Who does not remember last year's incredibly exciting final of the Grachtenfestival Prize, in which pianist Nikola Meeuwsen, clarinetist Gerbrich Meijer and cellist Anton Spronk competed for the title of Artist in Residence for the Grachtenfestival 2023? Nikola walked away with the title, but promised to ask his fellow nominees back for a concert in his residence. In a downright spectacular venue, the Passage beneath the Rijksmuseum, the musical friends return for a program featuring our all-time favorites: Mozart and Beethoven. Completing the trio is internationally acclaimed viola player and good friend of the Grachtenfestival, Takehiro Konoe. Together Take and Nikola will perform works by British composer Rebecca Clarke and Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu as a tastful complement to and contrast with the great Viennese masters; and all that under the watchful eye of Rembrandt and Vermeer!
R. Clarke (1886-1979): Morpheus
W.A. Mozart (1756-1791): Trio in E flat major KV498 'Kegelstatt'
T. Takemitsu (1930-1996): A bird came down the walk
L. van Beethoven (1770-1827): Cello sonata no. 5 in D, opus 102
Nikola Meeuwsen, piano
Nikola Meeuwsen (2002) profiles himself as one of the most remarkable young pianists of his time. He won the GrachtenfestivalPrijs 2022, making him the youngest musician ever to be selected as Artist in Residence for the Grachtenfestival 2023. The jury spoke of him as follows: "Nikola is characterized by his crystal clear musical thinking; in his playing, silence and movement coincide brilliantly. His train of thought is pure poetry."
As a child, Nikola knew he wanted to be a pianist after listening to Horowitz's performance of Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto. Soon his talent was recognized: he won the Steinway Competition in 2012 and the Royal Concertgebouw Competition in 2014, and received the prestigious Concertgebouw Young Talent Award in 2019. He has soloed with the Residentie Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, and has been heard as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the Netherlands, in Italy, Wales, Germany and Belgium, among others, and at renowned festivals at home and abroad. In season 2023/2024, he will make his debut with the National Orchestra of Lithuania and his debut recital at the Concertgebouw will follow. Nikola has been studying with Marlies van Gent and with Enrico Pace at the Accademia Pianistica di Imola since 2014, as well as at the Queen Elisabeth Chapel in Brussels with Frank Braley and Avedis Kouyoumdjian. His debut CD was released by Avrotros in 2020 with works by Schumann, Scriabin, Brahms and Bach.
Takehiroe Konoe, viola
Takehiro Konoe (1997) started violin lessons at the age of four with Coosje Wijzenbeek. Two years later, he was admitted to the Young Talent department of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Since the age of 13, Take has also played the viola. He studied at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, main subject viola, with Nobuko Imai and Francien Schatborn. He played with world-renowned pianist Menahem Pressler and performed in Switzerland, the United States, Germany, Japan and Brazil, among other countries. He has performed as a soloist with the Netherlands Youth Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest, Sinfonia Rotterdam, the Schleswig-Holstein Symphonie Orchester and the Caserta Chamber Orchestra. Take participated in the string quartet master classes of the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland and played at various festivals at home and abroad. In 2022, Take won the first prize in the Oskar Nedbal International Viola Competition in the Czech Republic. In 2017, he won the Fifth National Viola Competition, after which he was a finalist at the Tokyo International Viola Competition in 2018. In the same year, he was awarded the third prize in the ARD Music competition, and in 2020 he won the first prize at the Johannes Brahms Competition. Take plays an anonymous viola from the collection of the National Musical Instruments Fund.
Anton Spronk, cello
Anton Spronk (b. 1994) is one of the greatest Dutch cello talents. Already at the age of 19, he won 1st prize, audience prize and the prize for the best interpretation of the commissioned composition at the 2014 National Cello Competition. In 2019, Anton was awarded the 'Prix du Rotary' at the Verbier Festival, and in October 2019 he won a 1st prize, the audience prize and the orchestra prize at the International Mazzacurati Competition in Turin. In 2021, Anton won the Dutch Classical Talent Award. He was nominated for the GrachtenfestivalPrijs in 2022.
Anton received his first cello lessons from his father and continued his education at the conservatories of The Hague, Amsterdam, Zurich and Berlin. He gives concerts worldwide both as a soloist and as a chamber musician in venues such as the Concertgebouw, Tonhalle Zurich, Carnegie Hall, Seoul Arts Center and the Berliner Philharmonie. He has soloed with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Münchener Kammerorchester, Philharmonie Zuidnederland, among others. In 2016, Anton co-founded the international festival 'Eggenfelden klassisch' with violinist Larissa Cidlinsky, which takes place annually in southern Germany. He has a cello on loan from the collection of the National Musical Instruments Fund, built in 1865 by J. B. Vuillaume.
Gerbrich Meijer, clarinet
Gerbrich Meijer (1997) is an internationally active chamber musician, soloist and orchestral musician and was a nominee for the GrachtenfestivalPrijs in 2022. In late 2023, her debut album will be released and she will be a finalist for Dutch Classical Talent, touring the Netherlands with her own show in November and December. Meanwhile, Gerbrich is pursuing her soloist degree at the Royal Conservatory of Copenhagen where she obtained her bachelor Cum Laude with John Kruse. She obtained her masters, with highest distinction, at the renowned Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles with Professor Yehuda Gilad. She started her education in the Netherlands with Ivar Römer and Yfynke Hoogeveen.
Gerbrich has successfully participated in several international competitions. She was chosen as a finalist of the Carl Nielsen International Clarinet Competition in 2022 and won the London Symphony Keston Max competition in 2020. Last year, she made her debut as a soloist with Camerata of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. She also played in The Hague for the Council of State, at the International Chamber Music Festival of Schiermonnikoog and in Taiwan, among others. As a 15-year-old, she already made her debut in the small hall of the Concertgebouw. Gerbrich has given concerts with London Symphony Orchestra, The Danish Radio, Copenhagen Philharmonic, the European Youth Orchestra and the Noord Nederlands Orkest, among others.