The Kersjes Fund, one of the Netherlands’ largest private stimulation funds for music, awards the Kersjes Prize 2022 to the Chianti Ensemble. The prize consists of a cash prize of 50,000 euros. The violin grant and the conductor grant go to Isobel Warmelink and Rolf Verbeek respectively. They each receive 15,000 euros. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16 November in the Uilenburger Sjoel in Amsterdam. The concert, in which the prize winners present themselves, will be broadcast live on NPO Radio 4. The Chianti Ensemble, winner of the Kersjesprijs 2022, was founded four years ago by five musician friends after a successful tour through Chianti, Tuscany. The piano quintet consists of Shin Sihan (1994, violin), Yamen Saadi (1997, violin), Takehiro Konoe (1997, viola), Alexander Warenberg (1998, cello) and Nathalia Milstein (1995, piano).
This flexible ensemble complements highlights from the repertoire for piano quintet with compositions for various compositions, from duo to quartet.
Motivation The Kersjes Fund: “Five excellent players, who, in addition to their impressive solo careers, chose to form a very high-level ensemble based on their passion for chamber music. The Kersjes Fund is impressed by their brilliant and vibrant playing, their fresh look at traditional repertoire and their honest and thoughtful programming.”
Isobel Warmelink (1996), winner of the Violin Scholarship 2022, is quickly making a career as a soloist and chamber musician. In January she won first prize at the Oscar Back Competition. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as Sinfonia Rotterdam, the Símon Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Residentie Orkest and excels in recitals with surprising programs in which she performs well-known work as well as less frequently performed pieces. Isobel is currently completing her master’s degree with Professor Lukas Hagen at the Mozarteum Universität in Salzburg.
The fund: “A versatile musician who stands out for her intelligent and sensitive playing. She interprets both the classical and the contemporary repertoire with flair and insight and excels in smooth and natural interplay.”
Rolf Verbeek (1989), winner of the 2022 Conductor’s Scholarship, has conducted a large number of orchestras, including the Noord Nederlands Orkest, Philharmonie Zuid Nederland and Phion. He also led productions at Opera Zuid and the Dutch Opera Academy. Since 2019 he has been a conductor with Camerata RCO (members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). For this ensemble he arranged large orchestral works (particularly single symphonies by Anton Bruckner) into chamber music ensemble. He is also assistant conductor to Barbara Hannigan. This resulted in projects with, among others, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Orchester Philharmonique de Radio France, the Bamberger Symphoniker and the Münchner Philharmoniker.
The fund: “A young, talented conductor with a clear stroke, who communicates with the orchestra in a pleasant and effective way. Thanks to a quick and intelligent empathy with the score, he can get the orchestra on board with his vision with apparent ease. In addition to conducting, he is an excellent arranger, as witnessed by his version of Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, performed by Camerata RCO.”
The Kersjes Fund supports the development of stimulating, but vulnerable ideas
The Kersjes Fund, founded in 1994 by conductor Anton Kersjes and his wife Margreet van de Groenekan, annually spends around 350,000 euros on grants and prizes for young talent and on supporting special projects and original initiatives. The string quartet receives special attention. For example, the fund supported projects by Dudok Quartet Amsterdam, Calefax, Ragazze Quartet, Diamanda Dramm, Holland Baroque and New European Ensemble, among others.
This year, the stimulus fund has partially reversed course. The annual presentation of prizes, grants and stipends to violinists, ensembles and conductors – an important pillar in Dutch musical life – will be continued. For project support, the fund has been pursuing a new policy since 1 January, which focuses on the development of promising ideas. Original and stimulating music projects are eligible for substantial financial support. The aim is to nurture challenging, viable but vulnerable ideas at the source and give them the opportunity to develop. During the presentation of the Kersjesprijs 2022 and the grants, it will be announced which projects will receive support in the coming period.
Website The Kersjes Fund, photos above: Isobel Warmelink (© Foppe Schut), Chianti Ensemble (© Foppe Schut), Rolf Verbeek (© Hans van der Woerd)
For more press information: Margarétha Moerkerke and Trix van Alphen
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