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03 September 2021
"Ella van Poucke offers with great generosity the pure and tight lyricism of the German composer."Sonograma, 29-9-2021
Ella van Poucke. Winner of the prestigious Premio Chigiana 2017 and recently awarded the Grachtenfestival Prize, the 27 year old Dutch cellist belongs to the top rank of today's generation of cellists.
She is the first prize winner of the International Isang Yun cello competition 2015, the Leopoldinum Award 2015, Prix Nicolas Firmenich 2013, Elisabeth Everts Award 2014, Prix Academie Maurice Ravel 2012, Dutch Musician of the Year 2012, first prize winner of the 2008 Princess Christina Competition and recipient of the special prize in “recognition of an outstanding performance at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann 2014.
Schumann composed his Cello Concerto in about two weeks during November 1850. Before Schumann, few major composers had written cello concertos. Schumann avoids technical display for its own sake, allowing his characteristic poetic expression, intimacy and fantasy to prevail.
Schumann originally scored the Fantasiestücke Opus 73 (1849) for clarinet and piano but simultaneously provided alternative arrangements for violin or cello. In his choice of clarinet Schumann was typically innovative. The three pieces are melodically interrelated, creating a unity underlined by the absence of breaks between them.
Schumann's Adagio and Allegro in A flat major, Opus 70 dates from a week after the Fantasiestucke Opus 73. He originally intended his Opus 70 for the new valve horn, though he named cello, violin or viola as alternative instruments. The piece is fully characteristic of Schumann's Romantic spirit. The expansive and dreamily romantic Adagio gives way to an Allegro with a leaping, joyful main theme.
Just as Schumann had wanted “popular elements” to prevail in his Rhenish Symphony (1850), the Fünf stücke im Volkston (1849) are correspondingly simple, tuneful and accessible. Nevertheless Schumann's creative imagination and wide expressive range are no less apparent.
Ella van Poucke, born in Amsterdam in 1994, is one of the leading cellists of her generation.
Winner of the prestigious Premio Chigiana 2017 and recently awarded the Grachtenfestival Prize, the 26 year old Dutch cellist belongs to the top rank of today's generation of cellists. She is the first prize winner of the International Isang Yun cello competition 2015, the Leopoldinum Award 2015, Prix Nicolas Firmenich 2013, Elisabeth Everts Award 2014, Prix Academie Maurice Ravel 2012, Dutch Musician of the Year 2012, first prize winner of the 2008 Princess Christina Competition and recipient of the special prize in “recognition of an outstanding performance at the Grand Prix Emanuel Feuermann 2014.
After making her debut at the Concertgebouw at the age of 10 she has been performing in all the major halls of the Netherlands, in many top halls in Europe and in the U.S and Asia.
As a soloist Ella has performed with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, HR-Sinfonie Orchester, Brussels Philharmonic, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Rotterdam Philharmonic Strings, Orchestre della Toscana, Varsovia Chamber Orchestra, Symfonie Orchestra of Vlaanderen Polish Chamber Orchestra, Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, Junge Sinfonie Berlin, Hamburger Camerata, Tongyeong Festival Orchestra and collaborated with artists as Michael Sanderling and Christoph Eschenbach among others.
In November 2012 she premiered a new cello concerto, which was written for her by the Finnish composer Uljas Pulkkis during the International Cello Biennale in Amsterdam. In September 2013 she premiered the same work in Germany at the Kronberg Festival, with members of the HR-Sinfonie Orchester Frankfurt.
Ella regularly appears on Dutch Radio and Television and has performed for ARTE TV in Germany and France. She appeared in Germany's "Stars von Morgen" hosted by Rolando Villazon.
As a passionate chamber musician Ella has performed with Andras Schiff, Gary Hoffman, Nobuko Imai, Tabea Zimmermann, Christian Tetzlaff, Viviane Hagner, Lawrence Power, Gidon Kremer, Colin Carr, Matthias Schorn, Pavel Vernikov, Andreas Reiner, Vilde Frang, Simone Lamsma, Christiaan Bor, Philippe Graffin, Prazak quartet, Schumann quartett among many others. She regularly performs in recital with pianist Jean-Claude vanden Eynden and with her brother Nicolas van Poucke.
She has been guest in numerous international festivals such as Festspiele Mecklenburg Vorpommern, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Krzyzowa Music, Chigiana International Festival, Kaposfest Hungary, Internationaal Kamermuziek Festival Utrecht, Grachten Festival Amsterdam, Kronberg Festival, Cello Biennale Amsterdam and was invited to participate in Verbier Festival Academy in 2009, 2013 and 2014.
She is a regular member of the Amsterdam Chamber Music Society and is the artistic director of the Chamber Music Festival Amsterdam which she and her brother, pianist Nicolas founded in 2010.
As a Dutch 'Rising Star' Ella was invited to give two Carte Blanche concerts in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in 2013-14. In the summer of 2017 she was Artist in Residence with the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and in August 2018 Ella was Artist in Residence of the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam.
Highlights from her future engagements include solo appearances with the North Netherlands Orchestra, Havana Youth Orchestra, Gelders Orkest and Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn. One of next seasons major projects include performing all the works for cello and piano by Beethoven in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam together with her brother Nicolas among other venues. Another major project will be the recording of the complete works for cello by Schumann.
Born into a family of musicians, Ella began playing the cello at the age of six. Entered the Royal Conservatory of The Hague at the age of 10 and later continued her studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Godfried Hoogeveen.
She has taken masterclasses and worked with Andras Schiff, Miklos Perenyi, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Yuri Bashmet, Steven Isserlis, Menahem Pressler, Laurence Lesser, Anner Bijlsma, Bernard Greenhouse, Mischa Maisky, the Emerson Quartet among others.
From 2009-2016 Ella studied with professor Frans Helmerson at the Kronberg Academy Masters in Germany. Her studies were funded by the von Opel/Schaefer Stipendium. From 2016-2019 she was an Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels, where she studied with Gary Hoffman.
Ella plays on a 1620 Maggini cello, kindly lend to her by a anonymous benefactor.
Ella van Poucke offers with great generosity the pure and tight lyricism of the German composer.
Van Pouck plays beautifully. In the Finale, van Pouck and company are exciting. The recorded sound is excellent. In the chamber pieces, the balance between the instruments is very fine and van Pouck’s cello exhibits a well-rounded sonority with a close-in perspective. If you are looking for the “complete” Schumann works for cello, this is a good choice.
Fanfare Magazine, 01-3-2022
Freedom mixed with tenderness, transparency, the most evolved and refined classicism of Ella Van Poucke is nevertheless worth the detour.
Ella van Poucke and the pianist Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden play with authentic chamber music sensibility and they capture this poetic intensity very well.
Classic Voice, 01-2-2022
There have been numerous recordings of this lovely music over the years, but this one is well worth considering.
American Record Guide, 15-12-2021
A richly successful Schumann album
Hard work and a little luck
This is an impressive debut album from a soloist whose performances I look forward to hearing more of in the future.
She has emerged thriumphant in an impresive list of competitions
She conjures a beautiful, song-rich, honey-like tone from her instrument, which is sweet and bitter at the same time, striking the composer's tormented romantic personality at the heart.
Het Parool, 14-10-2021
It suits her perfectly: Schumann's enchanting fantasy world, the romantic but light touch, the cantabile playing and, somewhat to my surprise, she received convincing support from the Phion in the Cello Concerto [...] No wonder that the conclusion can only be that it has become a wonderful album...
Opus Klassiek, 01-10-2021
In the Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 and the delightful 5 Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102 they explore diverse atmospheres and moods with apparent playful ease and without unnecessary frills. This is music to listen to carefully, because it veils its great depth with modesty – like the slow second piece of opus 102: fairytale beauty that takes your breath away.