Biography Ragazze Quartet
Rosa Arnold – violin
Jeanita Vriens – violin
Annemijn Bergkotte – viola
Rebecca Wise – violoncello
The Ragazze Quartet plays both classical and modern string quartet repertoire: inspired and on the highest level. With attractive but unconventional programmes the quartet has come to be one of the most fresh and leading voices in the world of classical music. In innovative programmes it embarks on collaborations with the most original voices in theatre, dance and literature. With performances that speak to all senses they succeed in securing an audience for the rich classical music tradition. In this way they warm the hearts of both the die hard listener and the novice for the string quartet repertoire of the past and of our present day.
Ragazze is a permanent artist with CD label Channel Classics and has released no fewer than four CDs with them already: Vivere, Česko, FourFourThree and Spiegel. The CDs were commended by the (inter)national press. The Volkskrant wrote about Česko; “Together they put down chords, as if their hands and arms are controlled by one single brain”. FourFourThree was awarded the ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone. Česko, FourFourThree and Spiegel all three were given the highest mark in the magazine Luister.
The Ragazze Quartet plays an average of ninety concerts a year in concert halls like the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam, but can also be seen in concert series all through the Netherlands and on festivals like Oerol on the island of Terschelling. Tours abroad brought them to England, Sweden, China, Japan, Indonesia and the United States of America, to name a few.
Ragazze likes to join forces with young musicians and theatre makers just as with leading organisations such as Nationaal Dans Theater (NDT), the Kronos Quartet, Orkater and the Holland Festival. In addition, the quartet has taken over artistic leadership of chamber music festival September Me in Amersfoort. September Me transforms Amersfoort into the epicentre of trendsetting classical music. Ragazze play themselves and invite the newest generation of top class artists that are not afraid of breaking with tradition.
The Ragazze Quartet was enrolled for the two-year full time course of the Dutch String Quartet Academy and graduated from it in 2011. In 2013 they won the Kersjes Prijs, a prize that is awarded on a yearly basis to extraordinary talent on the Dutch chamber music scene.
In 2017 the Ragazze Quartet won the Operadagen Rotterdam Award for “..their quirky music-theatrical approach, their social engagement and the ease with which they dare to think outside the borders of their traditional expertise”.
The Ragazze Quartet receives multiannual financial support from the Fonds Podiumkunsten and the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst. The Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Fonds put Jeanita’s violin and Annemijn’s bow at their disposal. Furthermore the Ragazze own a set of classical bows made by Andreas Grütter through the support of the Stichting Eigen Muziekinstrument.
Last update: January 2018
About their cd ‘Cesko’:
De Volkskrant *****
‘In their hands, the Czech piece becomes a physical, rhythmic power that comes from deep within the Ragazze. Together they play chords as if their hands and arms are being mastered by on mind.’
Luister (een Luister 10)
‘Dvorak opus 106, a work Ragazze is united with, dead-accurate and intense.’
‘Their biggest strength is an added quota of spontaneity, which keeps you consistently engaged.’
‘..the Ragazze Quartet’s Channel Classics CD is mightily impressive’
The Guardian ***
‘An exhilarating Bohemian double bill’
‘The playing of the wittily named all-female Ragazze Quartet is fresh, light in texture, nimble and just occasionally a little ragged, but always spirited.’
About their cd ‘Vivere’
In Haydn’s op. 76 no. 2 and Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden,” they flirt with life, they play the rests, they play the expressive markings, too, and they find new breadth and breath in themes that are too often rushed or merely stormed through. In the Widmann, they are merely ferocious.
International Record Review
The Ragazze Quartet delivers an abruptly contoured and fittingly acerbic performance of Haydn, abetted by brisk tempos and a keen sense of the work’s structural needs.
Ragazze gives Schubert’s Death and the Maiden an energetic reading, playing up the dark dramatism for all its worth. In Widmann they are determined to destroy any sexist preconceptions of any of their listeners, Ragazze performed this quartet with all of the savage violence the composer intended for it; and, while it would have been nice to encounter it in the context of Widmann’s full cycle, this performance certainly made for an aggressively bold move in concluding a debut recording.
…the heritage of string quartet-playing is too authentic in it, and there is too much skill behind the kaleidoscoping of colours from phrase to phrase that loses nothing in its perfection of ensemble in the process.
Business manager: Roland Spekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marketing & PR: Hester Mol (email@example.com)
Agency: Effacta Productions / Guido Nederlof (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Foundation Alleanza delle Ragazze
Chairman of the board: Albert Adams
Boardmembers: Maarten Mostert, Monique Mulder, Luuk Kornelius
Funds and sponsors
The Ragazze Quartet is supported by Performing Arts Fund NL, Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst and Foundation Alleanza delle Ragazze