active musical life in her hometown is close to Kreeta-Maria’s heart. She was the artistic leader of the Kaustinen Chamber Music Week in the years 2010-2012, and the chair of Kaustinen Folk Musician Association in the years 2013–2016. She is currently active in the Folk Musician Association as a board member as well as in arranging folk music jam sessions.

Daniel Rowland, violin

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” Stellar playing.. Daniel Rowland has a powerful, glamorous tone, gleaming at the top and throaty and rugged down at the bottom” – Gramophone

Dutch/English violinist Daniel Rowland’s playing has been acclaimed as “wonderful, ravishing in its finesse” by The Guardian, “totally and truly charismatic” by Beeld, while The Herald praised his “astonishing sound and uniquely single minded intensity”

Daniel has established himself on the international scene as a highly versatile, charismatic and adventurous performer. In recent seasons he has performed concertos such as those of Mozart, Elgar, Korngold, Berg, Prokoffief, Schnittke, Glass & Ferneyhough, with orchestras from Tromso to Cape Town. Recent solo performances include the Korngold concerto with HET Symfonieorkest (Enschede), the Vivaldi/Piazzolla Eight Seasons with both the Ulster Orchestra and the Arcos Orchestra (New York) and Philip Glass Concerto with the Joensuu Symphony Orchestra (Finland).

As a soloist, Daniel Rowland has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, most notably the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Glinka Hall in St. Petersburg and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, and has collaborated with noted conductors such as Andrei Boreiko, Djanzug Khakidze, Viktor Liberman, Lawrence Foster, Heinz Holliger, Francois Xavier Roth, Bernhard Gueller and Jaap van Zweden. Apart from the core classical and romantic repertoire, Daniel is an enthusiastic advocate of 20th century and contemporary music, appearing as a soloist with ensembles such as the Nieuw Ensemble, Musikfabrik and Contrechamps. Recent highlights include the Berg Kammerconcert under Heinz Holliger, Saariaho’s Graaltheater and Ferneyhough’s Terrain – as well as Berio’s Sequenza at the Wigmore Hall.

A passionate chamber musician, Daniel has performed with artists as diverse as Ivry Gitlis, Polina Leschenko, Heinz Holliger, Dawn Upshaw, Gilles Apap, Alexander Lonquich, Priya Mitchell, Marcelo Nisinman, Michael Collins, Nicolas Daniel, Lars Vogt, Willard White and Elvis Costello. He is a frequent guest at foremost international chamber music festivals such as Kuhmo, Stellenbosch, Risor, Sonoro, Beethoven Festival Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Chiemgau, Osnabrück and Oxford. The Stift International Music Festival, of which he is founder and artistic director, saw its thirteenth edition in August 2017. This summer festival, held at an idyllic spot in the eastern Netherlands with concerts given in a 15th century church renowned for its fine acoustics, has garnered widespread acclaim as a festival of exceptional musical intensity and intimacy.

Daniel forms an acclaimed recital duo (described by BBC Music Magazine as “the perfect duo”) with pianist Natacha Kudritskaya. Their recording ‘Les Années folles’ (Ravel, Debussy, Poulenc, Gerschwin & Antheil) for Gutman Records was released in June ’15 and was followed by their disc of Enescu violin/piano works for Champs Hill Records in November ’16. Both releases were met with critical acclaim in the press.  He is also a founding member of the contemporary tango quintet ‘TANGO=ART’ with bandoneonist Marcelo Nisinman. The group released its debut disc ‘Tangos del angel y del Diablo’ in Berlin on the Berliner MeisterSchallplatten label in June ’14; they have now made a second recording for the same label, which will be released later this year. Rowland’s discography also includes his recording of the Vivaldi/Piazzolla Seasons for Two Pianists Records which again received excellent reviews (“to understand the meaning of fabulous, listen to these Piazzolla Seasons”- Die Burger).

Daniel Rowland is the first violin of the renowned Brodsky Quartet with whom he has recorded many records, mostly for Chandos, and toured Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, the Far East and most of Europe. In March ’16 the quartet recorded the complete Shostakowitch Quartets, live at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, to rave reviews. 

In demand as a soloist/director, Daniel has been invited to work with the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon, Portugal), the Ulster Orchestra, Camerata Scotland, the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra (Norway), the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, and the London Mozart Festival Orchestra, among many others.

Daniel is professor of violin at the Royal College of Music in London and gives Masterclasses all over the world. He is also a guest concertmaster with the BBCSO, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Daniel plays the “Ex-Rode” Guarneri del Gesù violin (Cremona ca. 1736), kindly on loan from the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation.

Daniel was born in London, and started his violin lessons in Enschede after his parents moved to Twente in the eastern Netherlands. He studied with Jan Repko, Davina van Wely, Herman Krebbers, Viktor Liberman and Igor Oistrakh.  Meeting Ivry Gitlis in 1995 was of great significance, leading to lessons in Paris and, later, to musical collaborations. Various successes at competitions include first prize at the 1995 Oskar Back competition at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Brahms Prize in Baden-Baden.

Hugo Ticciati, violin

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Hugo has a rare ability to convey a profound understanding of the music and shed light on its spiritual intent

-Arvo Pärt

As violinist and director Hugo imbibes all possible forms of creativity, whether it be performing premieres in Carnegie Hall, improvising with monks in India, or devising innovative programmes for O/Modernt.

Hugo is a violinist with a uniquely intellectual approach to his work, incorporating aspects of literature, philosophy, spirituality and meditation. Alongside his passion to discover and learn from music of all ages and traditions, Hugo embraces the world of contemporary music, performing works written for him in halls such as Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus and Shanghai Oriental Arts Theatre. He is also regularly asked to devise and present concerts with a unique twist, collaborating with ensembles such as Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Manchester Camerata and his own O/Modernt Orchestra. He has commissioned over fifty works by composers including Erkki-Sven Tüür, Peteris Vasks, Sven-David Sandström, Albert Schnelzer, Judith Weir and Tobias Broström. Hugo is the artistic director of Festival O/MODERNT at Ulriksdal’s Palace Theatre Confidencen, Stockholm. Every June, the oldest rococo theatre in Sweden houses a series of unique musical encounters that release the listener from their conventional box of habit. In 2017 the festival will be guided by ‘Vivaldi and the Return’.

With a passion for chamber music, Hugo gives regular recitals in prestigious festivals (Kuhmo, Edinburgh, Gstaad, St-Denis, Baltic Sea) and halls across Europe and the Far East, collaborating with artists such as Evelyn Glennie, Anne Sofie von Otter, Steven Isserlis, Angela Hewitt and Olli Mustonen. He plays on a 1751 G.B. Guadagnini.

Hugo regularly gives masterclasses and seminars on violin teaching, and lectures on music-related subjects all over the world. One of the highlights of the past year was a two-week stay in an ashram at the foot of the Himalayas where he chanted every morning, meditated and swept the floors by day and in the evenings sat crossed-legged by a fire, playing Bach to a group of barefooted monks. His musical tastes swing from contemplative Indian ragas to the megalomaniac rock-band, Muse (played at high volumes), to the songs of Richard Strauss (played even louder). Hugo still lives in the blissful state of mobilephonelessness. His staple reading is the Bhagavad Gita but he has recently been captivated by the work of the French philosopher, Henri Bergson.

Gareth Lubbe, viola & overtone singing

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South African born violist and overtone singer, Gareth Lubbe, appears as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, America, Africa and Asia. He received his first musical education on Piano and Violin at the age of four and made his violin debut with orchestra when he was nine years of age after which he received numerous prizes at national competitions.

As pianist he performed with the radio orchestra of South Africa. In 1994, he had the honour of performing at the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela in Pretoria. After studies in South Africa, he went on to study in Germany with Peter Matzka, Gorjan Kosuta, Barbara Westphal and the Alban Berg Quartet, amongst others.

In 2005 he started a career as principal viola player, firstly at the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (Phillipe Herreweghe) and two years later on the same position at the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig under the baton of Riccardo Chailly. During his eight years in that orchestra, he began exploring the realms of music-education at the Leipzig „Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy“ Conservatory and in 2013 was appointed as Professor of Viola at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. He is on the international faculty of the annual Chamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch which brings together up to 400 young students from across Africa and other parts of the world. He is also a regular guest at international festivals such as Kuhmo, Finland, Stift, Holland and Purbecks, England.

Amongst his current projects, is the newly formed O/Modernt string quartet, together with violinists Daniel Rowland, Hugo Ticciati and the cellist Julian Arp.

Multi-phonic vocal techniques and viola playing go hand in hand with Gareth. As overtone singer, he performs and gives active lectures around the world, translating the phenomenon of overtone singing into the possibilities of sound production on one’s own instrument. In 2011 he held regular overtone-singing workshops with the Thomas Boys Choir in Leipzig which resulted in performances with the choir next to Bach’s grave in the Thomas Church. Gareth has performed as overtone singer at the Salzburger Festspiele and was invited by the Goethe Institute to perform at an ethnic festival in the Altay mountains of southern Siberia where this polyphonic vocal technique has always been a vital element of the music of that region.

Composers have written music for Gareth’s overtone singing, including Sören Nils-Eichberg and most recently award winning german composer Bernd Franke who composed ‘Fynbos’ for overtone singer and string orchestra, which was premiered in Stockholm in November 2016. Gareth’s vocal and instrumental projects have led to work with artists such as Hayden Chisholm, Rebecca Horn, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the Finnish ensemble ‘Pipoka’ and many more. His most recent album release is a duo with the renowned Jazz pianist Simon Nabatov. ‘Lubatov’ (Leo Records) which is based on their shared territories of knowledge and interest in new music, modern classics and improvised music.

Gareth is very much at home in the world of improvisation, and one of the highlights of his annual rotation around the sun is performing on the compost organ as member of the Agricultural Symphony at the ‘Stelzen Festspiele bei Reuth’ amongst the meadows and fields of the Vogtland mountains of east Germany. Together with artistic director and multi- instrumentalist, Henry Schneider, as well as the sound artist Erwin Stache, Gareth uses the festival as a podium to unify all genres and styles of the arts and make music with any object from a spade to a cluster-assembly-milking machine.

Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma, viola

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Violist Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma started her musical studies with the violin. To keep her interested in playing she was given a viola to try out at the age of nine. Later on she has studied the viola with Jouko Mansnerus at the Sibelius Academy and Professor Rainer Moog at Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. Ristiluoma has also studied the baroque viola under the guidance of Kreeta-Maria Kentala.


Ristiluoma is an active chamber musician and has performed on numerous festivals in Finland; Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Crusell Festival, Hauho Festival and Rauma Festivo, just to mention a few. Her orchestral career started in 1989 with the Vihti Fiddlers and has taken Ristiluoma to play for example in the Helsinki Philharmonic, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra before starting her contract as the solo violist of the Finnish National Opera Orchestra. Ristiluoma is also an active member in Avanti! Chamber Orchestra and Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. Working in a string quartet project with the singer-songwriter Samae Koskinen has become an important part of Ristiluoma’s current career.

Julian Arp, cello

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Julian Arp, born into a family of musicians in 1981, studied at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin and was amongst Boris Pergamenschikow’s last students. He continued his studies with David Geringas and accomplished his solo studies with a chamber music degree in the class of Eberhard Feltz. The recurrent collaboration with musicians such as György Kurtág, Ferenc Rados und Steven Isserlis has also been of great importance.
As a soloist and chamber musician Julian Arp enjoys a worldwide concert activity and appears regularly at festivals such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, den Festspielen Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Beauvais, Montreux, Kuhmo, SoNoRo Bukarest, Stellenbosch, Stift Festival, the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, „Spannungen“ in Heimbach, as well as IMS Prussia Cove which has had both a strong personal and artistic impact on him.
Chamber music could be considered to be Julian Arps greatest musical dedication. Alongside his longstanding duo partner, the pianist Caspar Frantz with whom he has won numerous national and international prestigious awards, he plays with some of the finest musicians of today.
The Duo Arp/Frantz has so far recorded three CDs with works of Debussy, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek and Mendelssohn. ( Fono Forum: The Duo Arp/Frantz make the music become a pure celebration. It all sounds and sings.”) The latest recording conjoins the Gamba Sonatas by  J.S. Bach and pieces by Hungarian composer György Kurtág. All three albums have gained praise and international acclaim.
Julian Arp collaborates in a wide and varied repertoire and engages keenly in performing contemporary music. Composers such as Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Sven-Ingo Koch, Sarah Nemtsov and Violeta Dinescu have written pieces for him.
Together with Caspar Frantz and author and publisher Johannes Frank Julian is founder of the International Festival for Contemporary Chamber Music and Literature Zeitkunst.
In 2011 Zeitkunst was guest at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Radialsystem Berlin, Israel and England. In 2013 it took place in Rio de Janeiro.
In addition to his concert activity Julian Arp highly commits to teaching and regularly gives master classes in Germany and abroad.
Since October 2013 he has been teaching as professor at the University for Arts in Graz, Austria.

Tomas Nuñez-Garcés, cello

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Tomas Nuñez-Garcés (s. 1984) aloitti sello-opintonsa kuusivuotiaana Ahvenanmaan musiikkiopistossa, josta hän siirtyi Turun Konservatorioon ja sieltä myöhemmin Sibelius-Akatemiaan. Hänen opettajinaan ovat olleet Jacob Lind, Timo Hanhinen, Hannu Kiiski ja Marko Ylönen. Tomas on myös osallistunut lukuisiin mestarikursseihin kotimaassa ja ulkomailla.

Omien resitaalien lisäksi Nuñez-Garcés on esiintynyt Turun Filharmonisen Orkesterin, Kymi Sinfoniettan, Joensuun Kaupunginorkesterin, Keski-Pohjanmaan Kamariorkesterin, Oulu Sinfonian, Sinfonia Lahden, Suomen Kansallisoopperan orkesterin, Helsingin Kaupunginorkesterin ja Wegelius Kammarorkesterin solistina sekä orkesteri – että kamarimuusikkona kotimaassa ja mm. Ahvenanmaalla, Ruotsissa, Grönlannissa, USA:ssa, Saksassa, Tšekissä, Japanissa, Kiinassa ja Venäjällä. Nuñez-Garcés soittaa Postiglione-kvartetissa, joka voitti vuonna 2009 Rovaniemellä järjestetyn kansainvälisen Night and Sun jousikvartettikilpailun. Vuonna 2010 hän voitti Turun XI sellokilpailun ensimmäisen palkinnon ja yleisöpalkinnon. Hänet palkittiin myös kilpailun tilausteoksen parhaasta esityksestä. Keväällä 2010 hän aloitti työt Suomen Kansallisoopperan orkesterissa, ensin 2. soolosellistinä, syksystä 2011 lähtien 1. soolosellistinä. Vuodesta 2015 alkaen hän toimi Helsingin kaupunginorkesterin 1. soolosellistinä. Radion Sinfoniaorkesterin 1. soolosellistinä hän aloitti syksyllä 2017.

Tomas soittaa Radion Sinfoniaorkesterin Carcassi-sellolla vuodelta 1779.

Niek de Groot, double bass

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Dutch double bassist Niek de Groot is one of today’s leading soloists. Originally a trumpet-player he started playing the double-bass at 18. Within an unusually short time he became principal bass with several European ensembles, including a 10 year tenure as first solo-bass with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. After his formal studies he further developed his skills at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. Niek’s playing has benefited a great deal also from attending masterclasses with eminent cellists Frans Helmerson, Lluìs Claret, Laurence Lesser and in collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, György Sebök and Mstislav Rostropovich.

Since 2006 Niek de Groot has dedicated himself entirely to chamber music and solo performances. He performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician at the best known concerthalls and music festivals. A new well received solo CD for Nimbus was released in June 2015. New CD’s for both BIS-records and Audite will be released at the end of 2017. His repertoire includes a great deal of contemporary music and he has worked closely with composers such as Kurtág, Stockhausen, Saariaho, Vasks and Gubaidulina.

In 1996 Niek was appointed Senior Professor for Double Bass at the Folkwang University of Arts, Essen, becoming the only French Bow playing bassist ever to teach in such a position in Germany. He also taught at institutions in Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and regularly gives master classes worldwide. Many of his former and current students play in Europe’s foremost orchestras and ensembles.

Through his career, Niek de Groot has played on rare double basses by Cerutti, Bajoni and Amati. Since 2016 he got the lifelong privilege to play the world famous Domenico Montagnana double bass from 1747. His bows are especially made for him by Jochen Schmidt. His baroque and classical bows are by Gerhard Landwehr.


Christoffer Sundqvist, clarinet

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Christoffer Sundqvist (b. 1978,) has been principal clarinettist in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2005, makes regular solo appearances with orchestras and in chamber repertoire and teaches the clarinet at the Sibelius Academy and in master classes. A versatile musician, he has a repertoire ranging from the standard works to new commissions.

In recent years Christoffer has been the soloist with almost all the professional Finnish orchestras. Topping the list of solo engagements with orchestras abroad have been the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony, the Basel Symphony, the Estonian National Symphony, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonic and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Jukka-Pekka Saraste, John Storgårds, Sakari Oramo, Okko Kamu, Hannu Lintu, Anna-Maria Helsing and Eugene Zigane. He is also a regular visitor at European music festivals.

Also an active chamber musician, Christoffer was one of the founders of the Arctic Hysteria wind quintet in 1997. Another line-up important to him is the Plus Ensemble. He has played with many other chamber ensembles, given recitals in Finland and abroad and premiered works by Finnish composers Pehr-Henrik Nordgren, Atso Almila, Magnus Lindberg and others.

In order to generate new clarinet repertoire, Christoffer works in close partnership with composers. His collaboration with Sebastian Fagerlund has resulted in a Clarinet Concerto that has won widespread international acclaim, and he has also premiered the works Fuel (2010) and Sonata (2011).

Christoffer has been Artistic Director of the Jakobstad Sinfonietta and is, together with composer Sebastian Fagerlund, Artistic Director of the Rusk Chamber Music Festival founded by them in Pietarsaari/Jakobstad in 2013. The idea of this festival held at the end of November is to bring together top musicians of international renown. In the space of a few days, sometimes surprising events bring people and the arts together in joint experiences.


Bram van Sambeek, bassoon

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Bram van Sambeek (b. 1980) was the first bassoonist ever to receive the highest Dutch Cultural Award in 30 years: The Dutch Music Prize, handed out to him personally by Minister of Culture Ronald Plasterk in 2009. On this occasion, Bram played the bassoon concerto by Gubaidulina with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and chief conductor Seguin. De Telegraaf newspaper wrote about this performance: “He uses his instrument freely as a mouthpiece, conjures the finest timbres, and is technically capable of doing anything.” In 2011 he won a Borletti Buitoni Trust Award, and he has been admitted to The Chamber Music Society Two programme of New York’s Lincoln Center.

Bram van Sambeek performs regularly as a soloist with orchestras such as Sinfonia Rotterdam and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Recently, he played concertos by Villa Lobos, Mozart, Gubaidulina. Many composers, such as Vanessa Lann and Sebastian Fagerlund, have written concertos for him. Last season Bram expanded his soloist activities with many orchestras like The Gothenborg Symphony, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Oulu Symphony, the South Netherlands Philharmonic and the Combattimento Consort.

From 2002 until 2011 Bram was Principal Bassoonist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and since 2009 he has been teaching the bassoon at the Conservatories in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Last season he started teaching exclusively at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Bram has taught masterclasses at universities like Bloomington, Indiana, the Royal College in London, and the Hochschule für Musik Köln.

He played regularly as a Guest Principal with (among others) the London Symphony Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

As a chamber musician he has worked regularly with Alexei Ogrintchouk, Jörg Widmann, Reto Bieri, Clara Andradas de la Calle, Hervé Joulain, Radovan Vlatkovich, Liza Ferschtman, Christoph Pregardien, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicolas Altstaedt and Rick Stotijn. In 2010 Bram was offered a Carte Blanche series in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and in 2015 he received a “Wild Card” consisting of many adventurous concerts at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, also in Amsterdam. He is a regular guest at festivals like the Delft Chamber Music Festival, Storioni Festival, Orlando Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and has investigated concert practice in cooperation with Radio Kootwijk Live, experimenting with innovations such as playing people to sleep.

Bram is very much interested in playing any style he likes, which leads him to work with rock musicians like Sven Figee in Konzerthaus Berlin, Jazz musicians like Joris Roelofs at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival, Arabic musicians like Kinan Azmeh in the Morgenland Festival, and improvisers like Ernst Glerum in the “Apples and Olives” festival in Zürich. Recently he has started his own festival “Liquid Music Festival” which is inspired by the water around the venue: Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. The name receives its deeper meaning from fluently combining extremely different styles of music and creating a flow of one concert consisting of 17 parts with a three days duration, including the nights. It will take place from 7-9 July 2017.

Bram decided to start playing the bassoon when he was ten years old, beginning his studies with Fred Gaasterland and continuing later with Joep Terwey and Johan Steinmann at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. After his graduation, he took private lessons with Gustavo Núñez. In addition, he has participated in masterclasses with Brian Pollard and two of the most important bassoon soloists in the world: Klaus Thunemann and Sergio Azzolini. Bram also plays on a very special bassoon, an instrument that used to belong to both of these men.

About working together with Bram, Yannick Nézet-Séguin remarked in a television interview available at “I think he is able to fall in love with many aspects of the music, and doesn’t set himself too many boundaries.” In another interview about Bram, Valery Gergiev remarked: “…all in all a combination of being artistically involved, motivated and being gifted, being a very nice person, and also being a little bit unusual!”

On his debut cd with Brilliant Classics, called ‘Bassoon Concertos’, he presented a very accessible programme of bassoon concertos by Vivaldi, Du Puy, Villa Lobos, and Olthuis, receiving rave reviews like this remark in the Dutch music magazine Luister: “Judging by his playing, Mr van Sambeek awaits a golden future.” In march 2012, Brilliant Classics released his second cd “Bassoon-Kaleidoscope”, which includes different chamber music pieces, as well as a rock song. In 2015-2016 Bram has performed the two new bassoon concertos by Sebastian Fagerlund and Kalevi Aho and recorded them for the BIS label with whom he has an on-going cooperation.

Last year he was the spokesman of the “Save the bassoon” campaign set up by the Holland Festival. This lead to a lot of international attention and publicity for the instrument in the London Times, the Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung and played on many television shows.

Hervé Joulain, horn

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“Through his unlimited art, Hervé Joulain inscribes himself into legendary horn players’ trail, Dennis Brain and Barry Tuckwell” (Michel Le Naour “Le Monde de la Musique”)

Hervé Joulain opens a royal way, carrying his instrument as a soloist with 120 different orchestras, playing concerti from Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Weber, Saint-Saëns, Strauss, Britten…

His faultless course (several international prices) also brought him to perform with Paul Tortelier, Vadim Repin, Boris Berezowski, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Boris Belkin, Nathalia Gutmann, Pinchas Zukerman, Ian Bostridge, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Itamar Golan, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Barry Douglas, in France and in all eastern and western Europe, U.S.A., Canada, and Israel.

Hervé Joulain was appointed principal horn in the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Orchestre National de France, Symphonica Toscanini. He has been directed by Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Metha, Daniel Baremboïm, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa and Bernard Haïtink, Claudio Abbado, and have also played first with Berlin Philarmonic, New York Philarmonic, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe…

His radiance has led him to record about 20 CD’s and videos.

Hervé Joulain gives Master Classes in France, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, England, Korea, Japan, Australia, Nederlands and at the Mahler Academy.

Natacha Kudritskaya, piano

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Young Natacha first stepped into the classical music world as a student of the Lysenko Music School in Kiev, where she completed her training at the age of seventeen. After these formative years, she was part of three tours across the USA between 1996 and 2002 with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra; her very first experience as a concert musician.

She soon after integrated the Tchaïkovski National Music Academy of Ukraine in Kiev where she followed the teachings of Irina Barinova and Igor Riabov and applied for the competitive CNSM in Paris at the age of nineteen. She studied simultaneously in both these institutions and graduated with the highest distinctions and honours of the jury.

Four personalities have left their imprint on Natacha’s pianistic technique. First, Alain Planès, “my first professor, simply the representation of elegance, possessed a sheer sophisticated style”. Then came Jacques Rouvier, “very attached to the text, a rigorous and meticulous personality”. Her encounter with Ferenc Rados in Budapest, later on, was crucial: “he taught me how to read in between the notes” and, finally, Henri Barda “felt like a hurricane devastating my whole work and training, for there to reign only the power of music”

Rameau’s work marked a turning point in her approach of pianistic technique and she dedicated two albums to this composer: first in 2009, in association with Luciano Berio and then in 2012, with the label 1001 Notes.

2009 was the year Natacha Kudritskaya was invited to perform in the most prominent festivals and concert halls across France and Europe, among which figured Opéra Comique and Cité de la musique in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, Gstaad’s Festival, Concertgebouw in Bruges, Flagey in Bruxelles, Helsinki Philharmonie, Konzerthaus in Vienna, la Grange de Meslay, Oxford Chamber Music Festival or Kuhmo Festival in Finland.

Since 2015 Natacha Kudritskaya has been part of Universal Music catalogue and her first album, Nocturnes, is released by Deutsche Grammophon.

Raoul Björkenheim, guitar

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Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Björkenheim has spent much of his life shuttling between New York and Helsinki. Descended from a family of musicians, Raoul first tried his hand at playing violin, trading that in for a trumpet before finally settling on the guitar. Having played in rock bands as a teenager, he studied first at the Helsinki Conservatory, then at the Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving back to Helsinki in 1981.Since then he has been an active member of many music scenes, developing a bold approach to playing electric guitar and composing eclectic music for big bands, symphony orchestras, films, modern dance companies and his own groups.

Björkenheim formed several bands upon his return to Helsinki, most importantly Arbuusi, Roommushklahn and Symbioosi, and in 1983, he met the guru of Finnish free jazz, Edward Vesala. This led to an intense four-year apprenticeship in Vesala’s group “Sound & Fury”, a master’s class in improvisation. In 1987 Björkenheim formed what was to be one of his major groups, Krakatau.

Several influential recordings for ECM with Vesala and Krakatau brought Björkenheim to the attention of the international community, leading to encounters with musicians such as Juhani Aaltonen, Bill Laswell, Anthony Braxton, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, Mats Gustafsson, Henry Kaiser, Elliot Sharp, Paal Nilssen-Love, and Lukas Ligeti.

Björkenheim has been a soloist with the Helsinki Symphony Orchestra, the Avanti Chamber Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra, the UMO big band and the Tampere philharmonic, with material ranging from Rachmaninov’s “Vocalise” to Turnage’s “Blood on the Floor”, as well as his own concerto “Situations”. Most recently he recorded Arnhem’s “Signals” with the accordionist Frode Haltli.

Today Björkenheim’s main performing energies are brought into focus through his quartet Ecstasy, Triad, Blixt with Bill Laswell and Morgan Ågren, Scorch quartet, and solo guitar.

Björkenheim has been awarded the Georgie Prize for best jazz musician of the year, the Young Finland Award, the Emma prize (finnish grammy) for best jazz recording of the year, and been nominated three times for the Nordic Music Award.

Sören Lillkung, baritone

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Sören Lillkung graduated from the Sibelius-Academy in 1995 with Masters of Music in song and opera. He has performed many principal roles such as Eugen Onegin (Tchaikovsky), Sharpless in Madame Butterfly (Puccini) och Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte (Mozart), musical roles in Helsinki City Theatre such as  Javert in Les Misérables (Schönberg), Engineer in Miss Saigon (Schönberg) and  the Beast in Beauty and the Beast  (Mencken).

With West Coast  Kokkola Opera Lillkung has performed roles like the Count in the Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Döbeln in Döbeln 1809 (Fagerlund ), Falke in Die Fledermaus  (Strauss),  Papageno in the Magic Flute (Mozart) and the opera Harrbåda’s Maiden by Seppo Pohjola.

Lillkung also has worked in music education, as a voice teacher and choir master and he has founded and directed many choruses like His Master’s Noise and Wegeliuskören. He also worked as a Project Manager for Svenska Kulturfonden 2009-2012 and currently holds the position as a Department Head for Novia University’s culture department. Sören Lillkung is also a certified vocal coach from the Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen.


Annika Mylläri, soprano

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Multi-tasking Musician and opera singer, Annika Mylläri, graduated from Sibelius Academy and resided in USA for 10 years. She made her debut both in Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), worked with Opera New York and performed with own recitals and as a soloist. After returning to Finland in 2003, Annika founded the West Coast Kokkola Opera company with soprano Anu Komsi and maestro Sakari Oramo. The company produced its first Kokkola Opera Summer festival in 2006 and Annika has performed as a soloist in most of the productions. In 2008 WCKO received the Finnish Governmet Arts Award and in 2009 a recording of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Döbeln opera (BIS SACD-1790) received “Record of the Year” from the Finnish Broadcasting company. In 2015 the company’s recording of the opera Ahti Karjalainen – elä- mä, Kekkonen ja teot (Ahti Karjalainen – life, Kekkonen and works) by Heinz-Juhani Hofmann will be released. The opera received its world premiere in 2012 and toured in Espoo Theatre 2013. In addition Kokkola Opera Summer will celebrate its 10th festival with Jean Sibelius: Maiden in the Tower and a world premiere opera by Seppo Pohjola, The Maiden of Harrbåda.

Benny Ojala, composer

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Benny Ojala (f.1982) hemma från Närpes är utbildad ped.mag. från Åbo Akademi (2008), Musikpedagog från Yrkeshögskolan Novia (2013) och studerar för närvarande komposition vid Yrkeshögskolan Novia under Petri Judin. Till vardags arbetar han på Yrkesakademin i Österbotten som lärare i elgitarr och teoretiska ämnen. Ojala är en aktiv frilansmusiker främst som gitarrist i pop-, rock-, och jazzsammanhang. Han gav 2013 ut skivan ”Never Mind the Squirrel” med the Benny Ojala Trio. Ojala som har ett förflutet i Närpes Skolmusikkår spelar även regelbundet tuba med Amélie Goes to Belgrad och Rickard Eklund. Han har också skrivit arrangemang för blåsorkester och mindre sammansättningar.

“Inspirationen till Road Trip är något så vardagligt som en bilfärd längs en typisk finländsk landsväg.
Dessa resor präglas främst av stadig rytm och repetition. Stämningen och landskapet kan däremot variera kraftigt på grund av utomstående faktorer, och i slutändan är det just rytmen och repetitionen som är den trygghet vi hoppas slippa bryta.”


Guillermo Galindo, artist & musician

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Guillermo Galindo (post-Mexican composer)

The extent of the work of experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist, Jungian Tarotist and media artist Guillermo Galindo, redefines the conventional boundaries between music, the art of music composition and the intersections between the different art disciplines, humanitarian issues, spirituality and social awareness. 

Galindo’s artistic practice includes orchestral compositions, solo and ensemble works, opera,performance art, visual arts, computer interaction, electro-acoustic music, film, instrument building, three dimensional installation and live improvisation.

His orchestral compositions include major chamber and solo works include two symphonies commissioned by the UNAM (Mexico university symphony orchestra), Oakland Symphony orchestra and choir, and two operas with libretto by Guillermo Gomez Peña and Anne Carson.

His quartet “Remote Control”  has been recently commissioned by the Kronos quartet and will be premiered on April 2018.

Guillermo Galindo’s work has been featured by: BBC Outlook (London), Vice Magazine, (London), RTS Switzerland, National Public Radio (U.S.), CBC (Canada), California Sunday Magazine (U.S), Reforma Newspaper (Mexico) , CNN and the New York Times.

Galindo’s visual and three dimensional work has been shown at major museums and art festivals in America, Europe, Asia and around the world including documenta14 (2017), Pacific Standard Time (2017) and CTM (2017) festival in Berlin.

“Border Cantos”, an award winning book published by Aperture Foundation and  unique collaboration between Guillermo Galindo and photographer Richard Misrach which features Galindo’s instruments and musical scores made from detritus left behind by immigrants. “Border Cantos”, the exhibit has been widely covered by both national and International media and shown at the San Jose Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum, Texas (2016),  Crystal Bridges Museum, Arkansas (2017) and Pace Gallery in New York (2017).

NOVIA University of Applied Sciences visual arts & music

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 During this year’s RUSK festival students, alumni and teachers from Novia’s visual arts and music programmes are cooperating with the composer, musician and artist Guillermo Galindo (San Francisco/Mexico City). In a world marked by rapid change, movement, openness and economic, social and political upheaval, there is at the same time a paradoxical development towards more division, more borders, more walls and fences. Using Olivier Messiaen’s Quatour pour la fin du temps as a starting point, the project will visualise and problematise the idea of borders, border-crossings and economic growth. With a focus on the experimental in regards to content, form and soundscapes, the artists will combine time-based media, performance, installation, and sonic elements into RISK RUSK SITUATION #1 / 2017.


Participants: Carina Ahlskog, Finn Appel, Anton Back, Albert Braun, Moa Cederberg, Joakim Finholm, Guillermo Galindo, Johanna Luukkonen, Michel Ruths, Johan Sandås, Emma Vikberg, Michele Uccheddu, Kevin Åkerlund, Jenni Österlund / Documentation (YA): Marcus Finholm, Sebastian Holmblad, Amanda Sandvik