„Music in lively diversity“
B. Martinú: aus "Bergerettes"
In addition to many various chamber music formations, from duos for violin and cello or violin and piano through such works as nonets by Spohr or Martinu, combinations with woodwinds or brass and many lesser known, seldom played works, two continuing ensembles are an integral part of my musical life:
J-M Damase: Sonata: 3. Satz Andante
Duo with Kirsten Ecke
There is a vast number of duos for violin and piano. I wanted to try something different. I am fascinated by the colors, soft tones and intimate atmosphere of the combination of violin and harp. My duo with the harpist Kirsten Ecke is very close to my heart. The repertoire is particularly fine and intimate – a pearl of rarely heard chamber music. Ours is a musical friendship that goes back to college days. With great dedication, “excavated” original works, our own arrangements and new works written for the duo are rehearsed, performed and recorded on CD. One highlight is the suite “Le petit Prince” written for us by J.-P. Beintus and recorded with Kent Nagano and the DSO. After many years of working together, it is clear how special the relationship with my duo partner is. We grow together by jointly interacting with the music.
Kirsten Ecke, Harp
Kirsten Ecke lives in Kirchzarten and is an honorary professor of harp at the Freiburg University of Music. After studying with Helga Storck at the University of Music in Munich, she was the solo harpist at the South Thuringian State Theater in Meiningen, then in the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. She is co-founder and artistic director of the chamber music festival “Vals Music Summer” in Vals, Graubünden (Switzerland), and the concert series “LUMIK – Literature and Music in Kirchzarten”. Parallel to her passion for music, another endeavor is occupying more of her time: As a state-approved natural health practitioner for psychotherapy, coach and trainer specializing in hypnotherapy and PEP © (process and embodiment-focused psychology), Kirsten Ecke gives seminars, individual instruction and training courses on performance coaching, stress coaching, burnout prevention and communication.
Quartet playing is a chance to further develop. The small number of musicians allows us a direct exchange of ideas. The repertoire is wonderfully rich and extensive, we can always discover more music, dig deeper, and listen to one another. Everyone profits from the feedback of colleagues who share this voyage of discovery and can relate well to each other. This chance to exchange musical ideas, to give and receive feedback in a concentrated framework is irreplaceable, especially because one so seldom has the chance after leaving school. For me, it is a wonderful treasure.
It is not only a joy to do this with like-minded colleagues but a real pleasure to come in contact with the public. That is our inspiration for presenting a regular series of moderated concerts with the Niccoló-Quartet.
In this setting, as opposed to in an orchestra, I have the freedom to choose what I devote myself to. Just the planning and execution of programs brings a wonderful feeling of artistic freedom!
The Niccoló Quartet
The Niccoló Quartet was founded in 2010 and takes its name from the place where it presents its own series of concerts, the museum of the St. Nikolai church in Berlin-Spandau. Moderated concerts take place regularly in the historic upper room, locally named “Under the Roof”. The quartet has set itself the goal of using this intimate setting to let its public get closer to the music, not only physically, but through an introduction to each work, including musical examples. The repertoire is varied, always works close to our hearts.
The relationship between the musicians goes back to their student years.
Christine Christianus, Violin
dedicated herself intensely to chamber music already in her student years. In addition to her training as a soloist with Kurt Sassmannshaus and Dorothy DeLay, she worked with the LaSalle and Tokyo String Quartets. She received further impulses through inspiring encounters with the Cleveland Quartet, Franz Bayer, Christoph Poppen and Eberhard Feltz.
For 17 years Christine was the first violinist of the Auboré String Quartet, based in Munich. She now lives with her family in Saarbrucken and is active as an orchestra musician and teacher.
Susanne Linder, Viola
lives with her family in Berlin. After 17 years as a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, she now focuses on teaching. Intensive chamber music playing, especially in quartet, remains an important part of her musical life. Ever since her youth she has enjoyed success with her ensembles, which have won many competitions. She is currently also a member of the Adamello Quartet. In addition, Susanne is also active as a certified Feldenkrais Teacher.
Wayne Foster-Smith, Cello
is the chamber music coordinator of the Hanns Eisler Academy of music in Berlin, a position he has held since 1999. Born in Los Angeles, he studied at UCLA and the Juilliard School with Harvey Shapiro and Leonard Rose. After two years as assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet, he was appointed director of the chamber music program of the New York Youth Symphony. He was on the faculty of the Juilliard Pre-College and taught cello, chamber music and theory at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
HfM Hanns Eisler Berlin