About Amstel Quartet
Amstel Quartet is a saxophone quartet from Amsterdam with an irreverent approach to programming, and a group sound refined over the ensemble’s 25-year history. Praised for their expressivity in a wide range of musical styles, their acclaimed performances and recordings highlight both the versatility of the saxophone and this ensemble’s unique ability to communicate with audiences in a variety of musical languages.
Much of Amstel Quartet’s work involves collaborating with living composers, and in recent years the group has premiered works by Christian Lauba, Hugues DuFourt, Maxim Shalygin, Michael Torke, Meredith Monk, Anthony Fiumara, and many others. In their work together, they help composers uncover unique sonic and musical possibilities for the saxophone quartet, often resulting in virtuosic and brilliant new pieces in Amstel’s repertoire.
The Amstel Quartet also expands their group sound with the use of the Akai EWI synthesizer, an ‘electronic saxophone’ capable of a huge variety of sounds and effects. They have used the EWI in performing works by Phillip Glass, adapting existing pieces, and premiering the very first EWI quartet piece, by German composer Christian Biegai.
Amstel’s repertoire, greatly expanded by the quartet members’ own arrangements, ranges from Renaissance and Baroque up through to the music of the 21st century, encompassing both traditional concert music along with electronic music, Arabic songs, French Chanson, Film music, and popular styles. Few other chamber ensembles can claim Kraftwerk, Mozart, Andriessen, and Edith Piaf all as part of their repertoire, but regardless of the genre, the Amstels imbue all of their interpretations with a sense of authenticity and craft.
The group has performed in such renowned venues as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Philharmonie in Luxembourg and Carnegie Hall in New York, and has also toured extensively around the world in Europe, the UK, Russia, the Middle East, China, Japan, Canada and the United States. Amstel has won several international awards including The Concert Artists Guild Management Award, the Kersjes Prize and the Gaudeamus International Interpreters prize.
Amstel Quartet has released 12 CD’s, the most recent of which is dedicated to the work of Latvian neo-classical composer Georges Pelecis, and was praised by Luister magazine for its ‘sublime performance’.