Dudok Quartet Amsterdam is forging a reputation as one of the most creative and versatile quartets of its generation. With its ethos of “sharing the heart of music”, the quartet is committed to crafting unique and eclectic programmes in order to engage with its audiences in new and imaginative ways. In repertoire ranging from Ligeti, Shostakovich and Bacewicz through to Mendelssohn, Mozart and Beethoven, the Dudok Quartet constantly strives to forge new pathways and connections in music. Their intelligent approach and flair for programming also sees them regularly perform their own arrangements of pieces and they have so far produced arrangements of composers including Gesualdo, Desprez, Shostakovich, Brahms and Messiaen. The Quartet is also committed to commissioning new works and have collaborated with composers including Joey Roukens, Peter Vigh and Theo Loevendie . Future commissioning projects include a new piece from British-Lebanese composer Bushra El-Turk.
The Dudok Quartet has performed at many of the major European venues and festivals including the Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall, Beethovenhaus Bonn, De Bijloke, Barcelona Auditori, De Doelen, Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern, BBC Proms, Heidelberg String Quartet Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival and the Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale, as well as appearing regularly at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Amsterdam Muziekgebouw. The Quartet made its US debut in 2018 at the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Music Festival, with other recent highlights including a New York debut at the Park Avenue Armory and digital concerts for the Washington Library of Congress and Fontana Chamber Arts Kalamazoo. Collaboration is a key part of the Quartet’s mission and recent partners have included Olga Paschenko, Pieter Wispelwey, Vladimir Mendelssohn, Erik Bosgraaf, James Oesi and Annelien Van Wauwe.
Highlights of the 2022/23 season include return visits to major venues including Wigmore Hall, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam and De Doelen. Dutch tours include performances in Tilburg, Hilversum and Maastricht as well as at the November Music Festival, whilst UK performances take them to cities including Cambridge, Norwich and Portsmouth. Elsewhere, the Quartet gives debut performances in Sweden and Malaysia as well as continuing its commitment to education work with a revival of the Luxembourg Philharmonie’s production Petite Poucette; a re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen Thumbelina fairytale in a staged performance for children. Another highlight of the 22/23 season will see the Quartet undertake performances of Steve Reich’s Different Trains, for which the Quartet has made its own new recording of the accompanying tape track.
The Dudok Quartet’s most recent recording of the complete Brahms Quartets for Rubicon Classics (performed on gut strings) was released in 2021 and attracted wonderful reviews across the board, with The Telegraph describing the recording as a “marvel, revealing the intricate detail of these pieces with lovely clarity” and The Strad awarding it the accolade The Strad Recommends. Future recording plans for Rubicon include works by Bacewicz, Shostakovich and Reich as well as the complete Tchaikovsky Quartets. Previous releases for the Resonus Classics label include “Métamorphoses” (an exploration the theme of musical innovation through works by Ligeti, Haydn and Brahms), which was awarded Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, “Solitude” (featuring works by Mendelssohn, Weinberg and Shostakovich curated around the theme of loss and loneliness) and the complete Haydn Opus 20 Quartets, a recording that Gramophone praised for its “mingled virtuosity, finesse and coursing energy”.
Other recent projects have included the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s opera Only the Sound Remains with Philippe Jaroussky and Dutch National Opera and a collaboration with director Rosabel Huguet re-imagining Beethoven’s Op 132 String Quartet for children. Entitled “Quartet! A card game with Beethoven”, the project has toured to venues including the Vienna Konzerthaus, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie as part of the Dudok’s ongoing commitment to education and outreach work.
Having first met as members of the Ricciotti Ensemble, a Dutch street symphony orchestra, the Dudok Quartet studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne with the Alban Berg Quartet and later at the Dutch String Quartet Academy with Marc Danel. Other important mentors include Eberhard Feltz, Peter Cropper (Lindsay Quartet), Luc-Marie Aguera (Quatuor Ysaÿe) and Stefan Metz. Winner of a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, other awards include prizes at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition and Joseph Joachim International Chamber Music Competition Weimar as well as the prestigious Dutch Kersjes Prize (2014).
The quartet performs on instruments generously on loan from the Dutch Musical Instrument Foundation (NMF); violins by Francesco Goffriller and Vincenzo Panormo, viola by Jean Baptiste Lefèbvre and cello by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. It takes its name from renowned Dutch architect Willem Marinus Dudok (1884–1974). A great lover of music, Dudok came from a musical family and composed in his spare time, saying “I feel deeply the common core of music and architecture: after all, they both derive their value from the right proportions”.
Photo credit – Green Room Creatives – Yuri Andries