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Exciting concerts with Brillante quartet

Chamber music has been something scary to me for years. This may be a bit of a strong statement to open a blog post with, but the truth is that during a very long period of my life I didn't feel confident enough to allow myself to enjoy making music with other people. I was too worried about technical issues with my instrument, not being able to get the sound I wanted and afraid of failing my colleagues. My main focus was to play my part without making any mistakes. I couldn't let go of those thoughts and trust the hard work that I put into the music in order to have fun when going on stage. Which let me tell you, is exactly the opposite of what you need to make chamber music.

That doesn't mean that I haven't participated in as many chamber music ensembles as I could (I guess deep down I did enjoy it a bit). What's more, there have been a couple of situations in which I have truly had fun playing with my group, even in front of an audience. I remember a particular concert in the Casino de Pamplona (Spain) the last year of my Bachelor's. I was playing with a string quartet plus accordion. The repertoire was very fun, both for us to play and for the audience to listen to: we played a piece by Piazzola (of course) and a very cool contemporary piece by the Basque composer Gorka Hermosa. When I look back at it, a smile comes to my face and I can remember the energy and connection among us. I was out of breath when we played the last note, it was such an intense concert. It's one of the most beautiful musical memories I have 😍

Luckily, the negative feelings I mentioned in the beginning are slowly changing and I'm discovering the marvelous world of chamber music. It’s so interesting for me to see the personal evolution I’ve gone through, from dreading chamber music to knowing that I want to keep playing in ensembles forever. I believe this is a result of me being more confident and comfortable with my playing, having more tools that allow me to find the solutions to the problems I encounter until I get the final result I'm looking for. Not only in my own violin part, but also as a group. What’s more, the best part of it comes when my colleagues bring their own ideas to the table and we all get inspired from each other.

I've always been aware of the special bond that music creates between people, but I've mainly seen that in my personal life, translated into very special friendships that last for years now. Furthermore, when I'm playing with friends and I feel that we're communicating without any words, rowing in the same direction and bringing to life our musical ideas together, it's out of this world.

A very important piece in the puzzle to understand my experience with chamber music is the string quartet in which I am playing nowadays. The Brillante quartet was born in September 2022, so we've been playing together for about six months now. I'm so proud of how much we've grown in such a short period of time: not only is there an extremely big difference between our first and last recording, but also in the way we face our rehearsals and the aspects of the music we choose to focus on. Two years ago I'd never have imagined I could be as comfortable and joyful playing in a string quartet.

Brillante qyartet in Zwolle, ArtEZ Conservatorium
Brillante quartet

We started this journey with Haydn's string quartet op. 20 nr. 4, in which I played first violin. It was quite a challenge for me because it was very much a leading voice and what the audience would mainly focus on, and as you could have guessed by now, I'm not really comfortable with being in the spotlight. To my surprise, it didn't take me long to start trusting myself. We've quickly built a very safe space in which we can tell each other what we like or don't like about our and other people's playing, always in a very respectful way. I like to think of our rehearsals as if they were a musical lab, in which we suggest ideas and try them out to see whether they work or not, and whether we like them or not. All ideas are welcome, as crazy as they might be, so we're not afraid of speaking out. It's all about experimenting, both individually and as a group, and it's so much fun!!

After the Haydn, we started working on Dvorak's American Quartet, which has been one of my dreams for years. The energy and the beauty of the melodies is unique and also very exciting to play, we need to constantly be listening and aware of where the music is taking us. There's so much information in every bar, so many details to take care of and a big space for creativity and personal interpretations. Thanks to this piece, we are more and more conscious of our sound as a group and how far we can get with our dynamic range. It's so satisfying to play through and hear the result of what we've been working on, to get goosebumps with how pianissimo we can play and a burst of energy in the most active passages. I can't wait to our first performance of the piece 🤩

And from dream to dream, we've also been working on a completely different piece to end our concerts with. The first time I listened to it I told myself I'd play it someday, and that day has finally arrived! I get so emotional whenever I listen to it, it has an indescribable effect on me. Make sure you come to our concerts if you want to know which piece I'm talking about! I promise it will make you want to get up off your chair and start dancing 😉


Come listen to us perform!

🗓️ 17/03/2023, 19:00 - ArtEZ Conservatorium Zwolle (Link to the livestream)

🗓️ 01/04/2023, 14:00 - Academiehuis Grote Kerk Zwolle

🗓️ 02/04/2023, 11:45 - Protestantse gemeente Wijhe

🗓️ 20/05/2023, 14:00 - Academiehuis Grote Kerk Zwolle

🗓️ 23/05/2023, 19:00 - Final The Best Of in ArtEZ Conservatorium Zwolle (Link to the livestream)

🗓️ 16/06/2023, 12:15 - Stadkamer Zwolle

It's hard to chose... but what do you enjoy more about music?

  • Playing/Listening to solo repertoire

  • Playing in/Listening to a chamber music group

  • Playing in/Listening to orchestras

  • Other (let me know in the comments!)

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Good luck in your concerts to you and your Quartet. I voted "Other" because I can't choose!

I wanted to say that I find very pure the way you say you are proud of yourself. It shows a lot of honesty in the most humble way.

I wish you all the best :)

Eider Armendariz
Eider Armendariz

Thank you so much for your comment! The concert was really good and we had a lot of fun 😊


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