Chamber Music Lab

Rubens Consort Chamber Music Lab 2019

The Rubens Consort Chamber Music Lab is made possible in part by financial support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds (Constant van Gestel Fonds en Mimi Cohen-Trijbits Fonds), the van den Berch van Heemstede Stichting and in the province of Utrecht by the Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds.

The Chamber Music Lab is a unique chamber music experience designed for up to three young professionals: a concert tour with members of the Rubens Consort, paired with coachings about teaching and stage presence. This project succeeds the Rubens Quartet Prize (annually since 2009), just as the Rubens Consort is a new configuration of the former Rubens Quartet (2000-2016).

In collaboration with the Prinses Christina Concours, we annually select three gifted young musicians to take part in a priceless experience: we introduce them to the phenomenon of intensive ensemble playing, both in rehearsal and in concert. In essence we are providing them with a series of personalized masterclasses in which they can prepare a carefully selected program of chamber music masterpieces with experienced chamber musicians. After the rehearsal period, we perform the program in some of the most important halls in the Netherlands, giving the young musicians the chance to further develop their performance experience and apply the techniques they have learned during the preparation. The selected musicians in 2019 are violinist Pieternel Tils (19), violist Sedna Heitzman (18) and cellist Theodoor Heyning (19).
The Consort wishes to involve Dutch people of all ages in the genre of chamber music by deepening their experience with this special form. In addition to working with young professionals, we also love to bring younger children in contact with chamber music, and of course to share the result of our work with larger audiences by performing in concert. The collaboration with the Prinses Christina Concours has been a worthy part of our season for the past 11 years!

On the beautiful property of Berkenrode in Heemstede we will spend a long weekend in April 2019 rehearsing Brahms’s String Sextet Op. 18, a Vivaldi duo for two celli and the string trio "Terzetto" by Dvořák. This intensive weekend will conclude with an informal private performance, followed by concerts in the days thereafter in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag and Baambrugge. During each concert at least one of the laureates will speak to the audience to introduce the pieces on the program. The musicians of the Rubens Consort find this type of direct contact with our audiences to be vitally important, and therefore we encourage our young colleagues to develop those skills as well.

For the final activity of the Lab all six musicians will visit the Stichting Kindersymfonie, an organization dedicated to teaching young children how to play chamber music. The prizewinners of the Prinses Christina Concours will get the chance to coach the children under the mentorship of the musicians of the Rubens Consort. This is a valuable experience for all of us which will culminate in a performance in the Postwijck church in Baambrugge. The student ensembles will have the chance to perform the pieces they have prepared, and afterwards the Lab ensemble will present a workshop on chamber music and an educational performance featuring movements of Brahms and Dvořák.

We look back on previous editions of the Chamber Music Lab with pride and satisfaction. All target groups, ranging from our concert audiences to the Prinses Christina Concours laureates to the young musicians of the Kindersymfonie, were engaged in an active and inspiring way to become better acquainted with the genre of chamber music. The artistic development of the young professionals, which we were able to hear and see firsthand, was impressive. For us this metamorphosis proves the importance of the Chamber Music Lab, and it is an inspiring stimulus to continue this project in future concert seasons. We are very much looking forward to working with the young laureates in the spring of 2019!

In the summer of 2018 the Chamber Music Lab had its 2nd American edition during the Indiana University Summer String Academy in Bloomington, IN. For an entire month we worked with three young musicians, chosen by audition (violinist Casey Reed, violist Alice Ford and cellist Sebastian Berofsky) on the String Quintet, Op. 18 by Mendelssohn. It was a wonderfully inspiring month and we are already busy with plans for the next edition in the summer of 2019!