|TOEAC Accordion Duo, the Netherlands, 2011|
Tour Dates: 8 Dec - 19 Dec, 2011
"On taking the stage they give an endearing impression, the two tender girls with their large accordions of no less than fifteen kilos. But as soon as the first notes sound it becomes..."
9th Dec, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, hot-line: 021-68541234
Renée Bekkers - Accordion
Pieternel Berkers - Accordion
The TOEAC accordion duo consists of Renée Bekkers (1985) and Pieternel Berkers (1986). Both began accordion classes at the age of nine at the school of music in Gemert. They played in the school’s ensemble A SIX, conducted by Mayke Hendriks, from which the TOEAC duo originated. In 2009 they both graduated cum laude at the Conservatory in the Netherlands and are currently studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
The duo has been awarded several prizes:
• 1st prize at the Dutch Accordion Competition (2004/2006)
• 1st prize Renée solo at the Dutch Accordion Competition (2004)
• 1st prize Pieternel solo at the Dutch Accordion Competition (2006)
• 1st prize at the Princess Christina Competition in the southern region (2005)
• 1st prize at the 'Grand Prix International in France (2006)
• 1st prize at the 'Premio Internazionale di Fisarmonica' in Italy (2007)
• Laureat at the Grachtenfestival Academy of Music Competition (2008).
Renée and Pieternel co-operated with the Schönberg ensemble, the orchestra The Volharding, the Malando orchestra, the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra and the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In collaboration with the composers Jeroen Strijbos and Rob van Rijswijk TOEAC produced 'Air Sensible', a composition for two accordions and live-electronics. Together with the author Kader Abdolah TOEAC co-operated in a performance during the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam.
At the moment, several composers from Holland, Greece, Denmark and England are writing new compositions for TOEAC.
The duo gives concerts at a high frequency. During these performances they present a varied programme; Bach, Grieg, Piazzolla, Mussorgsky, Ter Veldhuis, Bargielski, Hvoslef and so on. Among others they have played at the 'Grachtenfestival', the 'Festival International Music Summer', the Oesophagus Festival and several Accordion Festivals, besides which they performed at locations such as the Philharmonie in Haarlem, the Oosterpoort in Groningen, the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw at the IJ in Amsterdam, the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips in Eindhoven, the Theater aan de Parade in Den Bosch, the Doelen in Rotterdam, the Vereniging in Nijmegen, the Nieuwe Kerk in Den Haag, the Vrijthof in Maastricht, the Kröller Möller Museum, the Vredenburg in Utrecht.
Abroad they played in England, Denmark and Belgium and they made a tour through Java, Indonesia. Coming summer they will have their debut in Germany, France and South Africa, and they will play at the Cheltenhamfestival in England.
TOEAC performed in the following tv programmes: 'De Wereld Draait Door', 'Vrije Geluiden' and 'Walhalla'. Besides these the duo performed in radio recordings such as 'Jong Talent op radio 4', 'Spiegelzaal', 'Viertakt' and several regional radio stations.
They attended Master Classes with a.o.: Claudio Jacomucci, Alexander Dimitriev, Mie Miki, Friedrich Lips, Mika Väyrynen, Yuri Shishkin, Radomir Tomic, Wjatoslav Semionov and Ivano Battiston.
"On taking the stage they give an endearing impression, the two tender girls with their large accordions of no less than fifteen kilos. But as soon as the first notes sound it becomes evident that they have more up their sleeves than a sweet piece of music: the hall fills with a penetrating sound, the pub at the harbour is farther removed than ever before. During the performance the two musicians look at each other, move their instruments as if they are dancing partners and use the scale of possibilities that the accordion has to offer."
"The young accordion duo Toeac, consisting of Renée Bekkers (22) and Pieternel Berkers (21), presented a concert that was so impressive, that the audience indeed from beginning to end were fascinated and fixed to their chairs. With cordial magic and skill they translated the intentions of the various composers to their personal experience. Toeac proved that the accordion deserves a more important position on the concert stage. The instrument harbours a range of colours that is so rich and has such an infinite gamut of possibilities that it is in fact an orchestra on its own. Even more so when it is played with such fervour and passion as both ladies showed.
In their first glance directed at one another Bekkers and Berkers displayed vigorous theatre personalities. Next, just like a couple of dancing swans, they presented a graceful ballet in which the languages of body and mind are optimally linked to each other. Making music became one steady and smooth draw of breath of warm emotion and total dedication. The couple felt and completed each other with an almost incomprehensible self-evidence."
"Accordion duo Toeac (Renée Bekkers and Pieternel Berkers) was the biggest surprise for this afternoon. The two young women moved heaven and earth with their play, especially in their grand virtuoso manner.They form a unity and are perfectly tuned to each other musically. From their charming instruments they conjure the most virtuoso sounds. Enchantment, obsession and vitality are the characteristics that receive complete manifestation in the hands of Toeac."
"The choice of programme of both accordion players was surprising, revealing that the accordion is an incredibly versatile and appealing instrument of which all facets are mastered and exploited by Renée and Pieternel. Moving, passionate and melancholic in the tangos of among others Piazzolla and Di Mattéo. Nimble and exciting in the compositions of Lundquist and Olsen. Obscure, gloomy and titillating in the works of the Russian composers Vlasov and Gubaidulina. It turned out to be an unforgettable afternoon with one big certainty: accordion duo Toeac is at the threshold of a promising career."