Biography in English

Susanne van Els, Biography

Susanne van Els (viola) is recognized as one of the leading musicians in The Netherlands. She was awarded the Alcuinus Prize of the City of Nijmegen, The Netherlands in 1998, for her outstanding merits as a performing artist. An active soloist and chamber musician, Susanne van Els was (co)founder of the Ives Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam and Wendingen.
She was also a member of such former successful groups as String Trio Holland (winners of several chamber music competitions and recipients of the Second Prize in the International Chamber Music Competition Melbourne 1991) and the Giotto Ensemble.
Since 1991, she has been the violist of the Schönberg Ensemble, and she recently joined the newly founded New Amsterdam Peil.

Susanne van Els has premiered several new concertos written for her by composers such as Willem Jeths, Mayke Nas, and Ron Ford.
She gave the Dutch premiere of Ligeti’s solo viola sonata, which she subsequently recorded on CD for Harmonia Mundi - this CD was rewarded both the Deutscher Schalplattenpreis and the Diapason d'Or de l'annee 2009.
She has produced a series of remarkable solo CDs, including Waterworks (in combination with the DVD Zinc Garden) and her experimental Christmas CD. Sonata, created together with poet/actor Ramsey Nasr, features the Shostakovich sonata for viola and piano (Susanne van Els/Reinbert de Leeuw). Her CD To You contains stunning live performances of viola concertos and Faces is an intimate and expressive cd with Hindemith and Milhaud.

A multitude of composers, including Louis Andriessen, have written solo pieces for her. She soloed in a series of live broadcasted concerts in the Hindemith Year and appeared as a soloist in Klaas de Vries’ opera A King Riding.
She has performed in music theatre works with the theatre companies ZT Hollandiaand NT Gent. Her theatre activities include acting as well as being a musician on stage.

An inspired educator, Susanne van Els developed a course of music for University College Utrecht: Music in the Making, which is part of the performing arts curriculum of the College. She also leads a similar course for the Honours Programme of the Radboud University Nijmegen. She has worked with international music students at the Summer Academy of the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, gives viola and chamber music master classes, and often serves as a jury member for competitions.
Recently she also directed Shakespeare’s The Tempest, performed by students of the University College Utrecht.

Susanne van Els was graduated with distinction from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she studied with Ferdinand Erblich and Nobuko Imai.

Susanne van Els was a member of the Board of the National Fund for Composed Music, and is currently Chair of the advisory committees for composition of the Dutch Fund for the Creative Arts.
She is also a member of the selection committee for the National Culture Council. She served a period of four years on the local municipal council.

Susanne van Els plays a viola built by Carlo Antonio Testore, anno 1745.

Susanne is a mother of four.

translation: Monica Germino
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