Thursday 5th - Sunday 8th 

September 2024

Artists › Matangi Quartet

  • Maria-Paula Majoor – violin
  • Vacant – violin
  • Karsten Kleijer – viola
  • Arno van der Vuurst – cello
The last twenty-three years have seen Matangi grow into one of the most prominent and versatile ensembles in the Dutch music landscape and on the international stage. Its four members are all independent and distinctive musicians, but what binds them is an unbridled creative curiosity: for new music styles, and for as yet unknown repertoire and unexpected collaborations with other art forms, from cabaret to dance.

The quartet has never limited itself to one style of music since its foundation in 1999 at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the Rotterdam Conservatory. It has always embarked on new adventures, from classical to jazz and from dance to pop.

The Matangis has shared the stage with top classical musicians such as Maarten Koningsberger, Tania Kross, Paolo Giacometti, Severin von Eckardstein and Quatuor Ébène, and they have also ventured into crossover projects, including with comedians Herman van Veen and Youp van 't Hek, with bandoneon player Carel Kraayenhof, with jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and pianist Martin Fondse, jazz pianist Michiel Braam, DJ Kypski, jazz vocalists Mathilde Santing and Ruben Hein and singer-songwriters Lori Lieberman and Tom McRae. With such pioneering forays outside of classical music, Matangi knows how to enthuse new audiences for the string quartet.

The quartet has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Delft Chamber Music Festival, the Grachtenfestival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the International Conservatoire Festival in St Petersburg, North Sea Jazz and the Liberation Festival Utrecht.

With their own annual (Un)heard Music Festival in The Hague, the Matangi Quartet surprises listeners with music that they have often never heard. They shine a spotlight on works that are rarely if ever heard in Dutch concert venues, and they also make connections with more well-known repertoire.

In 2002 the quartet was awarded the prestigious Kersjes van de Groenekan Prize, which is awarded annually for exceptional talent in Dutch chamber music.

All four musicians play instruments that represent Dutch craftsmanship. The cello and first violin are on loan from the National Musical Instruments Fund.

Matangi has released several CDs with Challenge Records International, Matangi Music, and Deutsche Grammophon. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad wrote about their most recent CD, Canto Ostinato, Strings Attached (2020): “Matangi is emerging as the ideal interpreter. Anyone who has heard this quartet’s performance of Beethoven's through-composed Fourteenth String Quartet knows that these strings can weave a hypnotic long arc of tension. They also manage to evoke the addictive enchantment of Canto Ostinato.

Karsten Kleijer - Viola

Karsten Kleijer had his first violin lessons at the age of five, and he switched to viola in 1999. He is a co-founder of the Matangi Quartet, which has had a lively international career since its inception. Although Karsten mainly focuses on the quartet he is much in demand as a chamber music partner with other ensembles, and he also appears regularly as a substitute in professional orchestras including the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Karsten gave the Dutch premiere of “Elegy” for viola solo by the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov in 2017 during the (Un)heard Music Festival. Karsten regularly receives invitations from festivals to give chamber music lessons.

His own training took place at the conservatoires in Groningen, Rotterdam and The Hague, and with the Dutch String Quartet Academy.

The viola he plays is by the Dutch luthier Jan Heefke and dates from 1774. The bow is by Lothar Seifert.

Arno van der Vuurst - Cello

After a few detours via the violin and the piano, Arno came into contact with the cello at the age of ten. This was love at first sight, the beautiful bass and songful sound of the instrument grabbing him immediately. Michiel de Ligt laid the initial foundations for his cello career, and he then continued lessons at the Utrecht Conservatory with Lenian Benjamins. She gave him a solid basis for a continuation of his studies with Fred Pot at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. During this period he played with great pleasure in various ensembles and youth orchestras, in which ensembles in small and large forms were nurtured.

His ambition to play the string quartet, according to him 'the ultimate form of chamber music', was achieved after his studies at a professional level with the Matangi Quartet. He also enjoys orchestral performing, where he is challenged to use other skills.

Thanks to the National Musical Instruments Fund he is able to play a beautiful cello made by Jaap Bolink in 2005, which projects a fine resonant bass and expressive upper range.

Maria-Paula Majoor - Violin

Dancing and making music at the same time, this is what playing the violin is for Maria-Paula Majoor. When she started at the age of five she was especially attracted to the movements a violinist makes. Now, as a professional violinist, while playing a rhythm or melody, she still feels the magic of being able to 'dance' to it at the same time.

Maria-Paula is a professor of violin at the ArtEZ University of the Arts in Zwolle. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and at the Musikhochschule Freiburg. She continued her studies at the Dutch String Quartet Academy under the direction of Stefan Metz and was also taught by internationally renowned musicians, including members of the Amadeus Quartet.

Playing with Matangi feels like coming home to her. Since 1999 she has played as primarius together with her colleagues. ‘Just one look or a small gesture is enough for us to understand each other.’ In addition to her work with the Matangi Quartet, she plays with various ensembles, orchestras and instrumentalists.

Maria-Paula plays on a Hendrik Jacobs violin that was made available to her by the National Musical Instruments Fund. Her bow was made by Kees van Hemert.