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.