Jolente De Maeyer, Violin
born in 1984 in Brussels, received her first violin lessons at the age of four. At fourteen she was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to pursue her musical studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School near London. Subsequently she studied with Natasha Boyarsky at Royal College of Music in London, Stephan Picard at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and Augustin Dumay at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium where she graduated in 2013
At the age of 6, she started participating in several national and international competitions and became the youngest laureate ever of the Jong Tenuto Competition. She was awarded with 1st Prizes at the Charles de Bériot Competition Brussels and in several international competitions as Cardona International Competition in Portugal, International Violin Competition Liana Issakadze in Russia (2004) and the Benjamin Britten International Violin competition in London (2005). She also became a semi-finalist in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2009.
As soloist, she performed with Brussels Philharmonic, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonnie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Kamerorkest Brugge, Nuove Musiche, Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, St-Petersburg State Academic Capella Chamber Orchestra and St-Petersburg State Academic Capella Symphony Orchestra, under conductors as: Philippe Herreweghe, Patrick Davin, Etienne Siebens, Pascal Rophé, Silveer Van den Broeck, Dirk Brossé, James Stobart, Michel Tilkin, Stefaan Fraas, Alexander Chernushenko and Rudolf Werthen.
In 2013 Jolente made her debut in America (Texas) with the Waco Symphony Orchestra and Stephen Heyde, where she performed Tchaikovsky violin concerto. This was followed by a recital tour with Nikolaas Kende with whom she forms a duo. Together they founded the Rubens Ensemble in 2007.
In Belgium Jolente has performed regularly in halls like Bozar, Flagey, the Elisabeth Hall, de Singel and the Roma and she played concerts in festivals such as the Festival van Vlaanderen, Festival de Montpellier and Menton. Furthermore, she has performed in countries such as Russia, France, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, The Netherlands, Spain, as well as in London's Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall and at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland.
In 2016 Jolente was awarded the prize ‘most promising young artist of the year’ by the Belgian radio.
Together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège under the baton of Patrick Davin, Jolente recorded the 6th Concerto for violin and orchestra by Henri Vieuxtemps. A recording for which she was awarded with the René Snepvangersprijs (Belgian Music Press in 2011). She also got lavish praise for her outstanding interpretation of Camille Saint-Saëns 2nd Concerto for violin and orchstra which she also recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège, this time under Christian Arming. The CD has garnered a Gold Label nomination by Klassiek Centraal and the ‘Editors Choice’ from Diapason Magazine.
Nikolaas Kende, Piano
born in Antwerp in 1981, studied at the Antwerp conservatory with his parents, Heidi Hendrickx and Levente Kende and at the Amsterdam conservatory with Jan Wijn. Eventually he started an intense cooperation with Elisso Virsaladze at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and at the Scuola di Musica Fiesole. In addition he was taught by people like Dmitri Bashkirov, Aldo Ciccolini, Murray Perahia, Dmitri Alexeev and Radu Lupu. Whilst training as a pianist he was given the 2013 “Oranjebeurs” and grants by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst in 2004 and 2005.
While still young Nikolaas Kende won several competitions: the Cantabile competition (Antwerp, 1998), the EPTA international competition for piano duos (1999), the Axion Classics competition (Brussels, 1999), the Stefaan de Jonghe competition (Aalst, 2000) and the Tenuto competition (Brussels, 2002).
In 2002 he was a laureate of the Belgian Foundation for Young Soloists, in 2004 he came second in the competition of the Young Pianist Foundation in The Hague, and in 2005 he won the Pianisten Parade
in ’s-Hertogenbosch, in which he also obtained the prizes of the public and of the press. In the next year he was a laureate of the th music competition of the Ghent Rotary Club and he won the 57th competition organized by the Friends of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In this competition he won on top the Prize given by the press and the AVRO Klassiek prize, the latter enabled him to record a CD.
In 2007 he reached the semi-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and became a laureate of the Young Soloists Competition organized by the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe. Still young, he began his international career with invitations to France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria. He made his American debut (California and Texas) in 2009 with lavish press reviews and an invitation for a another touring project in 2013. Also recently he embarked on recital tours, both solo and in duo with Jolente, in Canada, America, South-Africa and China.
He has performed on all the important Belgian concert stages. Recently, concerts have taken him to Spain, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Netherlands Antilles and the festivals of Montpellier, Menton and Vexin in France.
He has played concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, Ravel, Rakhmaninov and Bartók, with orchestras such as the Brussels Philharmonic, the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra conducted by Etienne Siebens, Koen Kessels, Ivo Venkov, Jurgen Küssmaul, Ernst van Tiel, Daniele Callegari, Dirk Vermeulen, Paul Goodwin, Stephen Heyde and David Angus among others.
Nikolaas Kende is also an avid chamber musician. Since 2003 he has formed a duo with violinist Jolente De Maeyer and was a co-founder of the Rubens Ensemble in 2007. He was associated with the Narziss und Goldmund Trio for the recording of Schubert’s Piano Trio (D. 929) for Phaedra Classics, the label he recorded also a cd with solo piano works by Johannes Brahms. He has made numerous recordings for radio (the Belgian classical channel Klara, RTBF, AVRO, Radio Romania, France Musique, WDR) and television.
In 2015, Nikolaas was appointed professor of piano at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp.
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