Netherlands-Based RAGAZZE String Quartet To Make American Debut At National Sawdust

Netherlands-Based RAGAZZE String Quartet To Make American Debut At National SawdustThe Netherlands-based award-winning string quartet, RAGAZZE, makes its American debut on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at 4pm, as part of the National Sawdust's "Classical Sundays Series."

This innovative string quartet has been hailed in the Dutch press as "full of surprises and special discoveries" and "demonstrates all genres ... an absolute WOW..." Playing both classical and modern string quartet repertoire, they have made their mark among Dutch audiences offering attractive and unconventional programs embarking on collaborations with the most original voices in theater, dance and literature.

The program, "The Secret Diary of Nora Plain" is a song cycle that tells the intimate story of a girl who tries to lead her own life in a world that relentlessly encroaches on her innermost thoughts and feelings. The music tells a personal and heartbreaking narrative about the relationship between society, privacy, paranoia and eroticism.

"The Secret Diary of Nora Plain," was hailed in the Dutch press as, "it travelled through grainy post-rock, romantic chamber music, cinematic sound art, a tender love song, dark trip-hop and Led Zepplin-esque vocal outcries."

The Ragazze Quartet will be joined by the adventurous singer Nora Fischer and the unpredictable rhythms of a jazz drummer, Remco Menting. The lyrics are by Dutch singer-songwriter Lucky Fonz III, and the music by Morris Kliphuis. The ensemble is inspired by the song cycles of Franz Schubert as well as by the Juliet Letters by Elvis Costello and The Brodsky Quartet.

Classical Sundays is a National Sawdust curated series that handpicks innovative performers in the classical and new music scene. With renowned artists that perform composed works for both storied and vitally new, Classical Sundays keeps tradition alive while incubating the voices of now and the future.

General admission tickets, priced at $32.77, are available by going to the National Sawdust website at They are $34 at the door and seating is first come, first served. National Sawdust is located Brooklyn (Williamsburg) at 80 North 6th Street. The entrance is on Wythe Street. To phone, call 646.779.8455.


The Secret Diary of Nora Plain (teaser):

Rat in my Room (video by Bowie Verschuuren):

Here's My Arm (seen on Dutch TV show "Vrije Geluien"):

About the Artists

The Ragazze Quartet - Rosa Arnold and Jeanita Vriens, violins; Annemijn Bergkotte, viola; and Rebecca Wise, violoncello - plays both classical and modern string quartet repertoire: inspired and on the highest level. With attractive but unconventional programs the quartet has come to be one of the most fresh and leading voices in the world of classical music. In innovative programs it embarks on collaborations with the most original voices in theatre, dance and literature. With performances that speak to all senses they succeed in securing an audience for the rich classical music tradition. In this way they warm the hearts of both the diehard listener and the novice for the string quartet repertoire of the past and of our present day.

Ragazze is a permanent artist with CD label Channel Classics and has released no fewer than four CDs: Vivere, ?esko, FourFourThree and Spiegel. The CDs were commended by the (inter)national press. The Volkskrant wrote about ?esko; "Together they put down chords, as if their hands and arms are controlled by one single brain." FourFourThree was awarded the 'Editor's Choice' in Gramophone.

The Ragazze Quartet plays an average of ninety concerts a year in concert halls such as the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw aan't IJ in Amsterdam, but can also be seen in concert series throughout the Netherlands and on festivals such as Oerol on the island of Terschelling. Tours abroad have brought them to England, Sweden, China, Japan, Indonesia and the United States, among others.

Ragazze likes to join forces with young musicians and theatre makers just as with leading organizations such as National Dans Theater (NDT), the Kronos Quartet, Orkater and the Holland Festival. In addition, the quartet has taken over artistic leadership of chamber music festival September Me in Amersfoort. September Me transforms Amersfoort into the epicenter of trendsetting in classical music. Ragazze play and invite the newest generation of top artists that are not afraid of breaking with tradition.

The Ragazze Quartet was enrolled in the two-year full time course of the Dutch String Quartet Academy and graduated from it in 2011. In 2013 they won the Kersjes Prijs, a prize that is awarded on a yearly basis to extraordinary talent on the Dutch chamber music scene. In 2017 the Ragazze Quartet won the Operadagen Rotterdam Award for "...their quirky music-theatrical approach, their social engagement and the ease with which they dare to think outside the borders of their traditional expertise."

The Ragazze Quartet receives multiannual financial support from the Fonds Podiumkunsten and Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst. The National Muziekinstrumenten Fonds put Jeanita's violin and Annemijn's bow at their disposal. Furthermore the Ragazze own a set of classical bows made by Andreas Grütter through the support of the Stichting Eigen Muzikeinstrument.

Nora Fischer is challenging the way we listen to the voice. With her special interest in creative interpretations of classical works, the Amsterdam-based singer is renowned for her adventurous performance practice and innovative approach to live performance. Using her voice as a versatile instrument, her repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to the many compositions that have been written for her in the present day. Nora is passionate about new music and has worked closely with many of today's leading contemporary composers, including Louis Andriessen, Osvaldo Golijov, Steve Reich, David Lang, Michael van der Aa, and Nico Muhly. During the 2017/18 season, she performs in major concert halls across Europe for the ECHO Rising Stars Tour, nominated by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Brussels Bozar. IN September 2017, Nora signed with Universal Music, with her first album to be released on Deutsche Gramophone this year.

Nora's unique approach has taken her around the globe to perform in a wide-range of projects and venues, from the Philharmonie de Paris and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to the Lowlands Pop Festival or a mysterious forest at the Oerol Theatre Festival. She regularly takes part in contemporary operas; she worked with Dutch National Opera and Pierre Audi for the world premiere of Andriessen's "Theatre World," and gave the New York premiere of JacobTV's ever-developing reality opera "The News." Other recent collaborations also include performances with ensembles such as the L.A. Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Asko?Schönberg Ensemble and l'Arpeggiata. She regularly performs solo concerts and devises projects involving baroque, classical and contemporary vocal repertoire, ranging from traditional concert programs to genre-defying collaborations. She also frequently partners with a number of theatre companies in order to explore intersections between new music and theatre.

Born into a family with a rich musical tradition, Nora trained at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen, and holds a Masters in New Audiences and Innovative Practice from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. She also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Musicology and Philosophy, completed at the University of Amsterdam in 2009.

Remco Menting, from The Netherlands, is educated as a jazz drummer, and has developed himself as a versatile and creative percussionist with a great love for improvised music. On his unusual setups he plays along with a.o. jazz trio Kapok. At the moment he is working on a brand new project, for which he composes music based on Senegalese sabar rhythms.

The Ragazze Quartet (American Debut Concert)

with singer NORA FISCHER and jazz drummer REMCO MENTING

Perform the theatrical program "The Secret Diary of Nora Plain"

At Brooklyn's National Sawdust on Sunday, April 29 at 4pm (Classical Sundays Series)

Music by Morris Kliphuis; Libretto by Lucky Fonz III

"The Secret Diary of Nora Plain" a groundbreaking project with lyrics and music of our time!

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