"This concert was worth waiting for…..richly colored and intensely dramatic performance" - The New York Times
The members of the Utrecht String Quartet do what they have done passionately for the last thirty years, play the most beautiful chamber music and dedicate their lives to this. They perform worldwide, and in major chamber music venues in the Netherlands where they are resident.
The quartet finds great joy in playing well-known works, well aware that the great composers wrote timeless masterpieces. However, the Utrecht String Quartet have also gained their excellent reputation because of their search for lost and forgotten repertoire and their collaboration with contemporary composers.
It is their mission to save composers from unjust oblivion, creating projects to make this happen. CD productions of music by Mossolov, Bosmans, Sweelinck, lesser known works of Britten, and the complete quartets of Glazunov, Verhulst, Gretchaninov, Lourié and Tchaikovsky are amongst the sizeable selection of recordings for MDG.
When preparing for a first performance Eeva (Finland), Katherine (Australia), Mikhail (Russia) and Sebastian (Germany) approach music as if it were an enigma which needs to be unravelled. “When we have new music in our hands we just can’t wait to try, understand, see and play with it, find tempos, harmonies, dynamics, discuss its intentions, listen to it, discover its possibilities and just learn.”
Their versatility has featured strongly in the quartet’s successful international tours which have taken them as far as Canada, USA, Australia, Finland, and Kazakhstan.
"Their performance is simultaneously intellectual, analytical, and strongly expressive” - Helsingin Sanomat, Finland.
The quartet teach as Quartet-in-Residence at Utrecht University of Arts, and regularly hold an International Chamber Music Masterclass in collaboration with the Utrecht University Summer School. They are also regular guests at the renowned Canadian Music Center CAMMAC.
“We want to share our passion and the art of playing chamber music with a younger generation.”
The Utrecht String Quartet has established a successful collaborative relationship with notable chamber musicians such as Severin von Eckardstein, Pieter Wispelwey, Paolo Giacometti, Ralph van Raat, Nobuko Imai, Paul Cassidy, Aleksander Madzer or baritone Thomas Oliemans.
The four musicians find each other in their deepest incentive to play chamber music, wanting to create a wonderful experience that will touch people in their hearts, taking a beautiful piece and its composer as a foundation. Their youthful bravura of the early years is now enriched by an awe of strong togetherness and understanding.
“It feels like coming home, whenever we find each other at a rehearsal or performance in between our other musical activities. We cherish being able to add our own individual voices to the whole, we have learned to understand each other without the need for many words."
After finishing her studies at the Sibelius Academy in her hometown Helsinki, Eeva Koskinen moved to the Netherlands to continue studying with Victor Liberman at the Utrecht Conservatorium. During this time she frequently extended her studies in France , with violinist Wladimir Spivakov. After winning top-prizes in several competitions, such as Tibor Varga and the Japan Music Competition, she has performed regularly as a soloist with orchestras and as a chamber musician worldwide. She co-founded the Utrecht String Quartet and in 2001 was appointed as first concertmaster of the North Netherlands Orchestra. Eeva holds a teaching position at the Utrecht Conservatorium and is also a member of Trio Finlandia.
The Australian violinist Katherine Routley studied at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Indiana University in Bloomington U.S.A. and Utrecht Conservatorium in the Netherlands, with Harry Curby, Yuval Yaron, Stanley Ritchie, Victor Liberman and Philip Hirschhorn. Various scholarships and prizes facilitated her study outside of Australia – where her love of chamber music brought her in contact with Walter Levine, Felix Ayo, Eli Goren, Sandor Végh and Gidon Kremer. Katherine is a founding member of the Utrecht String Quartet and member of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen since 1989.
Mikhail Zemtsov first took violin lessons from his mother Loudmila Levinson at the age of five, later studying viola and composition at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He gained Soloist Diplomas with Distinction from ABRSM (B. Dinerstein), the Hochschuele für Musik in Hamburg (Germany, M. Nichetianu) and the Maastricht Conservatory (Netherlands, M. Kugel). Mikhail took conducting lessons and masterclasses with Lev Markiz, Juozas Domarkas, Neeme and Paavo Järvi, Gianandrea Noseda and Daniel Raiskin.
Mikhail also plays as a duo partner with guitarist Enno Voorhorst (Duo Macondo). He founded the Zemtsov Viola Quartet together with his wife Julia, his brother Alexander and daughter Dana. Mikhail Zemtsov is viola teacher at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and at the Utrecht Conservatory. He is chief conductor of the Utrecht Conservatory Strings and the Concerto Grosso Youth Orchestra in Rotterdam.
Sebastian Koloski was born in Bremen, Germany, studied cello at the Musikhochschule Freiburg with Christoph Henkel and graduated in the U.S.A. with Aldo Parisot. Returning to Europe he worked as a regular free-lance cellist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Sebastian Koloski now lives in the Netherlands where he co-founded the Utrecht String Quartet. Beside his chamber music career he enjoys free-lance work at the opera of Amsterdam, the Orchestras of the Dutch Radio and the Orquestra de Cadaques, Spain. Sebastian Koloski is Head of the Chamber Music Department at the Utrecht Conservatory.