"They shine with a dynamic sophistication, which blows like a gust of wind in the face, then withdraw again, unnoticed and unexpectedly into a melancholy calm."
"Immersive and intense with a well-earned enthusiastic end applause."
Alma Quartet was formed in 2014 and quickly gained reputation as one of the most thrilling ensembles in Holland. Their debut album: Schulhoff Complete String Quartets has received stellar international praise. The Gramophone claimed "this set shoots straight to the top" and also admired the quartet for being "capable of the most seductive playing." The album was chosen for the 2017 Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik 'Bestenliste' and was also featured on several German national radio stations including Deutschlandfunk and SWR2, the latter hailing Alma's Schulhoff cycle as the "new reference recording".
Alma Quartet: Dutilleux and Glass, released exclusively on vinyl, has equally enjoyed immediate critical praise. Receiving 4-stars across the board from major publications, the quartet is noted for their "collective antenna for sophisticated timbres" by the Volkskrant, and for their "carefully forged unity" by the Telegraaf.
Their latest album with the string quartets of Debussy, Ravel and Dutilleux has just recently been released. Luister Magazine gave its highest ranking and stated “Alma Quartet plays with desired liveliness, great rhythmic precision and exceptional sound.” And the Volkskrant claimed "[...] it has fire, is rhythmically razor-sharp and a sensuality of the unashamed kind with a beautiful, glowing depth."
As well as performing the classical repertoire, the quartet is keen on collaborating with producer Henrik Schwarz in a multitude of projects. Their album CCMYK, in which they explore the possibilities of seamlessly fusing newly composed electronic and classical music into a new language, has recently been released on the label Between Buttons. A new project called Plunderphonia is currently being developed.
The quartet has performed at prestigious concert halls including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Konzerthaus Berlin, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ Amsterdam, Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Süreyya Opera House Istanbul, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Harbin Concert Hall, Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall, as well as clubs and theaters such as Diligentia Den Haag, Volksbühne Berlin, Temple Beijing, Musis Arnhem, Theaters Tilburg, Theater de Veste Delft, Paradiso Amsterdam, Bimhuis, Melkweg Amsterdam, Kulturbrauerei Berlin and Střecha Lucerny Prague.
They have played during captivating events such as String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, Schumannfest Düsseldorf, Classical Music Rave, XJazz Festival Berlin, Down The Rabbit Hole, Klassifest, Shoeless Festival, Pop-Kultur Festival Berlin, Theater Spektakel Zurich, TEDx and Uitmarkt Amsterdam. They are also frequent guests at major (international) live radio and television shows including Spiegelzaal, Podium Witteman and ARTE.
Alma Quartet has collaborated with diverse artists such as Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lisa Batiashvili, Denis Kozhukhin, Philip Glass, Hauschka, Henrik Schwarz, Dauwd, New Cool Collective, Rembrandt Frerichs, Mees Dierdorp, Nicolas van Poucke, Dominic Seldis, Alexander Bedenko, Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, Nino Gvetadze, Aidan Mikdad, Jorinde Keesmaat and Frank Lammers.
"They play with an ease that showcases technical perfection and a commitment that conveys their love for music."
“[...] the dialogue between them yielded a well-executed and relaxed nightcap."
Marc Daniel van Biemen (1986) is among Holland’s most established concert artists. Described by The New York Times as ‘a dynamic and brilliantly virtuosic violinist’, he has won 2nd prize at the Oskar Back Violin Competition, a special prize at the Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition and was the recipient of the 2014 'Prix de Salon'. He has played solo with orchestras such as the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Limburg Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden, The Hague Youth Orchestra and Royal Conservatory Orchestra of The Hague.
At age 24, Marc Daniel joined the first violin section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra after completing the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He has served as guest concertmaster of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia in Carnegie Hall under Krzysztof Penderecki and the Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
He has collaborated with artists such as Leonidas Kavakos, Lisa Batiashvili, Janine Jansen, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Murray Perahia, Leif Ove Andsnes, Torleif Thedéen, Andreas Ottensammer, Henrik Schwarz and Hauschka. He is the leader of Camerata RCO as well as the first violinist of the Alma Quartet.
Marc Daniel received his first musical lessons from his father Wybo van Biemen. He then continued studying privately with Jaap van Zweden and Herman Krebbers. In 2005 he went to study with Sidney Harth at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and in 2007 he was accepted at the Yale School of Music where he received his Certificate in Performance with Syoko Aki.
He plays on a Nicolò Amati, Cremona 1675
Benjamin Peled, originally from Chicago, was appointed to the first violin section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, in 2006. In addition to serving as a guest concertmaster for the Staatskapelle Berlin and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, both under the baton of Daniel Barenboim, he has also led as a concertmaster for the Houston Symphony, and Iris Orchestra in Memphis, TN.
A regular guest with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Peled was a member of the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago, and has joined the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Aspen Chamber and Festival Orchestras, and the New World Symphony in concert as well. Since his appointment to the RCO, Peled has had many opportunities to perform as a chamber music partner with principal players from orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the RCO, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
He has appeared in various mixed chamber ensembles throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including in the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, The Upper Galilee Voice of Music Festival in Kfar Blum, the Talis Festival Saas-Fee Switzerland, the Seoul Arts Center, Hamarikyu-Asahi Hall Tokyo, and in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw. He completed a Bachelor and Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where he was a student of Paul Kantor and William Preucil, respectively.
A founding member of the Amsterdam-based Alma Quartet, Peled plays on a violin by J.B. Vuillaume on generous loan from the Stichting Donateurs Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.
Widely known as a chamber musician, violist Jeroen Woudstra is recognized for his brilliant technique and musicality. Over the last twenty years he has become a regular guest with many of the world’s great musicians including Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Nobuko Imai, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Kerr and Lisa Batiashvili, amongst many others.
Also, Jeroen Woudstra appears as a soloist with several orchestras. His most recent solo performance has been in Holland under the baton of Jaap van Zweden and he can be found on several recordings on Gutman Records covering a wide swath of the chamber music literature.
Though widely acclaimed as a performer, Woudstra’s teaching has been an inspiration to many students through his passion for music. He has given masterclasses at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Academy, Penn State University, Buenos Aires University, Eastman School of Music and Seoul University.
Woudstra joined the viola section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2000 and plays a viola built by J. Lefèbvre from the instrument collection of the orchestra donors’ foundation Stichting Donateurs.
Born in 1990, Clément Peigné began his cello studies at the conservatory in Tours, and continued on with Xavier Gagnepain and Hortense Cartier-Bresson at the Boulogne-Billancourt Conservatory, where he subsequently won prizes for cello and chamber music. Having won a scholarship to attend the Indiana University in Bloomington, he had the opportunity to study with Janos Starker. He then completed a Master’s Degree at the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Danse in Paris, where he worked with Marc Coppey. He also had additional studies with Nicolas Altstaedt at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne.
Peigné was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.
He was a member of the Zermatt Festival Academy and the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he worked closely with such composers as Heinz Holliger, Krzysztof Penderecki and Gérard Pesson. He has focused on contemporary repertoire in various Diplômes d’Artistes Interprètes workshops and in concerts with the Ensemble InterContemporain.
Peigné became a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2019, and plays on a cello built by Gustave Bernardel in 1901.