Harrie Starreveld (flutes/shakuhachi, The Netherlands) studied flute with Koos Verheul at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. Today Harrie Starreveld is widely regarded as one of the worlds leading specialists in contemporary flute music, working with composers such as Carter, Donatoni, Ferneyhough, Yun, Boulez, Crumb, Harvey, Tan Dun, Loevendie, Weddington and Ton de Leeuw. He is a member of the Nieuw Ensemble since 1982. Together with René Eckhardt and bass-clarinetist Harry Sparnaay he forms Het Trio. As a soloist he performed a large number of flute concertos and worked with conducters such as Ernest Bour, Hans Vonk, Arturo Tamayo and Reinbert de Leeuw. Since 1980, Starreveld has been professor of flute at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and Bremen, regularly gives masterclasses all over the world. He won the prestigious Edison award in 1993 for his CNM Ton de Leeuw-CD and worked at the computer music studios of IRCAM in Paris.
Gevorg Dabaghian (duduk/zurna, Armenia), born in 1965 in Yerevan, Armenia, is among the most prominant duduk players today. He continues the work of his predecessors who left their unique heritage in the history of folk music. Dabaghian is one of the first virtuosos to perform excerpts from the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian church on the duduk, an instrument developed nearly 1500 years ago. He is especially famous for his interpretations of the works by Sayat Nova, and for his performances of traditional Armenian folk music. Gevorg Dabaghyan studied at the Yerevan State Conservatory, where he now teaches. In addition, he is the leader of the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble. He cooperates with renowned musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma and Jan Garbarek. In 2001 Dabaghian participated in "The World's Multi-Voice", an international music project in Moscow. The project had the purpose to unite the artistry of folk instrumentalists of different countries. Here Dabaghian played a duet with violinist Gidon Kremer. This was not unusual: the duduk, which has 3000-4000 years of history, still continues to be heard as an instrument that makes sounds of love and beauty, kindness and joy.
Raphaela Danksagmüller (duduk/recorder, Austria) completed her studies at the Wiener Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, cum laude, and continued to study recorder at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Walter van Hauwe. As a soloist and member of various ensembles Raphaela performed in Europe, Asia and the United States. Raphaela performed as a guest with the Nieuw Ensemble, the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, the Nederlands Vokaal Laboratorium, the Nederlands Kamerorkest, the Nederlands Kamerkoor, the Residentie Orkest and under Frans Brüggen in the Salzburger Festspiele. Raphaela is a member of the Renaissance ensemble Mezza Luna, Ensemble Thouraya and Zerafin. She was awarded prizes at the International Recorder Symposium Calw in Germany, the Early Music Festival in Brugge/ Belgium and at the International Gaudeamus Competition in the Netherlands. Since 2002 Raphalea has been studying duduk with Gevorg Dabaghian in Yerevan, Armenia.
Ernest Rombout (musette/oboe/English horn, The Netherlands) studied oboe with professor Heinz Holliger in Freiburg, Germany. In 1981 he passed his final examinations cum laude after which he studied with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Maurice Bourgue. He made his debut as a soloist in 1983 in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since, Ernest Rombout has enjoyed a busy solo career, appearing with established orchestras and ensembles such as the Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin, The Prague Chamber Orchestra , the Vienna String Soloists and Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam. Inspired by his performance many composers, amongst which Luca Francesconi, David del Puerto, Claudio Ambrosini and – recently – Seung-Ah Oh, have written new works for him. Rombout is professor of oboe at the Conservatory of Utrecht since 1985 and regularly gives masterclasses and workshops. In the summer of 1998 he was a member of the jury of the International Competition for Oboe in Geneva. Ernest Rombout is member of the Nieuw Ensemble since 1985.
Wu Wei (sheng, China/Germany) was born in 1970 in the Southeast-China Province of Jiangsu and was taught the Chinese violin erhu since the age of five. At the age of 15 he started studying the mouth-organ sheng at the Art Academy of Nanjing and from 1989 till 1993 he continued his study at the international renowned Music Conservatory of Shanghai. In 1993 he became sheng-soloist in the internationally famous Orchestra of Classical Chinese Music Shanghai. Wu Wei can be heard on numerous CD recordings. Concert tours through China, Japan, USA and Europe opened his ear for non-Chinese music traditions. His first projects with European musicians in Shanghai acquainted him with the practice of jazz and new music. In 1995 Wu Wei moved to Berlin, where he broadened his music-horizon by studying Western Jazz traditions and cooperating with musicians of various cultures andmusical styles. Since 1993 Wu Wei appears as soloist or ensemble member in countless international concert venues and many renowned festivals.
Naomi Sato (sho, Japan) was born in Japan in 1975. She studied sho with Ko Ishikawa and saxophone with Nobuya Sugawa at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music where she graduated in 1998. After that she continued her saxophone studies with Claude Delangle (France) and with Arno Bornkamp at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam from which she graduated in 2002. Naomi Sato has collaborated with many composers and played with various international ensembles. In the Netherlands she has performed on sho with flutist Harrie Starreveld, saxofone player Olivier Sliepen, the Ives Ensemble and composers Theo Loevendie and Merlijn Twaalfhoven. Naomi Sato was semi-finalist at the Second International Adolphe Sax Concours in Dinant (1998) and won the third prize at the Saxophon Wettbewerb Gustav Bunke in Hannover (1999). She played with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and the Residentie Orkest/The Hague Philharmonic.
Lan Weiwei (pipa, China) was born in Sichuan province 1980, is teaching at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing China. She has been playing the pipa for more than twenty years. She has won variety of prizes since childhood. In recent years, Lan has been invited to perform abroad such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Canada, Mexico etc. She endeavors to introduce the traditional music and folk music of China to western world. In addition, she is passionate about playing contemporary music in all possible forms.
Kiya Tabassian was born in 1976, in Tehran, Iran, immigrating to Quebec in 1990. He has been trained in Persian music under Reza Ghasemi and Kayhan Kalhor. He studied musical composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay.In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople a Montreal based ensemble which has earned an international reputation for its unique juxtaposition of early musical sources and the living traditions of the Middle East. Last two years, Kiya has toured intensively Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Holland, France, Cyprus, Lebanon, Greece, Hong Kong and Mexico. He has recorded ten CDs for the ATMA label and has created with Constantinople over 20 original programs performing them at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues such as Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (France), Festival de Musiques Sacrées de Fès (Morocco), Festival d'Ile de France (Paris), Metropolitan Museum (New York), Festival de Mexico en el Centro historico (Mexico) and Vancouver Summer Festival (Canada).From 2002 to 2005, he was involved in the international MediMuses research project on the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music land in several publishing and recording projects. As a composer, he has been commissioned by UER, CBC and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. He is currently a board member of the Montreal Art Council, and the president of the music section.
Elchin Nagijev (tar, Azerbaidjan) was born in 1966 in the Neftchala district in Azerbaijan. He studied his instrument, the tar, at the College for Professional Music from 1982 to 1986 and continued his studies from 1986 to 1993 at the Baku Music Academy. Elchin Nagijev regularly works with kamancha player Elshan Mansurov and is a widely acclaimed performer of the mugam. Presently he is a teacher himself at the Baku Music Academy, responsible for the mugam classes.
Bassem Alkhouri (qanun, Syria) was born in 1976 in Damascus. He graduated from the Conservatory in Damascus in 2000 as a specialist in qanun and subsequently won the second prize for playing qanun at the International Music Competition in Algeria. Bassem is also a singer, graduating in opera singing at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in May 2006 and gaining a Masters degree the following year from the Dutch Opera Academy in Amsterdam. As a soloist Bassem performed with his qanun in many concerts with the National Syrian Symphony Orchestra, as well as giving concerts in Iraq, Lebabon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunesia, Kuwait, France and England. As a singer he performed the solo part in Mozart Requiem at the special opening of the National Opera House of Damascus and in two contemproray opera's by Rokus de Groot and Wim de Ruyter. Since 2003 he is a regular guest musician with the New Ensemble. Bassem Alkhouri is member of both the Ziggurat Ensemble and the Atlas Ensemble.
Makiko Goto (koto, Japan) was born in Tokyo in 1963 and studied under Kazue Sawai and Tadao Sawai at the Sawai Koto School where she received the master degree “Shihan”. In 1986, she moved to Hawaii (USA), where she was an instructor at the Ethnic Music Department of the University of Hawaii and established a branch of the Sawai Koto School. Since 1992, she is living in the Netherlands. Makiko Goto performs both traditional and contemporary music on the traditional koto (with 13-strings) and modern koto instruments (17-string bass koto and 21-string koto). She is frequently invited to join in various ensembles and groups world-wide.
Ernestine Stoop (harp, The Netherlands) studied at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. She continued her studies with harpist Pierre Jamet and violinist Sandor Végh. After playing for 11 years with the Radio Filharmonic Orchestra, she is now dedicating herself fully to playing as a solist, chamber music and teaching. Stoop is a member of the Nieuw Ensemble and Asko Ensemble and teaches at the Royal College of Music in the Hague and the High School of Music in Tilburg. As a soloist she performed with conductors such as Hans Vonk, Ernest Bour, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, David Porcelijn and Ed Spanjaard. She has enjoyed numerous and productive sessions with composers such as Mauricio Kagel, Isang Yun, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, Franco Donatoni, Theo Loevendie, Guo Wenjing and Guus Janssen preparing their compositions for first performances.
Yang Xue (erhu, China) teaches at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She was invited to perform at numerous international musical festivals (in Holland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Hong Kong, Taiwan), and she participated in the 8th Taipei International Traditional Chinese Instrument Association Competition.
Elshan Mansurov (kamancha, Azerbaidjan) was born in 1962 in the Gazah district of Azerbaijan. After completing his studies at the College for Professional Music in Azerbaijan in 1981, he continued his musical training at the Baku Music Academy from 1985 until 1990. From 1986 he has worked for many years with the Mugam Trio of the world famous singer Alim Qasimov. One of Mansurov’s major achievements as a professional kamancha player has been winning the first prize at the Folk Musical Instruments Competition. Since 1990 he is professor at the Baku Music Academy.
Neva Özgen (kemençe, Turkey) grew up in Istanbul surrounded by Turkish classical music and jazz. She learned to play the flute but after entering the Istanbul Technical University Conservatory she switched to clarinet. It wasn't long before her interest in Turkish Classical music overtook her interest in Western classical traditions and she decided to study the kemençe, an instrument integral to Turkish classical music. She studied with Alaeddin Yavasca. Neva has deeply immersed herself in the works and taksims of Tanburi Cemil Bey. Like many kemençe players in Turkey today, she aims to continue the tradition established by Tanburi Cemil Bey which was passed on to her father. Ihsan Özgen's influence on his daughter cannot be underestimated and Neva Özgen can be considered a student of what is recognized as the ‘Ihsan Özgen school’ of Turkish classical music. She has accompanied him in performances of Turkish classical music in Europe, the United States and Turkey and is preparing to take over the Anatolia Ensemble.
Dhruba Ghosh (sarangi, India) is acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of the traditional North Indian bowed instrument. The current renaissance of the sarangi in India owes much to his development of the instrument's techniques and range of sound and innovations within the fabric of the traditional idiom. He is the son of the tabla-master and teacher Pandit Nikhil Ghosh and owes the mastery of the traditional Bundu-Khan style to many years of study under Ustad Sagiruddin Khan. Dhruba Gosh performs regularly at the music centers of his homeland India accompanying front-ranking North Indian vocalists. Concert tours often take him to Europe, the USA and Japan and he is a frequent guest at several European festivals such as the Helsinki International Music Festival and Silk Route Festival at Athens. He collaborates with Ensemble Modern Frankfurt among other classical, jazz and crossover musicians in the West, having work next to traditional players from diverse origins. He has been at the core of the formation of a World String Orchestra in Japan involving the traditional bowed instruments of Japan, China, Korea, Uzbekistan and India. Presently he is the principal of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Sangeet and Nartan Shikshapeeth, Mumbai. He is also a composer of classical and light music of India.
Dario Calderone graduates in S. Cecilia conservatory of Rome in 2002 with maximum marks with prof. Massimo Giorgi, and Franco Petracchi. After a period spent in different orchestras as solo doublebass, he dedicates almost entirely to the music of the last 50 years, studying with Stefano Scodanibbio and Uli Fussenegger. He is member of Ensemble Algoritmo (it) and Ensemble Laboratorium (ch) and regularly collaborates with various international ensembles, working in close contact with important composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino, Beat Furrer, George Aperghis and I. Fedele. In 2010 founds the duo CO2 together with the flutist Riccarda Caflisch. Performed many premieres and many solo pieces were dedicated to him. In 2002 won “Werther Benzi” solo doublebass competition, and in 2006 got the Stipendiumpreis of the IMD of Darmstadt.