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 German national radio station SWR2, hailing Alma's Schulhoff cycle as the 'new reference recording.'
Their latest album Korngold String Quartet No.1 | Piano Quintet with Severin von Eckardstein for Challenge Records received the prestigious Diapason d'Or in France and has been exceptionally well received by The Gramophone claiming there is a ‘[…] superb polish of the playing, a sense of freshness, discovery and sheer joy that leaps out from this recording’ as well as ‘this is intensely characterful playing that never sounds mannered – complex without becoming congested.’
De Volkskrant states ‘Alma Quartet plays Korngold the way he would’ve wanted, slippery and insane.’
Belgian newspaper De Standaard claims ‘Alma Quartet knows how to capture the soul of Korngold.’
And BBC Music Magazine writes: 'there's inventiveness and a sense of adventure in these burnished performances - utterly refined, yet warm and tender too.'
Ultimately the American Record Guide says: 'I might as well admit that the album sounds phenomenal.'
Korngold String Quartets Nos. 2-3 was recorded direct-to-disc without editing and has been ranked among the Top40 best albums of 2021 by De Volkskrant claiming 'Alma Quartet plays Korngold with a touch of soft nostalgia.'
De Standaard gave it a 5-star review claiming 'the Amsterdam foursome plays formidable [...]' and 'the result sounds as thrilling as a live concert.'
BBC Radio 3 celebrated their 'uncompromising and emphatic performance style' as well as saying that it's 'like close-up magic, listening to this.'
NRC Handelsblad stated 'the foursome [...] shows the listener in one go the most beautiful flowers along the deepest abysses' and Het Parool praised the quartet for their 'enchanting masters level playing' and finds that 'the result commands great admiration.'
Spanish magazine Ritmo gave it 5 stars and claimed their recording is 'the best available [...] for understanding the expressive world of Korngold.'
As well as performing the classical repertoire, the quartet is keen on collaborating with artists of other genres such as singer-songwriter Nana Adjoa, bigband New Cool Collective with which they released Opus 127, an EP containing jazz variations on Beethovens twelfth string quartet and composer and jazz pianist Rembrandt Frerichs with whom they released Piano Concertos Nos. 1-2 of which De Volkskrant stated they play '[...] with a lot of flair and finesse.'
The quartet has recorded for a number of labels including Sony Classical, Universal Music, BIS Records, Challenge Records, Gutman Records and TRPTK. They also collaborate intensely with techno producer Henrik Schwarz on a multitude of projects.
On their album CCMYK, they explore the possibilities of seamlessly fusing newly composed electronic and classical music into a new language.
The quartet has performed at prestigious concert halls including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Müpa Budapest, Konzerthaus Berlin, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, De Doelen Rotterdam, 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 Jazz Cafe London, Philharmonie Haarlem, Diligentia Den Haag, Volksbühne Berlin, Temple Beijing, Musis Arnhem, 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, Amsterdam Dance Event, XJazz Festival Berlin, Down The Rabbit Hole, Beyond the Pale Festival, Shoeless Festival, Pop-Kultur Festival Berlin, Theater Spektakel Zurich, TEDx and Uitmarkt Amsterdam.
Alma Quartet has collaborated with diverse artists such as Klaus Mäkelä, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Lisa Batiashvili, Martin Fröst, Denis Kozhukhin, Severin von Eckardstein, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly, Samuel Adams, Milica Djordjevic, Jörgen van Rijen, Hauschka, Henrik Schwarz, Julien Libeer, Lavinia Meijer, Dauwd, Rembrandt Frerichs, Ramon van Engelenhoven, Bugge Wesseltoft, New Cool Collective, Dominique Vleeshouwers, Nana Adjoa, Mahsa Vahdat, Sarah Neutkens, Nicolas van Poucke, Dominic Seldis, Santa Vizine, Nino Gvetadze, Aidan Mikdad and Frank Lammers.
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.
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, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Verbier Festival Orchestra,
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