Quirine Viersen

‘It is essential to me to study and perform music on an emotional level. Next to the values of analysis and knowledge, my music-making does follow its most powerful path when it comes from the gut. Conveying that purity and essence of the music is my drive in playing the cello. It seems the right way to let the listener join me in the flow, to become “unchained” together.’

‘Motherhood is closely linked to my career. My children are a constant mirror to everything I do, think and feel. This has given me new and invigorating ways in communicating through music. It is as if I don’t play anymore, I just am.’

Recent projects

Amongst other concerts this season, Quirine Viersen will give multiple performances of the Barber Cello Concerto with the Niederrheinische Sinfoniker under Diego Martin-Etxebarria. For the international Cello Biennial Amsterdam 2018, she looks forward to revisiting Korngold’s Cello Concerto, as well as playing the world premiere of Glacier, a solo piece JacobTV wrote for her. 2019 will see the collaboration with both the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra/Lucas Macias Navarro and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra for the cello arrangement of Mozart’s Flute Concerto.

In 2011, Quirine recorded the Bach Suites for Cello for the first time. The Strad wrote: [her] ’interpretations are characterised by poise, imagination and a pleasing sense of fantasy.’ New perspectives have led to a second recording, to be issued this year.

After working and recording extensively with Silke Avenhaus for almost twenty years, Quirine has sought out new duo collaborations. Recitals with pianist Enrico Pace kicked off with great success at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam in 2017.

Stepping stones

Quirine’s father, Yke Viersen (cellist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), was a logical first influence on her talent, followed by Jan Decroos and Dimitri Ferschtman. At sixteen, Quirine was the youngest prize winner ever at the Scheveningen International Music Competition.

The insights of Ralph Kirshbaum and Natalia Gutman and Heinrich Schiff proved to be defining. Heinrich Schiff was her all-encompassing mentor, teaching her to make music with the cello as her instrument. The ‘Navarra’ technique enriched her playing greatly. Amongst others, she was prize winner at the Rostropovich Competition Paris 1990, at the International Cello Competition Helsinki 1991, and at the Tchaikovsky Competition Moscow 1994. In the same year, she received the most prestigious classical state prize, the Dutch Music Award.

Quirine Viersen performs on the ‘Joseph Guarnerius Filius Andreae’ from 1715, previously played by André Navarra. With help of Heinrich Schiff, it was kindly provided by the Dutch National Instrument Fund. Schiff complemented this instrument with one of his bows as a gift.

Creative collaborations

Being awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award, Quirine performed with the Vienna Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta at the Lucerne Festival in 2000.

Since then, Quirine has played the cello concerto repertoire with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt, Ingo Metzmacher and Bernard Haitink, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Marc Albrecht, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Valery Gergiev, Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Hugh Wolff, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Georges Pehlivanian, Vienna Chamber Orchestra/Heinrich Schiff, Malmö Symphony Orchestra/Lawrence Renes, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra/Jean Fournet and others.

Previous and continuing collaborations include Antje Weithaas, Thomas Beijer, Leonidas Kavakos and Liza Ferschtman; with invitations from Delft Chamber Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Mondsee Tage, Luzerner Festwochen and the Salzburger Festspiele.

Text: Green Room Creatives (quirineviersen.com); Photo: Jelmer de Haas