Old Ox Masterclasses, Stockholm

The Old Ox Music Festival in Stockholm (formerly known as the Aurora Festival) offers online viola masterclasses for advanced students this summer, from July 16th – 29th. The viola masterclasses are taught by Julia Dinerstein, Hartmut Rohde, Alexander Zemtsov and Julia Rebekka Adler.

And the best part: There’s no course fee!

The application deadline is May 14th, so be quick and apply through this link: https://oldox.se/event/stockholm-master-classes-2021/




Francisca Galante wins 2nd Prize at PCC

The Portuguese violist Francisca Galante (17 years old) won the 2nd prize in category 3 (for conservatory students) at the National Finals of the Prinses Christina Competition 2021. This was just announced by Her Royal Highness Princes Margriet on a special live streamed awards ceremony this evening. Francisca played the 1st movement of Hindemith’s solo sonata op.25 no.1, and the Pensiero & Allegro Appassionato by Frank Bridge (accompanied by Martijn Willers on the piano). You can watch her performance through this link.

Next to the honours, Francisca was also awarded a solo appearance with JON (Youth Orchestra of The Netherlands) and the Wijnhaven prize (masterclasses). Francisca is currently a 1st year student in the class of Francien Schatborn at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.

The Dutch violist Norea Quirijnen (16 years old, a pupil of Julia Dinerstein) also appeared among the 17 finalists this week. (Update 25/04/2021:) She won an audience prize for her rendition of the Rubinstein viola sonata (1st movement).  You can watch her performance through this link.

Congratulations to both Francisca and Norea!

The complete results of the PCC National Finals can be found here.

Signs, Games & Messages – Musings of a middle-aged chamber music nerd

Online lecture by violist Roeland Jagers

In this lecture, based on a recently published text, Roeland shares 25 years of chamber music experience. His journey as a violist and teacher is inspiring for professionals, students and amateur musicians alike. It offers valuable and unique insights in all aspects of playing together – musically, instrumentally and psychologically.

Roeland Jagers was a founding member of the Rubens Quartet. Currently he is a member of the Rubens Consort, and also of Metamorphoses, an international trio (clarinet/viola/piano) which released a highly acclaimed debut album. In 2020, Roeland and his wife, violinist Sarah Kapustin, made a duo album titled Reflections.

Date:  Saturday, May 8th, at 16:00h
Place:  Online, Zoom (registered participants will receive a link)
Language:  The lecture will be given in English
Costs:  Voluntary financial donation, we suggest €10,-
Registration: Use form below

We're sorry, sign-up for this event is no longer possible.




The Pleasant sound of Pitch – workshop with Karin Dolman

After her lecture on fingerings, Karin Dolman, viola teacher at Codarts University of Arts Rotterdam (and DVS board member) will guide you though the struggle of practicing on intonation.
This lecture will be an interactive talk with questions being answered and problems hopefully being solved!
For 27 years, Karin Dolman played in the DoelenKwartet where she played mainly contemporary music. This experience made her believe in making the impossible possible and never give up. She currently performs regularly with her “partner in crime”, pianist Caecilia Boschman – as a duo, but also with wind instruments and singers. 
As an amateur horn player (for 33 years) playing in an amateur orchestra, Karin knows the medal from both sides, and has taught her how musicians find pleasure in making music or the desire to get the highest out of their instrument. 

Date:  Saturday, April 10th, at 15:00h
Place:  Online, Zoom (registered participants will receive a link)
Language:  The workshop will be given in English
Costs:  Voluntary financial donation, we suggest €10,-
Registration: Use form below

We're sorry, sign-up for this event is no longer possible.

Norea Quirijnen wint (weer!) 1e prijs bij PCC Oost

Net als in 2019 won altvioliste Norea Quirijnen (16 jaar, Zutphen) een 1e prijs bij het Prinses Christina Concours Oost – dit keer in Categorie 2. Zij mag door naar de Nationale Finale van het PCC op 10 april as. Verder verdiende ze een masterclass met een gerenommeerde docent naar keuze. Het PCC wordt dit jaar helemaal online gehouden, dus we mogen meegenieten van alle optredens. Hier (link) is de inzending van Norea, het 1e deel uit de altvioolsonate van Anton Rubinstein (op.49).

Nog een altvioliste, Silke Veldman (18 jaar, Zwolle) ontving een Ensemble Aanmoedigingsprijs voor haar optreden met het Figurati Kwartet.

Van harte gefeliciteerd!

De volledige uitslag van het PCC-Oost is hier te vinden.

IVS Launches Series of National Viola Livestreams!

The International Viola Society (IVS) has come up with a nice initiative during this pandemic, where travel is next to impossible and our cherished International Viola Congresses (IVCs) have been put on hold. There will instead be a monthly livestreamed programme from various national sections of the IVS.

First up is the Canadian Viola Society (CVS) (more details below), to be followed in the coming months by the Turkish Viola Society, the Polish Viola Society and … the Dutch Viola Society!  We will of course keep you informed as more details emerge.

The livestreams are of course free of charge, and available to all violists around the world, whether or not you are a member of an IVS section.

Here is a trailer produced by our very own IVS board representative Karin Dolman:

Find below the official invitation from the IVS/CVS:

Dear IVS section members across the world!

Tomorrow is the big day! – Please join us  tomorrow,
Sunday 28th of March at 20:30h Amsterdam (summer) time, for our first virtual IVS event featuring Canada!
A masterclass and a final award ceremony with the great Canadian violist Steven Dann has been put together for you, in order for you to take part in one of our sections highlights of the year – despite Covid which still hounds us and makes international travel impossible.  Enjoy!
From now on, every month we will have a surprise for you. Stay tuned!
Viva la viola!
Jutta and the fantastic and innovative IVS board

Report from DVS “Health week” workshops

In the past week, the DVS has taken to the new online medium with a “doubleheader” of workshops related to avoiding / reducing / treating the long term health issues associated with viola playing.

The first workshop, poetically titled “Finding Fabulous Freedom (with a viola in your hand)” was brought to us by Ásdis Valdimarsdóttir, with insights derived and developed from Body Mapping and Alexander Technique.

Ásdis worked through a number of examples relating to posture, left and right arm motions, based on mechanical principles of (skeletal and muscular) anatomy. She demonstrated clearly awkward and potentially unhealthy practices (some of which, sadly, are dangerously close to certain “style schools” of violin/viola technique) compared to natural and mechanically balanced alternatives. Accessories to her presentation included various illustrations from slides, and even a good old-fashioned dummy skeleton to help make her points. She also got the crowd in motion with exercises, with and without a viola. It was quite a sight to behold all participants in their tiny digital viewports performing these exercises!

The second workshop followed one week later, presented by Laura Kok: “How to deal with injuries – Medical empowerment for viola players“. Laura is an orthopaedic surgeon specialised in prevention and treatment of musicians’ injuries, and she has completed a full conservatory viola degree as well.

She gave a very interesting overview of the various health issues commonly seen for instrumental musicians (and violists in particular), ranging from physical to “psychosocial” issues – including a very telling comparison of the parallels and differences between musicians and athletes. In particular, athletes have much better medical and psychological support in general, and in the musical world it is even somewhat of a taboo to admit to or even discuss injuries (this last point was brought up by Ásdis as well).

Laura highlighted the orchestra musician in particular as someone who has a very low degree of personal influence on his/her working environment – being consistently dictated when, what, and how to play. This lack of control puts the musician at considerable risk of stress, burnout and injuries. And a musician’s career is much longer than an athlete’s, a full lifetime of sustained “wear-down” of their bodies. Not to mention stress related symptoms such as anxiety, sleeplessness, etc.

Both workshops were widely appreciated by those who attended.

For those of you who missed it: If you are interested in more details about these workshops, please contact us at mail@dutchviolasociety.nl – we will gladly send you more information, including links to recordings of the workshops.

This was the first time we tried to do interactive workshops online via zoom. During these workshops we had as many as 56 participants simultaneously online in the session, logging in even from overseas (USA, UK, etc.). This immediately verified to us that we have a truly international reach – so different from the physical and inherently “local” events of pre-COVID times.

Kristofer Skaug, DVS

Amsterdam Hindemith Viola Festival 2021

The 8th Amsterdam “Hindemith” Viola Festival and National Viola Competition has just been formally announced by the Conservatory of Amsterdam. This year’s edition has been assigned the additional attribute “Hindemith Viola Festival”. Both the festival programming and the repertoire for the viola competition will be strongly accentuated by the works of the German violist-composer Paul Hindemith (1895-1963).

Hindemith image: see attribution below

SAVE THE DATE(s): November 20th-27th, 2021

The DVS will once again contribute to the programming, in particular we plan the biannual National Viola Gathering on the final evening of the festival.

For more information about the Festival:  follow this link (CvA)
For more information about the Competition:  follow this link (CvA)

*Hindemith image: By Foto vom Hindemith-Institut als Rechteinhaber unter GFDL zur Verfügung gestelltHochgeladen nach de.wikipedia von de:Benutzer:Axel Hindemith, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

How to deal with injuries – Medical empowerment for viola players

Laura Kok is an orthopaedic surgeon specialised in treating injured musicians. After obtaining her masters degree in both medicine and viola (Royal Conservatory, The Hague), she continued to combine her experience of these two working areas.  After finishing her PhD ‘Musculoskeletal health in musicians: Epidemiology and biomechanics’ in 2018, she initiated the ‘musicispreekuur’, an outpatient clinic dedicated to provide high level healthcare for musicians in the Spaarne Hospital (Haarlem).

Injuries are part of a professional career in music, especially if you play the viola. Of all instruments present in the symphonic orchestra, the viola is the one which brings the highest risk of getting injured: up to 90% of the viola players has at least one injury every year. So it is time to accept that injuries come together with the instrument and to start working on how we could optimally deal with them.

The aim of the workshop is to empower you to take the lead in creating a healthy playing environment. During the workshop we will work on the following topics:

– What is an injury and why do we get injured? What injuries are common among viola players?

– How to influence the occurrence and course of an injury? What is the relation between body and mind with respect to injuries? And how can we use this knowledge to prevent problems?

– And finally, we will talk on how to make sure you are getting the most optimal care in case you are injured. How can we collaborate with healthcare providers, in order to optimise the results of the treatment?

Date:  Saturday, March 13th, at 14:00h
Place:  Online, Jitsi Meet (registered participants will receive a link)
Language:  The workshop will be given in English
Costs:  Voluntary financial donation, we suggest €10,-
Registration: Use form below

Workshop registration no longer possible

P.S. You may also find the following related workshop interesting:
March 6th, 2021: “Finding Fabulous Freedom“, with Asdis Valdimarsdottir

Dana Zemtsov’s Dutch Viola Music CD Project

Kristofer G. Skaug, DVS

English version below! Follow this link.

De jonge nederlandse altvioliste Dana Zemtsov begint dit voorjaar aan de opname van een album met nederlandse altvioolmuziek, waaronder de concerten van Badings en Koetsier, met Phion (Philharmonie Oost- Nederland) en dirigent Shizuo Kuwahara. Ook neemt ze de altvioolsonate van Badings op met pianiste Anna Fedorova.

Om het project financieel rond te krijgen, heeft ze met steun van de Zemtsov-stichting een crowdfundingcampagne gestart. Reden voor de DVS om telefonisch even contact te zoeken om wat meer te weten te komen hierover. Ik tref Dana aan in de koffiepauze van een hectische Zemtsov masterclassweek, die dit jaar voor het eerst geheel virtueel plaats vindt.  

DVS: Wat een spannend project – op welke termijn gaat dit gerealiseerd worden, als de crowdfunding slaagt?

We gaan nu in maart al opnemen, Channel Classics (haar label, red.) heeft bijna alles al geregeld. Ik moet wel zelf de kosten voor de dirigent en de uitvoeringsrechten dragen, en het liefst zorgen voor een beetje promotie. Want vooral voor dit soort onbekende concerten heb je een beetje extra aandacht nodig. Daarom is het PR-budget zo hoog. Als we minimaal €7,000 ophalen, dan kunnen we de CD al in het najaar klaar hebben.

DVS: Hoe is dit idee ontstaan, en waarom is juist nu een goed moment om door te pakken?

We hebben al heel lang gepraat over dit idee, zowel de directie van Phion en chefdirigent Otto Tausk waren al ontzettend enthousiast over dit project, en we waren al een tijdje bezig om een datum te zoeken. Normaal had ik nog lang kunnen wachten op een beschikbaar orkest, maar “dankzij” de Corona-pandemie hebben de orkesten geen concerten, terwijl ze wel budget hebben voor projecten. Daar valt ook opnamewerk onder, dus nu kon het opeens. Dus moest ik ook opeens heel snel gaan studeren om op tijd klaar te zijn!

DVS: Maar deze week heb je niet zoveel tijd om te studeren…? 

Nee, door de Zemtsov Masterclassweek, met 45 deelnemers (en dus bijna evenveel keer lesgeven) – mijn eigen studeersessies moet ik nu een beetje tussendoor inplannen.

DVS: En waar wordt het allemaal opgenomen?

In Muziekcentrum Enschede. En ik ga nog met Anna (Fedorova) de sonate van Henk Badings opnemen in de Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden.

DVS: Dus er staan drie stukken op het programma: Het Concertino van Koetsier, het concert van Badings en de sonate van Badings.

Precies, en ook nog de Pavane van Arne Werkman, waarvan de pianobegeleiding in dit geval georkestreerd is. Dat wordt een mooie “extra”. Dus alles bij elkaar is het echt een Nederlands project.

DVS: Hoe ben je in aanraking gekomen met het concert van Badings?

Ik heb het voor het eerst echt live gehoord met Nobuko Imai als soliste, dat was echt geweldig. Ik was toen nog maar 13 jaar oud of zo, maar ik dacht gelijk “wow, dit is een heel goed stuk!”. Het concert bevat veel klankexperimenten, met clusters en kwarttonen, octatonische toonladders, en etnische elementen (bijvoorbeeld gamelanmuziek, Badings was geboren op Java – red.).

DVS: En de sonate van Badings, heeft die verbindingspunten met zijn altvioolconcert?

Nou, de sonate is eigenlijk heel anders, de stijl is meer impressionistisch, bijna romantisch. Het tweede deel van de sonate en het concert lijken ergens wel een klein beetje op elkaar. Maar de sonate is ook heel bijzondere muziek, het heeft ook die magische sferen van Badings, waar je “stiltes” hoort in combinatie met harmonieën, zoals een kwint die verdwijnt in een stilte. Dat heeft hij in het concert ook wel. En er zijn ook karakter-overeenkomsten: Het derde deel van de sonate is heel pittig, een soort duivels dansje; soms een beetje onhandig geschreven voor altviool, veel “tussen de noten” en heel snel. Ik ben heel benieuwd wat mensen vinden van dit stuk, wat mij betreft verdient het een plek in het repertoire. Een heel dynamisch stuk.

DVS: Het Concertino van Jan Koetsier, dat wordt een ware CD-première?

Ja, dat is echt een ontdekking – soms denk je bij dit soort onbekende stukken, dat er misschien een reden is waarom het niet eerder opgenomen is. Maar bij dit stuk kan ik geen muzikale redenen bedenken. Het is heel compact, en heeft hele sterke ideeën, het is echt een heel goed stuk! Koetsier schrijft hele boeiende muziek, ik heb ook zijn 1e symfonie gehoord op YouTube, waar hij zelf het Concertgebouworkest dirigeert. Hij was een tijdje tweede dirigent van dit orkest, naast Mengelberg. Geweldige muziek, en geweldig gedirigeerd!

DVS: Wel goed om aandacht te richten op deze stukken, om het bewustzijn te vergroten van wat er zoal bestaat in de nederlandse altvioolliteratuur.

Jazeker, en volgens mij verdienen deze stukken ook internationaal meer aandacht. Het zijn belangrijke bijdragen aan het repertoire voor ons instrument. Ik hoop dat meer altviolisten deze stukken gaan oppakken en spelen, ze zijn het echt waard! Niet alleen als een nationale cultuurverrijking dus,  het is universele en sterke muziek.

Het is soms moeilijk om mensen te leiden naar nieuwe muziek, maar ook voor mij was er een zekere drempel. Ik had de partituren van zowel Koetsier en Badings al jaren in huis. Het is heel moeilijk om onbekende muziek met een open vizier te benaderen, zonder bang te zijn dat het niet goed is. Je moet durven kijken en zoeken wat er in zit. Ik hoop wel dat men bij het luisteren deze muziek voelt binnenkomen, zoals dat bij mij is gebeurd!

~ x ~ x ~

Hier presenteert Dana zelf haar project:

En hier kun je makkelijk en snel doneren:


English Version:

This spring, the young Dutch violist Dana Zemtsov will record an album with Dutch viola music, among others the concertos by Badings and Koetsier, with the Phion (Eastern Netherlands Philharmonic) orchestra, conducted by Shizuo Kuwahara. She will also record the Badings viola sonata, with pianist Anna Fedorova.

In order to secure the finances, the Zemtsov foundation backs her with a crowdfunding campaign. On behalf of the DVS, I called her to find out more. I found her in a short coffee break of the always-busy Zemtsov Masterclass week, which this year has been organized in an entirely virtual format.

DVS: What an exciting project – when will this all become reality, assuming the crowdfunding campaign succeeds?

We will start recording now, in March. Channel Classics (her recording label, red.) has already arranged almost everything. I have to secure the funds for the conductor and a bit of promotion. For this kind of unknown concertos, you really need a bit of extra effort to get public attention. That’s why the PR has been budgeted extra. If we can get around €7000,- with the crowdfunding, the CD can be ready for sale already this fall.

DVS: How did this idea arise, and why is just now a good moment to act on it?

We’ve been talking about this project for a long time. Both the management and chief conductor Otto Tausk of Phion were already very enthusiastic about this project, and we had been looking for possible dates for some time. Under normal circumstances I could have waited much longer for an opportunity, but “thanks to” the Corona pandemic, the orchestra have no concerts, while they do have some budget for project work. Recordings fall into that category, so suddenly the opportunity was there. So, I also had to start practising very quickly, to be ready in time!.

DVS: But this week you don’t have much time to study?

That’s right, due to the Zemtsov Viola Masterclass week, with 45 participants (and hence almost as many lessons to be given). I’ve had to plan my own study session in-between things.

DVS: And where will this all be recorded?

In Muziekcentrum Enschede. And I will record the Badings sonata with Anna (Fedorova) in the Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden.

DVS: So there are three pieces programmed: Koetsier’s Concertino, the Badings concerto and sonata.

Exactly, and also the Pavane by Arne Werkman, where the piano accompaniment in this case has been orchestrated. That will be a beautiful “extra”. All in all it is truly a Dutch project!

DVS: How did you get acquainted with the Badings concerto?

I first heard it live, with Nobuko Imai as a soloist – that was fantastic. I was only about 13 years old at the time, but I immediately thought “wow, this is a really good piece!”. The concerto contains a lot of sound experiments, with clusters and quarter tones, octatonic scales and ethnic elements (e.g. Indonesian gamelan music – Badings was born on Java, red.).

DVS: How about the Badings sonata, does it have commonalities with his concerto?

Well, the sonata is actually very different, the style is more impressionist, almost romantic. The second movements of the sonata and concerto are a little bit similar. The sonata is anyway very extraordinary music, it has those magical Badings atmospheres, where you hear “silences” in combination with harmonies, for example a fifth that disappears in a silence. You can hear those kinds of effects in his concerto, too. And there are some parallels in the characters: The third movement of the sonata is very fiery, a kind of devilish dance; at certain points the writing is uncomfortable for the viola, a lot of stuff happening “between the notes”, and very rapidly. I am truly wondering what people will say about this piece, but in my opinion it deserves a permanent place in our repertoire. It is very dynamic.

DVS: The Concertino by Jan Koetsier will be a true recording premiere?

Yes, that is really a discovery – sometimes you think that there must be a reason why these unknown pieces haven’t been recorded. But in this case I cannot think of a musical reason. The Concertino is really a very good piece! Koetsier writes very enjoyable music, I heard his 1st symphony on YouTube, where he himself conducts the Concertgebouw orchestra. He was assistant conductor for this orchestra for some time, next to Mengelberg. Great music, and great conducting!

DVS: It is good to draw attention to these pieces, to increase the awareness of Dutch viola literature.

For sure, and in my opinion these pieces also deserve more attention internationally. They are important contributions to our viola repertoire. I hope that more violists will play them, they are really worth it! Not only as an enrichment of national culture, it is universal and very strong music.

It is sometimes difficult to lead people to new music, but also for me there was a certain threshold. I had access to the scores for Koetsier and Badings for years. But it is hard to approach unknown music with an open visor, without fear of getting it wrong. You have to dare to look for what’s inside. I really hope that the audience will feel the impact of this music, as it happened with me!

~ x ~ x ~

Dana presents her project:

You can donate to Dana’s crowdfunding campaign here: