Dudok Quartet are: Judith van Driel, Marleen Wester (violins), Marie-Louise de Jong (viola) and David Faber (cello).
Judith van Driel is the interviewee
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
My sister, who is ten years older then me, played the violin, so when I was three years old, I started imitating her. I finally got my first violin when I was almost six, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to become a violinist.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
The most important influence for my musical life is the Ricciotti Ensemble. This is a Dutch street symphony orchestra that plays for audiences that aren’t used to hearing live (classical) music. With this orchestra I played in prisons, hospitals, for refugees or just anywhere on the street. Here I learned about the power of music and how music can affect and even change people. With the Dudok Quartet Amsterdam we carry these memories with us and we aim to share the heart of music with as many people as possible.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
We have done a lot of competitions. When you get far in a competition, it’s very rewarding, but it’s also very stressful. But maybe the greatest challenge lies in telling a convincing story through music… in every concert. This is an ongoing challenge that costs a lot of energy, but gives so much energy in return.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
There is not a specific concert that I am particularly proud of. The biggest compliment I can get as a string quartet player, is when people say they are sincerely moved by the music and they will remember our playing.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
We are very fond of playing Ligeti, both of his string quartets are masterpieces. But, since we just have recorded all the Opus 20 quartets by Haydn, we also feel his music has become a very natural language for us.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
Our programmes are based on one ‘fundamental’, a masterpiece by one of the great composers. In the past few years we chose Mendelssohn opus 80 and Beethoven opus 130, this season the Haydn opus 20 quartets are the fundamental. Around this masterpiece we choose the rest of our repertoire.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Of course the Concertgebouw [Amsterdam] is a fantastic venue to play. But sometimes we play in a small church in Jisp and suddenly the atmosphere is so special. Every concert can be a special one.
Who are your favourite musicians?
I love the Quatuor Ebène. These musicians are so dedicated and they play with so much passion. But my teacher at the Dutch String Quartet Academy, is also one of my favourites.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
I couldn’t say, there are so many!
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Success, in my opinion, is not about playing in famous halls or being recognised on the street. The reason I play is that I want to share my love for music with my audience. Music is a way to show people how beautiful life can be, and I am very thankful that I can share this.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Making music is not about being the best, it’s all about sharing something very personal and beautiful with others. If this is your main goal, music will make you happy and enables you to make other people happy with it.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Where I am now, just a bit older and more experienced 🙂
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Listening to Beethoven, any of his quartets
What is your most treasured possession?
My new classical bow, made by Luis Emilio Rodriguez Carrington
What is your present state of mind?
A bit tired (lots of work!) but very happy
Dudok Quartet Amsterdam’s new disc of Haydn Opus 20 Quartets, Vol 1 is released on Resonus Classics on 27 September 2019