|Four Aces Guitar Quartet, Belgium, 2016|
Tour Dates: 30th June - 18th July, 2016
A boldly chosen program, great virtuosity and a richness of color and musicality...
1 July, 2016, 19:45, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center
2 July, 2016, 19:30, Xi’an Concert Hall
3 July, 2016, 19:00, Mong Man Wai Hall, Tsinghua University
5 July, 2016, 20:00, Zhongshan Culture & Art Center
6 July, 2016, 19:30, Tianjin Grand Theatre
7 July, 2016, 19:30, Nanjing Arts Centre
8 July, 2016, 19:30, Linyi Grand Theatre
10 July, 2016, 19:00, Harbin Grand Theatre
Bart Venken, guitar
The Four Aces Guitar Quartet was formed in 2008 when four Belgian classical guitar players met at the International Guitar-Symposium in Iserlohn. Their first concert was part of a graduation project where they overwhelmed the audience as well as the jury with a boldly chosen program, great virtuosity and a richness of color and musicality.
After making their debut the Four Aces were invited to play recitals throughout the country, including a concert in Bozar, one of Belgium’s most prestigious cultural venues. In addition to performing in these halls, the quartet also played live shows on Dutch radio station Radio 4 and on Belgian classical radio Klara.
The quartet has attended masterclasses with some of the most renowned guitar players in the world, such as Aniello Desiderio, the Katona Twins, David Russel and Johan Fostier. Another highlight was playing together with Grammy Award winning guitarist and founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Andrew York.
Over the years, the quartet has played concerts in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and China. In 2011 they were the first guitar ensemble ever to play the semifinals of the International Chamber Music Competition in Illzach, France. In the summer of 2013, they were asked to give masterclasses at the International Guitar-Symposium in Iserlohn, one of the biggest classical guitar festivals in Europe. Later that year they won Supernova, a Belgian chamber music competition that ensures partnership with several radio and television networks and is supported by the Belgian government.
On their latest album Odyssee the quartet tells the story of five-year collaboration as an ensemble by presenting each composition with a unique story, emotion and memory. This Odyssey even took them to China’s capital Beijing for a ten day concert tour and opened a lot of opportunities to the rest of the world. To be continued!
The Four Aces Guitar Quartet explores the world of the classical guitar by playing compositions for guitar quartet by Bellinati, Bogdanovic, Roux and many more. Besides exploring this marvelous world, they also like to expand it by playing arrangements of masterpieces written by well-known composers such as Bach, Puccini and Tchaikovsky, but also by arranging traditional folksongs and pop music.
Bart Venken, guitar
Bart Venken was born in 1988 in a remote Belgian town called Dilsen. He discovered an attraction to music and playing the guitar around his 15th birthday. In the three years that were to follow, he played in various pop and rock bands, and also found his way to classical music very soon.
In 2006 he was approved to start studying classical guitar in the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, where he had lessons with master guitarists and musicologists Roland Broux, Johan Fostier. He also studied in the conservatory in Ghent with master guitarist Yves Storms.
While studying, he performed in many chamber music and interdisciplinary projects. He was asked to play the lead guitar in a production of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, playing live music for a contemporary dance show with choreography by the famous Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. Another memorable episode was playing electric guitar for Champs d’Action, an organization focusing on contemporary art and music.
With his rock band Gogo Monkey Squad, Bart won various regional competitions and was a finalist in the national Limbomania competition. With this band, he played a lot of concerts in Belgium and neighboring countries and ecorded a few albums. He also played together with soul singer Roselien Tobbackx, in an intimate formation with classical guitar, ethnic percussion, voices and loop stations. Together, they won the ‘Young Wolves’ competition and played their music all over the country. He also played in various temporary bands to play live music at musicals or music theatre shows.
Bart is a founding member of the Four Aces Guitar Quartet, with whom he played in many countries over the world and with whom he is working on various projects in his never ending exploration of western classical music.
At the moment, he is studying harmony, arrangement and composition, interests he developed while arranging music of classical master composers for the Four Aces Guitar Quartet.
Inti de Maet, guitar
Inti de Maet started taking guitar courses at the age of 7 at the Stedelijke Muziek Academie of Eeklo and continued higher classical music studies at the renowned Lemmensinstituut in Leuven. He studied with the masters Roland Broux, Johan Fostier, and had lessons with Carlo Marcione and Aniello Desiderio.
He began jazz guitar studies at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp in 2009 and had lessons with jazz masters Hendrik Braeckman, Frederik Leroux and Nic Thys. He performs regularly in this context with Hanuman Swing, guitar duo Sarens de Maet, and many others.
Inti plays in various chamber music projects, including guitar duo, guitar and viola duo with Ha thi Ngoc Phung, Triunfal Quintet, and Four Aces Guitar Quartet. With his projects he played concerts in many countries, including Italy, Netherlands, Germany and China.
As a soloist Inti played on various occasions with big orchestra's, including the 2012 and 2013 World Soundtrack Awards in the huge Sport Stadium 'Kuipke' in Gent, and he performed the jazz guitar solo in the West Side Story Production of Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Wayne Marshall, in the beautiful Bozar Hall, Brussels, 2015.
As a studio musician Inti recorded cd’s with many artists, including No Angry Young Men, Les Mecs du Nord, Laura Tèm, and contributed together with Brussels Philharmonic to the L.A. Scoring Event in Mol (2014), and the soundtrack of the movie 'Plan Bart' (2014), written by composer Raf Keunen.
Besides all this, Inti composes and arranges music for theatre and music theater productions and for his own musical projects.
Menno Buggenhout, guitar
Menno Buggenhout was born in 1989 in the Belgian city of Antwerp. He started playing guitar and following lessons at eight years old, discovering that making music was the most fun he ever had. Throughout his youth he also played in various pop and rock formations, but the classical guitar remained his focal point.
In 2007 he started studying at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, graduating summa cum laude with Roland Broux and Johan Fostier. During that time he also attended masterclasses with some of the world’s most famous players, such as Carlo Marchione, Marcin Dylla, Laura Young and many others. He has played many concerts since, solo and in chamber music formations. This includes performances in Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia and China.
Next to his passion for the guitar he also became interested in composing in his early teens. His youth works culminated in winning 2nd prize in the Dexia Competition in 2007 with his guitar piece Mis Ugient Pyre Sloze. He subsequently started taking lessons with famous Belgian composers Luc Van Hove and Wim Henderickx, and after obtaining his Master’s degree in guitar he studied Composition in Antwerp with both of them. He had the honor of working with contemporary composers such as Mark Applebaum, Claudio Baroni and Phil Niblock and in 2015 he made a movie - which includes him playing his own music on guitar on all of Belgium’s highways - called Dossier E. Though he has made various pieces for as many different ensembles, the bigger part of his compositions is for the guitar.
Menno is the last one to join the Four Aces Guitar Quartet, in 2013. Ever since he’s been traveling the world with them; still having as much or even more fun as when he started playing.
Stein Verrelst, guitar
Stein Verrelst started his musical studies at the ‘Royal Conservatory of Antwerp’ in the class of Roland Broux and Jan Wellens. During his studies he attended many masterclasses with todays biggest names like Johan Fostier, David Russell, Anniello Desiderio and Roland Dyens.
As a young musician he already played concerts in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Slovenia, Germany and China in both solo and chamber music performance. He also worked together with many choirs and orchestras like ‘La Monnaie’ with which he performed a concert in the palatial gardens for former King of Belgium Albert II and the Royal Family.
With the ‘Brussels Philharmonic’ orchestra he played several concerts including the ‘World Soundtrack Awards’ where he performed ‘Il Giorno del’Ira’ from the movie ‘Django Unchained’, attended by the composer of the music Riz Ortolani. He also recorded a tribute cd with soundtracks from famous Martin Scorscese-movies together with the ‘Brussels Philharmonic’ orchestra and was asked to record the soundtrack for the Belgian movie ‘Plan Bart’.
In 2007 he had the honor to perform together with a selected group of 100 guitar players Glenn Branca’s (Sonic Youth) premiere of ‘Hallucination City’ in Belgium.
Besides the classical guitar, he also plays the acoustic and electric guitar in several projects including ‘Ladies of the ‘50’, a fifties tribute band.
"This ensemble is refreshing in any way classical music can be refreshing."
- Clazzical Magazine
"I know a good quartet when I hear one"
- Andrew York, former LAGQ-member