Musica Reale, Netherlands, 2018

Tour Dates: 29th March - 8th April, 2018

Violin: Tjeerd Top, Viola: Ken Hakii
Cello: Gregor Horsch, Clarinet: Arno Piters
Pianist: Jeroen Bal

Tour Dates
  • 29th March - 8th April, 2018

Violin: Tjeerd Top

Born in 1978, Tjeerd Top studied with Qui van Woerdekom and Jaring Walta at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he completed a bachelor’s degree with distinction in 2000. He obtained a master’s degree, again with distinction, at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam after having studied with Alexander Kerr for two years.

Top is a winner of the Oskar Back Competition, at which he was also the recipient, together with pianist Mariken Zandvliet, of the Kersjes van de Groenekan Fund Prize for his interpretation of a work by Carlos Micháns. Top has given solo performances with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Holland Symfonia, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Costa Rica.

He performs regularly with the Vermeer Trio on a variety of chamber music series. Together with pianist Mariana Izman, he was selected for the Het Debuut series and performed with harpist Lavinia Meijer on the Concertgebouw’s concert series showcasing young Dutch musicians (Jonge Nederlanders). As a result of this concert at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Top and Meijer were given the Fortis MeesPierson Award.

Top was appointed first assistant principal violinist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2005, and is in high demand as guest principal violinist with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra (London).

Tjeerd Top plays a 1713 Stradivari, acquired with support of a private benefactor and provided to him in loan via RCO donors’ foundation Stichting Donateurs.

Viola: Ken Hakii

Born in 1954, Ken Hakii grew up and studied the viola in Tokyo. He continued his studies at the Cologne Conservatory with Rainer Moog and had lessons with Milton Thomas and William Primrose.

He joined the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1985. He has served as principal violist since 1992.

Hakii performed as a soloist with the orchestra in Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote on a European tour in 1997.

He performed Kurtág’s …concertante… for violin, viola and orchestra with his wife, violinist Hiromi Kikuchi, in November 2003. The couple also performed this work with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the Teatro della Scala Orchestra in Milan and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, among others.

Hakii has performed with his wife at leading international music festivals in Salzburg, Lucerne, Vienna, Paris and Venice. He is the recipient of awards including an Edison Classical and the Deutsche Kritiker Prize. In 2003, the New York Times named the CD Signs, Games, Messages, featuring music by Kurtág, ‘best recording of the year’.

Thanks to a generous private donor RCO donors’ foundation Stichting Donateurs was able to purchase a viola for Ken Hakii built by F. & G. Grancino (Milan, ca. 1680). Ken Hakii was given this instrument on loan in 2011.

Cello: Gregor Horsch

Born in Germany, Gregor Horsch studied at the Freiburg University of Music with Christoph Henkel and later at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Ralph Kirshbaum. After graduating from the latter institution with honours in 1989, Horsch moved to the Netherlands, serving successively as principal cellist with the Netherlands Balletorkest and the Residentie Orchestra. He was appointed principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1997.

As the winner of the 1988 Pierre Fournier Award in London, Horsch gave numerous recitals throughout the UK and made various radio recordings for the BBC. He made his debut at the Wigmore Hall and performed at the first International Cello Festival in Manchester and during the Schubert–Britten Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Horsch was also a prizewinner at the 1989 Scheveningen International Music Competition and at the 1990 Gaspar Cassadó cello competition in Florence.

Since 2010 Gregor Horsch plays a G.B. Rogeri cello, formerly played (and owned) by solo cellist Jean Decroos. This cello was purchased by RCO donors’ foundation Stichting Donateurs together with a number of individuals and given on loan to Horsch.

Clarinet: Arno Piters

Born in 1980, Arno Piters studied clarinet and E-flat clarinet with Jan Cober and Willem van der Vuurst at the Maastricht Conservatory, where he earned an honours diploma. He then went on to study with George Pieterson at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and was again awarded an honours diploma.

Piters was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and the European Union Youth Orchestra, where he performed under such conductors as Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

He has made solo appearances with the Residentie Orchestra and the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, among others. As a chamber player, he has performed at festivals both in and outside the Netherlands.

Piters was a member of the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2003. He was subsequently appointed as clarinetist and E-flat clarinetist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

He teaches at the conservatories in Amsterdam.

Pianist: Jeroen Bal

Jeroen Bal studied piano at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where he graduated “cum laude” in 1997. From that same year on he also started to work at the conservatory as a coach/accompanist.

Jeroen won several prizes: * Princess Christina concours 1991, 2nd prize
* SJMN Competition 1991,1st prize
* ”Vriendenkrans” Prize from the Concertgebouw, 1993
* Semifinals (3rd round) International Franz Liszt piano competition 1996 Utrecht

As an “orchestra pianist” he plays in all the important Dutch orchestras. For example, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, but also with international orchestras such as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. With this orchestra he performed the prominent solos in Stravinsky’s Petrushka under Pierre Boulez. He also recorded this piece, live, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons in 2004.

As a member of the Escher Trio he won the “European Music Prize” in 1991. With this trio he made concert tours through Norway, Czechia, Germany and the U.S.A. The Escher Trio attended master classes with: Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern and Menahem Pressler (Beaux Arts Trio). The Escher Trio trio won the T. Rogler Prize in the German ARD-Competition. With a new violinist, Tjeerd Top, concert master of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, they continued in 2010 as the Vermeer Trio.

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