The Finnish violinist Sini Simonen enjoys an active international
career as a chamber musician and soloist. She is the leader of
Castalian String Quartet and the violinist of Calvino Piano Trio.
Simonen has won top prizes in several major international violin
competitions including the Flesch, Lipizer and Cremona
competitions. She has also won prizes in the Brahms, Lyon,
ARD, Banff and Citta di Pinerolo chamber music competitions.
She studied in Sibelius Academy, Musikhochschule Hannover
and Musik-Akademie Basel with Lara Lev and Rainer Schmidt
among others. Masterclasses and collaborations with Ferenc
Rados, Gerhard Schulz, Sir Andras Schiff, Miriam Fried, and
Ursula Smith provided important influences.
From 2013 to 2017, Sini was a violinist of Esbjerg Ensemble,
one of Denmark’s oldest chamber groups. The ensemble is
comprised of a string quartet, wind quintet and percussion,
and it is known for its innovative programmes combining
contemporary and classical music.
She has appeared as a concerto soloist with orchestras
including Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki
Philharmonic, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Cologne
Chamber Orchestra, Göttingen Symphony Orchestra and
Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Her cd recordings as a
soloist include Bach’s double violin concerto with Helsinki
Strings (Warner) and Vivaldi’s concerto for 3 violins (tacet).
Her chamber music partners have included Ferenc Rados,
Robert Levin, Midori and Steven Isserlis.
She plays a Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin from 1760
on loan from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Michel Camille, viola
Michel Camille has been engaged as the Esbjerg Ensemble’s viola player since 1995 and from 1997 – 2001 presided as the Ensemble’s Artistic Director. In 1999 Michel founded the annual Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival and as its Artistic and Administrative Director, has collaborated with Denmark’s most notable composers and invited chamber musicians and soloists from all over the world.
During his education, Michel Camille won numerous awards, the first when he was only 11 years old – afull scholarship to Wells Cathedral School, a specialist music school.
As a pupil of one of England’s elite music schools he received an intense musical education combined with frequent appearances as a soloist as well as an ensemble musician. For Michel’s part, that meant performing with legends such as Yehudi Menuhin, Yfrah Neamen, Norman delMar and Igor Ozim in concert halls in Europe and further afield.
After turning 18, Michel also won awards for solo and chamber music appearances in London as a viola player, including the “Premier Prix” at the Guildhall School of Music, where he studied with Professor David Takeno, and later the “Concerto prize” at Banff Fine Arts.
After a short period playing often as principal with orchestras such as the Academy of St. Martin, LPO, the BBC Symphony, London Musici, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the City of London Sinfonia, Michel decided to entirely devote to chamber music. Since then he has worked for both the classical and the contemporary chamber music scene as a performer on the international stage, as well as an Artistic Director introducing innovative programming, and has brought colourful Art forms as demonstrated by collaborations with dance, puppet theatre & music of our time.
Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson works prolifically as soloist and chamber musician.
Highlights of the 2018/19 season include a solo recital in London’s Kings Place “Time Unwrapped” series on November 14th, appearances at Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Aldeburgh, Resonances and Ernen festivals, and collaborations with Adrian Brendel, Steven Isserlis, Viktoria Mullova, Pieter Wispelwey, the Doric String Quartet, the Gringolts Quartet and the Nash Ensemble among many. Throughout the season he is Chamber Pianist in Residence at Sage Gateshead.
Alasdair is renowned as a sincere musician and intrepid programmer. Alongside a particular affinity with the classical repertoire and the music of Schumann and Fauré, he often explores the more exotic: Catoire, Pierné, Thuille; Debussy’s Jeux (in the composer’s arrangement for solo piano); Ligeti Horn Trio, Thomas Adès Piano Quintet; and piano trio arrangements of Debussy’s La Mer, Janacek’s Kreutzer Sonata, Shostakovich’s 15th Symphony (with 3 percussionists) and Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht. His concerto repertoire includes works of Bach, Bartok, Fauré, Hans Abrahamsen, Hindemith, Mozart, Sally Beamish, Stravinsky, Messiaen, appearing in recent years with Britten Sinfonia, Moscow Virtuosi, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sønderjyllands Symphony Orchestra and Tapiola Sinfonietta.
2017 saw the release on BIS of a recording with Alec Frank-Gemmill of 19th century music for horn and piano, recorded on four exquisite historical pianos (and four fantastical historical horns) spanning 1815 – 1895. This release joins an acclaimed discography of three solo and numerous chamber recordings, on BIS, Claves, Champs Hill, Evil Penguin and SOMM labels.
A regular participant at the open chamber music at IMS Prussia Cove, Alasdair took part in their tours of 2007 and 2011, and collected the 2008 RPS Award for Chamber Music on their behalf. He has enjoyed working closely with composers George Benjamin, Harrison Birtwistle, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Heinz Holliger and Helena Winkelman.
A former student of John Blakely and Menahem Pressler, Alasdair is increasingly drawn to education, teaching annually on the Musicworks summer courses, as a regular mentor at London’s Chamber Studio, and maintaining a class of solo pianists at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Alasdair is founder and artistic director of the French chamber music festival Musique à Marsac.
Kana Sugimura, violin
Kana Sugimura was born in New York to Japanese parents, and took up the violin at the age of five. Studying privately with Yfrah Neaman in the U.K., she continued her
studies with Takashi Shimizu at the Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai). After graduation on highest marks, she served a year as assisting faculty. On receiving grant from the Meiji-Yasuda Foundation, she went on to study with Krzysztof Wegrzyn at the Hannover University of Music and Drama.
She has been awarded prizes at many international competitions such as the Premio Trio di Trieste Chamber Music Competition (duo with pianists Natsumi Ohno and
quartet with Flex Ensemble), the first International Violin Competition in Qingdao, China, Jeunesses Musicales International Competition in Belgrade, or the Hannover
International Violin Competition.
Kana Sugimura has performed as soloist with such orchestras as the Japan Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Osaka Century Orchestra,
the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Baltic Symphony Orchestra, and the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra.
In 2007, together with the Linos Ensemble, she gave the premiere of the arrangement of the violin concerto of Alban Berg, by Andreas Tarkmann,
As guest concert master, she has joined orchestras such as the St.Gallen Symphony Orchestra, the South West German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, or the Northern German Broadcasting (NDR) Radio orchestra.
Since 2012 she is the co-founder and violinist of the Germany based piano quartet Flex Ensemble, and concert master of chamber orchestra Musica Assoluta.
She currently teaches at the Hannover University of Music and Drama.
Bogdan Božović enjoys a versatile international career as chamber musician, soloist and chamber orchestra leader. As violinist of the world-renowned Vienna Piano Trio from 2012 to 2015, he has toured Europe, the Americas and Asia, appearing in some of the most prestigious chamber music venues, including the Wigmore Hall in London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Vienna, Cité de la Musique in Paris and The Frick Collection in New York. He has made two critically acclaimed recordings with the ensemble on the label MD&G, featuring works by Beethoven and Saint-Saëns.
His chamber music festival performances include IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music in Cornwall, England (member of the tour-ensemble in 2011), Chamber Music Connects the World in Kronberg, as well as the Prades, Båstad, Gstaad, Whittington, Nuremberg, Caramoor and Ottawa festivals and series. Among his chamber music partners are Steven Isserlis, Christian Tetzlaff, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Lukas Hagen and Veronika Hagen. His live recordings have had multiple international broadcasts including those by BBC Radio 3, Radio France, WDR 3, NPO Radio 4, WQXR-FM New York and Radio Beograd.
Bogdan’s recent solo-appearances include the Schumann Violin Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra Basel. He has been guest leader of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble DIAGONAL Basel (in their Lucerne festival-performance), Ensemble Phoenix in Basel and others. He is a founding member of the Leondari Ensemble, resident ensemble at the annual Saronic Chamber Music Festival in Greece.
Bogdan has given master-classes at the Royal College of Music in London, Leeds College of Music and has been a tutor at the chamber music seminar MusicWorks in West Sussex/England.
A native of Belgrade, Serbia, he studied with Vesna Stanković at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Klara Flieder at the University Mozarteum Salzburg and obtained his masters degree with distinction in the class of Rainer Schmidt at the Basel Academy of Music. Other important musical influences were from lessons with Ferenc Rados, Pamela Frank, Chiara Banchini (baroque violin) and collaborations with contemporary composers such as Heinz Holliger and Georg Friedrich Haas.
Bogdan plays on the “ex-Arma Senkrah” Stradivarius violin from 1685, on generous loan from the Ruggieri Foundation.
Felicia Gabriela Greciuc is curently a new member of
Esbjerg Ensembe. She started clasical music at 11 years old and in the
same time she started to learn to play oboe. The reason that Felicia
“choosed” oboe is because of the special sound of this
instrument, the sound that makes you fall in love.
From 2013-2016 she is was Solo Oboe in “George Enescu ”
Philharmonic Bucharest, and 2016 -2017 Solo Oboe in Iceland
Symphony Orcestra. She is also often invited to play in
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic,
Duisburg Philharmoniker and others. Besides Orchestra
projects she is interested in chamber music and she used
her time and musicality as often she had the ocassion playing
with various ensemble in Denmark – Copenhagen and Romania –
Felicia graduated the Batchelor program in 2012 at the
National University of Music Bucharest and curently she
is finishing her Master Program at the Royal Danish
Academy of Music Copenhagen having as teachers
Max Artved and Ioakim Dam Thomson. During all
these educational time she also had masterclasses
with international teachers and soloist as – Matthias
Backer, Emanuel Abbuhl, Christian Smith, Francois
Leleux, Gareth Hulse and others.
As a young musician she wants to be involved in
more contemporary music and she is always looking
for new challenges in all direction of music.
Because music is the strongest form of magic.
Jesper Lützhøft, konferencier m.m.
The Danish guitarist, music producer, and formeropera and orchestra director, Jesper Lützhøft,
made his debut as a soloist at the Royal. Danish Academy of Music in 1987 and has since haunted
the Danish music scene on many different levels.
From 2001 to 2007 he was engaged at Danish
Broadcasting Corporation where he organized achamber music competition and introduced music
to the audience with the concert series
"Kammermusik med Birkes". In recent years
he performed concertos at the Hindsgavl
Festival with the the Odense Symfoniorkester.
- It was a bit scary in the beginning to find out that it is not that easy to play the bassoon. Like, I played the first month on a plastic reed I found in the case of the music school instrument and was advancing really quickly. I was naturally in my mind on my way to become the next genius superstar of the bassooning, the one that would just change the way we think about everything in life. Then it hit me that there is a number of tone exercises, study pieces and scales to play and a huge number of wooden mouthpieces to make yourself before I could actually even dream about any kind of professional musician’s life. The instrument case started to feel really heavy and I became very upset for a moment.
By the following weeks and months I was still in a way curious to find out how one actually could produce tone, a phrase, different sounds on this strange instrument so I kept playing it every now and then, not really much though.
The lucky part for me really was that at already a very early stage of my bassoon hobby, after some months of struggle, I met new friends, teachers and other musicians among some colleagues-to-be with whom I was immediately able to relate in terms of enthusiasm, joy of playing and the way you think about your art and music. Knowing that someone shared my views and likes to do things that I like as well was a powerful experience that made the technical limit so much more bearable.
I think I chose art as a way of life rather than I chose the instrument, but I feel very happy that I ended up playing the bassoon as my main thing, it might be the form of art that I in a very personal level enjoy the most.
Sakari Tepponen, violin
Member of Esbjerg Ensemble since 1997. “I started playing violin under my older brother’s guidance. He was already employed as a violinist at the National Opera Orchestra in Helsinki when I started. It was a natural choice for me to learn to play the violin because at home, I had heard violin playing throughout my entire childhood. ” Sakari graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna.Alongside his employment as concertmaster in the internationally recognised Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Sakari has performed as a chamber musician and
soloist throughout Finland. He has performed as a soloist and chambermusician at concerts nationally in Denmark and abroad. In 2002 he performed a recital with pianist Masahiro Saito at The Musashino Cultural Center in Tokyo. Sakari has recorded solo pieces with orchestras, among others music by Felix Mendelssohn, Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Jean Sibelius. His recording and
concert performances with Finnish violin music led to the Sibelius Medal in
1996.Today, Sakari teaches chamber music and soloist masterclasses bothin Denmark and abroad.
Joke Wijma, Horn
Member Esbjerg Ensemble since 2005. “Playing Peter Maxwell Davies’ “Sea Eagle” for solo horn outdoors, while a bird of prey show took place,has been the most remarkable experience I have had with the ensemble.”
After studying with Frank Brouns and Hans Dullarert at the Conservatory in
Groningen, Joke Wijma continued her studies at the Hochschule for Music
and Theatre in Hamburg, where the Dutch hornist Ab Koster was professor.
After graduating in 2004, she continued her studies with Koster as wellas working with the Duisburger Philharmoniker as an intern.
Ron Chen-Zion, Clarinet
Member of Esbjerg Ensemble since1993. “When Iwas 11, I happened to get the mail one day and found among them an advertisement that read: “Learn to play an instrument inonly three months”. When I subsequently turned up at the
music school, they only had one instrument for loan: the clarinet. We were two students who had to share the instrument and because we had clarinet lessons onThursdays, the other student and I each had the clarinet three days a week”.Ron Chen-Zion began his studies with
Richard Lesser of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1986 he moved to the US where he continued his studies and graduated from the New England Conservatory.
In 1990, Ron Chen–Zion was appointed solo clarinetist atThe State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra. As achamber m
usician, he has quite frequently been invited to Rudolf Serkins Marlboro Music Festival in the United States and has performed in most of Europe, Israel and the Americas. Ron Chen-Zion has recorded several CDs, including one highly praised rendering of Max Regers’ pieces for clarinet and piano.
Kerstin Thiele, flute
Member of Esbjerg Ensemble since1986. “It was
a bit of a coincidence that I started playing flute. My sister and fatherplayed in the local brass band and they needed a flute player, so that position was just for me.” Kerstin is a member of the board,
appointed by the other musicians. Kerstin Thiele studied with solo flutist Toke Lund Christiansen at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and with Professor Andre Jaunet in Zurich. Besides being a member of Esbjerg Ensemble, Kerstin Thiele participates actively in the rest of the music scene
at home and abroad, and she is also a teacher at Syddansk Academyof Music.
Christian Martinez, percussion
Christian Martinez commenced his percussion studies in his
home town of Cali in Columbia. Later followed studies at theManhattan School of Music in New York and at Rogaland Music Conservatory in Stavanger. In 1996 he graduated
from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen,
the same year he became a member of Esbjerg Ensemble.Christian Martínez has participated as a chamber musician
and soloist at several festivals and concerts in Scandinavia,Europe, USA, Latin America and Taiwan. Most recently at
the Nordic Music Days Festival in 2010, Athelas New Music
Festival in 2011, Percussion Plus Festival Aarhus in 2012
and Kalliokuninkala Festival in 2012 and Percussion Plusin 2014, both in Finland.In January 2014, Esbjerg Ensemble
collaborated with “the king” of baritones, Omar Ebrahim,
in the first Scandinavian performance of György Kurtágs,“Pas a pas, nulle-part” for baritone, string trio and percussion.
In the year 2010, Christian Martinez released his first soloCD “Rhythmical Séance” with Per Nørgård’s I Ching as well
as pieces by Ivar Frounberg and Ejnar Kanding. The
collaboration with Nørgård led to 2 new pieces included in
this CD: a concerto for percussion and ensemble called
Three Scenes as well as Arabesques I, II, III (2011) for solo percussion. Both pieces are dedicated to ChristianMartínez and Esbjerg Ensemble.
Pau Codina was born in 1988 in Barcelona (Spain) and began studying the cello at the age of five with Eulalia Subirà. Other teachers to date have included Ivan Chiffoleau, Daniel Grosgurin, Peter Thiemann and Louise Hopkins. He graduated from the Yehudi Menuhin School in 2006, and from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with first class honours in 2010. He later obtained a Solo Artist Diploma from the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, where he studied with Gary Hoffman
Pau Codina has received scholarships from the Fundació Pau Casals andGeneralitat de Catalunya.
Over the course of his career so far he has taken part in several International Music Festivals such as the Manchester Cello & Chamber Music Festival and the Kronberg Cello Festival. He has also performed extensively throughout Spain, England and Germany, in venues such as the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room, the Pau Casals Auditorium, L’Auditori de Barcelona and the Palau de la Musica Catalana Concert Hall in Barcelona. He has appeared as a soloist with several orchestras such as the Barcelona Sinfonietta, the Empordà Chamber Orchestra, the Andorra Chamber Orchestra, the Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Budapest, the Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie, the RTVE Orchestra in Madrid and the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès. He also recorded Saint-Saens Suite op.16 for cello and orchestra with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liege and conductor Christian Arming under the label Fuga Libera. He recently debuted as a soloist with the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya (OBC).
Pau is also a keen chamber musician, being a member of the Idomeneo Quartet and the Cellophony cello ensemble, with which he has performed in major venues throughout England, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Away from the concert platform, Pau has won several competitions and awards, such as the MBF’s Guilhermina Suggia award 2004 & 2007 and the Geofrey Shaw Scholarship, the Martin Musical Scholarship, the Kronberg Cello Festival Schlosskonzert prize, both third prize as well as the Critique’s award in the Primer Palau Competition in Barcelona, and the first prize as well as the EMCY award in the Concurso Permanente competition of Jeunesses Musicales of Spain.