Pianist Jelger Blanken graduated from his postgraduate studies at the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam in 2002 where he studied with Ludmilla Baslawskaja and Håkon Austbø.
In March 2002, together with the Canadian cellist Rachel Mercer, Jelger won the Concertgebouw ‘Vriendenkrans’ Prize and the ‘Eduard van Beinum’ scholarship.
In recent years, Jelger has been seen regularly on Dutch concert podiums with a variety of ensembles. In addition to this, Jelger has also performed on the foreign concert circuit in countries such as France, Portugal and Estonia in the capacity of soloist and additionally as promoter of Dutch modern music.
In September 2001 Jelger was chosen as the only Dutch ‘liederaccompanist’ to take part in the masterclasses of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in Stuttgart. Accompanying baritone Henk Neven, he took part in the series “Het Debut.’ Consequently, they then performed in a vast range of Dutch concert halls in 2004 and 2005.
In 2006 Jelger performed in the 2nd Franz Liszt Festival in Vredenburg, Utrecht. In 2007 he took part in a chamber music concert with Herman van Kogelenberg and Hanneke de Wit in a series entitled ‘ Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’.
In 2008 and 2009 he played regularly with the wind quintet ‘Eolian Ensemble’ of whom he has now become a permanent member with more performances to follow in the concert season 2009-2010.
Future concerts this year include performances in the Grachten Festival in Amsterdam this summer and in the 2009 Dopper Festival with the Farcas Quintet in the autumn. Jelger has also worked in musical theatre including the youth theatre production ‘Wild’, directed by Margrith Vrenegoor. This production was premiered in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2005 and consequently performed on various Dutch podiums in 2006.
Jelger continues to work as accompanist and instrumental coach in the concert series and masterclasses ‘Holland Music Sessions’ and ‘International Foundation Masterclasses’ in Apeldoorn. In connection with this, he has played with international young top talent in concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Estonian concert hall in Tallinn. Since 2003, he has been an instrumental coach/accompanist at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.
Mirsa Adami began her piano studies in Tirana, Albania, with Elsa Veizi and Takuina Adami. She grew up in a family of musicians- her grandmother was an opera singer and her mother a piano professor. From a young age she performed with several orchestras and gave many recitals throughout her home country.
In 1991 she moved to the Netherlands to continue her studies, first with Jan Marisse Huizing in Groningen, and later with Jan Wijn at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. In 2000, she graduated cum laude (with honour) as a performing artist. Because of the rich artistic climate in the Netherlands, she decided to stay and work in Amsterdam. Since then she has been with the Dutch National Opera Academy DNOA in Amsterdam and The Hague as répétiteur/coach.
Her wide range of interests has led to a rich portfolio of concerts and activities. Every summer she accompanies emerging talents, especially cellists, at the International Holland Music Sessions and the International Foundation Masterclass Apeldoorn. In the framework of the Masters on Tour series of the International Holland Music Sessions she performed in Amsterdam, Zwolle, Bratislava, Riga, Tallinn and Prague. She has been a regular performer at the Amsterdam Grachtenfestival and has given concerts with instrumentalists and singers. Since many years Mirsa has formed a duo with violinist Cecilia Bernardini, with whom she won the Vriendenkrans Award of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in 2003. She also regularly performs with violinist Birthe Blom. In 2008, Mirsa and Birthe collaborated closely on the thematic programme Variations from the classical period, with works ranging from Corelli’s Folia to Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.
Mirsa is a member of the Darius Ensemble, which offers the unique combination of voice, flute, cello and piano. The Darius Ensemble was selected for the prestigious concert series Het Debuut for which in 2005-2006 it toured the Dutch concert halls. In 2010 the ensemble performed Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire at the Amsterdam Grachtenfestival, which was received with great enthusiasm.
As a soloist, Mirsa had her debut in the Grote Zaal of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam in 2004 when she performed Prokofiev’s Piano No. 2 in Tirana, accompanied by the Albanian Radio Orchestra with Russian conductor Leonid Nikolaev. In 2012 she added Concerto No. 3 with the VU Orchestra, conducted by Daan Admiraal. In January 2006, she played Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Shostakovich’ Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 to her repertoire, performing it on separate occasions with two different Amsterdam string orchestras: Lundi Bleu and Amstelstrijkers.
Daniel Kramer began taking piano lessons at the age of nine. As a teenager he studied with Ton Hartsuiker in Utrecht. In 1994 he started his piano studies at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Håkon Austbø.
He also took regular lessons with Claude Helffer in Paris. In 2000 he was awarded his performance diploma, with distinction. Since 2001 he has worked as an accompanist at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Daniël has participated in masterclasses given by some of the world’s most eminent pianists, including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, György Sándor and Murray Perahia.
He has also won a number of prizes, including first prize at the national Prinses Christina Concours (1994) and first prize for accompanists at the European Music Competition for Youth (1995). In 2007 he was honoured with a special mention in the prestigious Concours Olivier Messiaen in Paris. In July 2008 the jury of the Seghizzi competition for singers in Italy awarded him the prize for the best piano accompanist.
Daniël has been a guest recitalist at music festivals in the Netherlands, Germany Japan and France. Chamber music plays an important role in his life, and he has had the great privilege to perform with artists such as Nobuko Imai, Stephan Picard, Philippe Graffin and the Mondriaan Quartet and to collaborate with a number of composers including George Benjamin, Louis Andriessen, Toshio Hosokawa and Sofia Gubaidulina, premiering many contemporary pieces.
As a soloist, he has performed with the Residentie Orkest (The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra), conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier, the Ensemble voor Nieuwe Muziek, conducted by Lucas Vis, the National Youth Orchestra, conducted by William Purvis and Reinbert de Leeuw, and the Radio Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Peter Eötvös.
Martijn Willers had his first piano lessons at the age of six with Nel Köhler. Later he studied with Noor Relijk. In 1998, he won second prize at the Competition of the Foundation for Young Musical Talent in The Netherlands. He entered the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he studied with Marcel Baudet (1998-1999) and Mila Baslawskaja 1999-2003). In 2005, he finished his Master studies, after two years of study with David Kuyken. Martijn is now continuing his studies with Mrs. Norma Fischer. As a soloist, he had masterclasses with Jan Wijn (1997), Willem Brons, Vladimir Tropp (1998, 2005) and Mikhail Voskresensky (Holland Music Sessions 2006).
In 2006, he won the SNS Reaal Foundation Masterclass Prize in the final of the “Vriendenkrans Competition” in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Martijn has been a passionate chamber music player ever since the first years of his studies.
Since 2006, he has a duo with cellist Joris van den Berg, with whom he performs regularly in the main halls of The Netherlands, such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Vredenburg in Utrecht. The duo won third prize in the International Johannes Brahms Chamber Music Competition in Pörtschach, Austria in August 2008. In the 2009-2010 season they will perform a.o. Rachmaninoff’s cello sonata in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
He also is a member of Trio Contrasten Amsterdam with Fleur Bouwer (clarinet) and Maria Milstein (violin). Recently, the trio did a series of 11 concerts in the main halls of The Netherlands under the name The Debut, recorded by the Concert Radio Broadcast in The Netherlands.
In several combinations, he had masterclasses and lessons with a.o. Ralph Kirshbaum, Colin Carr, Quirine Viersen, Tabea Zimmermann, Thomas Riebl, Pascal Devoyon, Philippe Grafin.
Martijn is playing on a Steinway grand piano build in 1909, made available by the Dutch Music Instrument Foundation.