Kuijken String Quartet


Since 1999, two generations of Kuijkens have regularly recorded, using modern instruments, chamber music programmes that are very dear to them: after Debussy (Sonatas and String Quartet – CD Arcana) and Schumann (String Quartets – CD Arcana), now it is Beethoven’s turn.

first generation: WIELAND KUIJKEN

Wieland Kuijken (1938) obtained a Higher Certificate in cello at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in 1959. Even while studying, he began to teach himself to play viola da gamba and 17th and 18th century performance practice. As a cellist, he was involved in the “Musiques Nouvelles” Ensemble in Brussels around P. Bartholomée and H. Pousseur until the late seventies, performing avantgarde music”. He was a gambist with the Alarius-Ensemble (Brussels) from 1959 to 1972; starting in the late 1960s he often worked together with other well-known Baroque specialists (among them Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Bru?ggen, Alfred Deller) – but especially with his two brothers Barthold and Sigiswald and harpsichordist Robert Kohnen. Wieland Kuijken is much sought after as a teacher (Conservatories of The Hague and Brussels from the 1970s till 2003; many years of teaching masterclasses in Innsbruck, as well as the USA and Japan). As a cellist, he is known for his interpretation of Bach’s solo suites. He also occasionally works as a conductor in various projects both in Europe and abroad.


Sigiswald Kuijken was born near Brussels in 1944. He studied violin at the Conservatories of Bruges and Brussels, completing his studies with Maurice Raskin in 1964. He first came in touch with early music at a very young age, together with his brother Wieland; he used self-study to familiarise himself with the specific 17th and 18th century performing techniques and interpretation conventions. As a result, in 1969 he introduced the more authentic Baroque style of playing violin in which the instrument is not held under the chin, but merely rests against the neck; this has a decisive influence on the approach to violin music, and the technique has indeed been adopted by many musicians since the early 1970s. From 1964 to 1972 Sigiswald Kuijken was a member of the Alarius-Ensemble of Brussels (with Wieland Kuijken, Robert Kohnen and Janine Rubinlicht), which performed all over Europe and the USA; as a member of the “Musiques Nouvelles”- Ensemble like his brother Wieland, he performed a lot of avantgarde music and a choice of 20th century repertory (from Schönbergs “Pierrot Lunaire” to Boulez’ “Le Marteau sans Maître”) between approximately 1965 and the late seventies

Marleen Thiers
(born in 1945) studied with Arthur Grumiaux and Maurice Raskin at the Conservatory of Brussels. Just like her husband, Sigiswald Kuijken, she immediately showed a special penchant for period instruments and performance practice. She plays first viola in La Petite Bande and is a cofounder and viola player with the two generations Kuijken.

second generation:
Sara Kuijken
Sara Kuijken (1968) studied viola at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels under Professor E. Schiffer, where she obtained a 1st prize in 1989 and in 1992 the Higher Certificate magna cum laude. She then continued her studies at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam with Professor J. Kussmaul, where she obtained a degree as a performing musician in 1995. In 1993 she was laureate of the Juventus festival in Arcet- Senans (France) and she followed master classes with Professor A.S. Dogadin at the State Conservatory of St. Petersburg (Russia). In that year, together with seven other musicians, she founded the Oxalys chamber music ensemble, in which she played viola and served as artistic director until 1998. This ensemble released two CDs, the first with impressionist, the second with contemporary Russian chamber music. Her father Sigiswald Kuijken gave her some baroque violin instruction in 1994. She is a regular participant in La Petite Bande. 


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