Marmen Quartet Work With Jonathan Brown

With the ever-changing COVID restrictions on travel, planning for residencies and concerts in North America has been a continuous challenge so BISQC got creative! We were excited to find a solution to have a residency coaching opportunity held in Europe for the Marmen Quartet with Casals Quartet member Jonathon Brown.
In further news for the Quartet, they welcome cellist Sinéad O’Halloran and violinist Laia Braun to the group! They all relished the opportunity to work with Jonathon Brown earlier this month, an experience Johannes Marmen shares with us:

“We spent five days in the stunning and atmospheric old centre of Amsterdam. Our hotel was a twenty minute walk from our rehearsal space which meant we got to see the most beautiful parts of the city, both in the morning and at night. During our walks home late in the evening, we treasured the effect of the Christmas lights reflecting on the canal water.

Our rehearsal room was in a private home; a big, characterful and welcoming space. As is common in old Amsterdam houses, the wooden floors were tilting inwards towards the middle of the house to the extent that, depending on ones position in the room, it was important to choose a chair stable enough not to risk falling backwards.

The whole time we were wrapped up in our work, allowing ourselves time away from emails and social media etc. This kind of focus was very inspiring; at some level we were able to experience the patience, calm and serene creativity that’s so present at the Banff Centre.

Historically informed interpretation of music from the classical era like Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven is becoming more and more part of the status quo. Brahms, on the other hand, is late enough to sit in a sort of "no man’s land", where the historically informed approach hasn’t yet freed us from the expectations we might have of how this music could be played. We wanted to dive deeper into these waters and were convinced that a residency would be the perfect setting for exploratory - rather than results oriented - sessions. Brahms C minor quartet and F major quintet were on the repertoire menu, both pieces that we’ll be performing regularly in the upcoming season. We were very excited to partner up with violist Jonathan Brown of the Casals Quartet, who we feel has a deeply felt and highly informed (yet refreshingly unacademic perspective) on matters of historical performance. Jonathan has been a mentor on the sidelines to us for quite a few years. This project brought us together even more, for which we’re very grateful. 

It’s hard to imagine a more inspiring and exciting place to work than Banff, so we were initially reluctant to relocate this residency to Europe. Having tried to get to Banff on numerous occasions over the past two years to no avail, we felt like it was time to try a different route. The support we got from BISQC, both financial and personal, really made our Amsterdam project feel like a fully-fledged residency. Although we missed the incredible mountain views, the insane breakfast buffet, and the close proximity to the Banff team, we strongly feel that our Amsterdam residency was the next best thing to actually being there in Banff. That being said, we could not be more excited to return to BISQC in August 2022 for the alumni concert, we hope to see many of you there!

Merry Christmas from us!

Johannes, Laia, Bryony & Sinéad"

Five musicians stand together in a row smiling at the camera

From left to right: Bryony Gibson-Cornish, Johannes Marmen, Jonathon Brown, Sinéad O'Halloran, Laia Braun; photo by Michiel ter Horst.