North America

IVAR BERIX, clarinet
RAAF HEKKEMA, saxophone
JELTE ALTHUIS, bass clarinet
ALBAN WESLY, bassoon

Celebrated not least for the invention of their original genre, the reed quintet, Calefax is known internationally for their virtuosic playing and their “pop” sensibility as they arrange, recompose and interpret music from eight centuries to suit their unique constellation. From early music to classical and jazz to world premières, in the hands of Calefax it all sounds fresh and new. The Amsterdam-based ensemble has received many prestigious awards, including the 1997 Philip Morris Arts Prize, the 2001 Kersjes van de Groenekan Prize, the 2005 VSCD Classical Music Award, and the 2012 German Junge Ohren Prize for the family musical show De Muziekfabriek. They perform frequently throughout Europe, as well as in Russia, China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, and the USA. The Times (UK) has called them “five extremely gifted Dutch gents who almost made the reed quintet seem the best musical format on the planet.”

Highlights of the Calefax Quintet 2018-19 season include a United States tour featuring performances at The Frick Collection in New York, Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake, Brigham Young University, The Vilar Center for the Performing Arts, Chamber Music San Francisco, and California State University Sacramento. In 2017-18 US audiences will enjoy Calefax in performance in the Auditorium Chamber Music Series, the Candlelight Concert Series and the Carthage Chamber Music Series, presenting works by Mussorgsky, Strauss, Ravel, Gershwin, and more. They will be seen and heard in the Netherlands at the WMC Kerkrade, Hoornse Haven Concerten, Concertgebouw, De Doelen, Jurriaanse Zaal, TivoliVredenburg, Hertz, Theater de Veste, Nieuwe Kerk, and Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ; in Hong Kong at the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre and North District Town Hall; at the Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden, Philharmonie Luxemburg; and the Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. Calefax has recently appeared at New York’s Town Hall in Music & Image, performing a program accompanied on stage by movable projection screens for which video material has been specially developed. They have also collaborated with composer Nico Muhly and Dutch rising star soprano Lenneke Ruiten. Other major venues in which they have performed include Wigmore Hall (London), the Oriental Arts Center (Shanghai), Lincoln Center (NYC), Netherland’s Concertgebouw, Concertgebouw Belgium, and the Donderdagavondserie Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), where they have performed world premières of works by Carola Bauckholt, Klas Torstensson and Yannis Kyriakides. In January 2013, Calefax had the honor of accompanying the former Dutch Queen Beatrix on her final two state visits to Brunei and Singapore.

Calefax Reed Quintet has enjoyed collaborations with a wide range of renowned artists, including pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Ivo Janssen, Louis van Dijk and Michael Braam; violinists Liza Ferschtman and Claude Chalhoub; singers Christianne Stotijn, Helena Rasker, Nora Fischer and Denise Jannah; trombonist Christian Lindberg; trumpeter Marco Blaauw; percussionist Arnold Marinissen; clarinetist Kinan Azmeh; ensembles Jungle Boldie (formerly the Tony Overwater Trio), Zapp4, Cappella Amsterdam, Danel Quartet, the Nederlands Kamerkoor; choreographers Boukje Schweigman and Sanne van der Put; and visual artists Jaap Drupsteen and Wouter van Reek.

In addition to their performance for the soundtrack of the 2013 Dutch film De nieuwe wildernis, Calefax has released nineteen recordings, under the German label MDG as well as their own label, RIOJA Records, each garnering rave reviews from the international press. The Dutch newspapers De Telegraaf and De Volkskrant awarded Calefax five stars for their celebrated recording of the Goldberg Variations. Two of their recent recordings, The Roaring Twenties, with mezzo-soprano Cora Burggraaf, and On the Spot, with jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, explore the world of jazz and improvisation. Paul Janssen with Luister music magazine wrote, “The wind quintet and Vloeimans create a sensational CD as if there are no borders between early and new music, no discographic categories separating jazz and classical genres; they embrace ethnic musical influences as if these have simply and at long last been given their fitting place within the whole.” Calefax’s CD, Romantic Kaleidoscope, was released in 2015, with the anniversary book Calefax en de Caleidoscoop, celebrating their 30th anniversary as an ensemble.

Recently Calefax began publishing sheet music of their most successful arrangements under the name Calefax Edition. As a result, new reed quintets have been formed in the Calefax tradition all over the world, including in Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Europe. Through masterclasses and workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe, including a Ted X Talk in Amsterdam, the Calefax musicians pass on their specific methods and musical experiences to coming generations. For musicians, as well as composers, for audiences and press alike, Calefax continues to be an inspiring chamber music laboratory with their annual PAN festival, hosting and performing a motley selection of music adventures. With their bold vision, the Calefax Reed Quintet remains inspirational for their innovative and original, contemporary yet timeless, interpretations of classical music.


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