Quirine Viersen, cello
Quirine Viersen, a pupil of Heinrich Schiff amongst others, delivers particularly expressive accounts of the Cello Concerto and Ballade, both works beautifully written for the instrument and presenting the composer’s distinctively acerbic compositional style in a most convincing light.’ BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE (ABOUT cd Frank Martin: Celloconcert & Ballade)
Quirine Viersen is internationally recognized as one of the most prominent musical personalities of her generation. With her intense, expressive, and virtuosic cello playing, she continuously convinces colleagues, critics, and audiences of her great musicality and mastery.
In her performances, Quirine always strives to communicate with the audience. Through conveying her emotions, she aims to experience the music together with her listeners and “touch” them with her playing.
Quirine has been a prize winner in various international competitions. In 1989, she became the youngest prize winner ever at the Scheveningen International Music Competition. This was followed by the Rostropovich Competition in Paris (1990), the International Cello Competition in Helsinki (1991), and the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1994).
In 1994, she also received the most prestigious national award for classical music, the Dutch Music Prize (Nederlandse Muziek Prijs)
As part of winning the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award, Quirine performed with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta during the Lucerne Festival in 2000.
As a result of these notable achievements, Quirine had the opportunity to perform as a soloist with many leading symphony orchestras. These include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt, Ingo Metzmacher, and Bernard Haitink, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra under Marc Albrecht, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, Frankfurt Radio Symphony under Hugh Wolff, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Georges Pehlivanian, Vienna Chamber Orchestra under Heinrich Schiff, Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Lawrence Renes, and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Jean Fournet.
In addition to the standard cello concerto repertoire, Quirine has a strong affinity for the cello concertos of Samuel Barber, Erich Korngold, Antonin Dvorak, and Johannes Brahms’ Double Concerto.
Her interest in contemporary music led her to perform the world premiere of “Glacier” by Jacob ter Veldhuis at the Cello Biënnale Amsterdam in 2018. The piece was a solo work specially written for Quirine.
Playing chamber music is also a great passion for Quirine. She has collaborated with ensembles such as those featuring pianist Severin v. Eckardstein, violinists Alexander Sitkovetski and Franziska Hölscher and violist Isabelle van Keulen. In 2022, they embarked on an eight-concert tour of the Netherlands as a piano quintet, performing in major concert halls.
Plans for the upcoming seasons: Quirine will once again be a guest at the Musiktage Mondsee in Austria. She will tour Germany with violinist Veronika Eberle, pianist Markus Becker, and clarinettist Sharon Kam, performing works by Max Reger and Johannes Brahms. During the Cello Biennale 2024, Quirine will perform Saint-Saëns’ 1st Cello Concerto with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra.
In the 2023-2024 season, Quirine will tour the Netherlands with clarinettist Olivier Patey, violinists Maria Milstein and Mathieu van Bellen, and violist Georgy Kovalev, performing the clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms.
Together with violist Dana Zemstov, Quirine forms the piano quintet “The Trouts” with a group of young talented musicians including pianist Nikola Meeuwsen, violinist Hawijch Elders, and double bassist Sasha Witteveen.
Since 2022, Quirine has been the artistic director of the Bergen Duinstreek Chamber Music Festival, which will also take place again in March 2024.
In Het Concertgebouw, Quirine, in collaboration with harpist Kendra van Nes and pianist Daniël Kramer, organizes the well-known and successful Baby Concerts.
After forming a duo with pianist Silke Avenhaus for almost twenty years, Quirine entered into new and successful collaborations with pianists Enrico Pace and the recent winner of the Dutch Music Prize 2022, Thomas Beijer. She frequently shares the stage with musicians such as Liza Ferschtman and Antje Weithaas as well.
Quirine has made over ten CD recordings, with her most recent one (with Thomas Beijer) set to be released in the fall of 2023, featuring sonatas by Chopin, Poulenc, and Escher. Other notable recordings include the rarely performed Cello Concerto by Frank Martin, Benjamin Britten’s cello suites, and Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concertos in C and D with the Combattimento Consort.
Following her recording of Bach’s Cello Suites in 2011, The Strad published the following review: “(Her) interpretations are characterized by balance, imagination, and a keen sense of fantasy.” A new perspective on life and consequently on this impressive music led to a second complete recording, which was released by the Barca Nova label in late 2018.
Quirine received her first cello lessons from her father Yke Viersen (cellist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). She continued her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Jean Decroos and Dimitri Ferschtman. Cellist and mentor Heinrich Schiff had a profound influence on Quirine’s career, and her inspiring contacts with cellists Ralph Kirshbaum and Natalia Gutman have also greatly shaped Quirine Viersen.
Quirine Viersen plays the 1715 “Joseph Guarnerius Filius Andreae” cello, formerly played by André Navarra. This instrument was generously provided to her by the National Music Instrument Fund upon the recommendation of Heinrich Schiff, who also gifted her one of his bows for this instrument.