Dutch tenor Marcel Beekman is much in demand as a soloist for baroque and classical repertoire as for contemporary concert and operatic works. He has appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestra of the 18 th Century, Les Arts Florissants, Musica Antiqua Köln and the ASKO|Schönberg under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, William Christie, Iván Fischer, Frans Brüggen, John Adams and Reinbert de Leeuw. Marcel Beekman has created new works by composers Micha Hamel, Elmer Schönberger, Roderik de Man and Calliope Tsoupaki. Marcel Beekman performs in the great international concert venues and in festivals such as the Holland Festival Amsterdam, Salzburg Easter Festival, Utrecht Ancient Music Festival, Nederlandse Muziekdagen, Bregenzer Festspiele, Festival de La Chaise-Dieu and Saito Kinen Festival Japan. A considerable list of CD recordings bears witness to his versatility.
Marcel Beekman’s operatic repertoire includes the roles of Berenice in L’Ipermestra [Cavalli], Valère in Les Indes Galantes [Rameau], Sénéchal and Pégase in L’Écume des jours [Denisov], Ricardo in Laika [Martijn Padding], the title role of Willem Breuker’s Jona, Laki Topalović in Maratonci [Žebeljan] and Arnalta in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea. His creation in the title role of Rameau’s Platée in the 2014 production with Les Arts Florissants and directed by Robert Carsen in Vienna, Paris and New York was highly acclaimed by the international press. Future appearances include the role of Maître de Musique in Campra’s Les Fêtes Vénitiennes at the Opéra Comique in Paris [with a revival in Toulouse and New York]; Damon in Les Sauvages [Rameau] in a special concert on the occasion of the opening of La Philharmonie de Paris; Le Cabaretier in Benvenuto Cellini [Berlioz] at the Netherlands National Opera and further new productions in Vienna, Los Angeles and Amsterdam.
BRISK, the ensemble’s name, is intended to convey an idea of liveliness and wakefulness. A critic once described the ensemble as providing “a coup de grâce for the recorder’s respectable image”. BRISK’s concerts exhibit variation of style and mood, virtuosity and light-heartedness in equal measure. The quartet always appear on stage with an enormous assembly of recorders. Since their founding in 1986, BRISK has given many concerts in important concert halls and festivals throughout Europe, in Bolivia, Canada and the USA. BRISK has recorded for radio and television both in the Netherlands and abroad, as well as recording over ten CDs that have been well received by both press and public.
Its daring programming of early music in combination with contemporary music is designed to expand the borders of the ensemble’s repertoire. Many composers have dedicated works to the quartet. BRISK works regularly with fellow musicians as well as with artists from other related disciplines such as actors, directors, librettists and film-makers.
BRISK made its name through lively performances of early music, the search for little-known repertoire, and for the many arrangements that the ensemble has made, which suit the style and tradition of the instrument. BRISK has collaborated with Amaryllis Dieltiens, Michael Chance, Marcel Beekman, Johannette Zomer, Maarten Koningsberger, the Egidius Kwartet, the Gesualdo Consort, Bernard Winsemius, Leo van Doeselaar, Rainer Zipperling, Mike Fentross and Camerata Trajectina amongst others.
The long list of composers that have written music for the quartet includes Martijn Padding, Kate Moore, Calliope Tsoupaki, Bart Visman, Klaas de Vries, Roderik de Man and many others.
New works are presented as a comment on or as a contrast to older works in BRISK’s programmes. There is also a large quantity of new music in BRISK’s programmes for younger audiences. BRISK regularly gives concerts in collaboration with specialists in contemporary music such as pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama, composer and improviser Guus Janssen, vocalist Greetje Bijma and percussionist Ramon Lormans.
BRISK has created a number of highly successful productions for children with directors David Prins, Jetse Batelaan, Marc Krone, Gienke Deuten and actors Porgy Franssen, Bart Kiene and Hans Thissen.
The quartet possesses a great variety of instruments; its extensive contacts with recorder makers throughout the world ensure that its collection is in a state of continual development. This variety of instruments enables the ensemble to perform works from the Renaissance and the Baroque as well as the 20th and 21st centuries in their correct tuning and with the correct timbre.
The fact that Josquin Desprez would turn out to be one of the most influential composers of the Renaissance, is partly due to the many praises by Martin Luther. Luther saw Josquin's music as the perfect example of how to express text musically while maintaining the intended meaning. If you listen to Josquin's music, you will know what Luther meant. His motets are particularly appealing and engaging.
His popularity led a large number of publishers to publish music with Josquin's name on it, even though it wasn't composed by him at all, as this would undoubtedly generate better sales. Unfortunately, this meant that nowadays it is not always clear which works are written by him, and which are not... His authentic works, however, can be distinguished by their remarkable clarity, ingenuity and depth. Some highlights are his motets Miserere mei, Stabat Mater, his famous Ave Maria, Ut Phoebi Radiis, and his lamentation after the death of Johannes Ockeghem (La Déploration).