Soprano Sabra El Bahri Khatri, violinist Emma Roijackers and harpist Joost Willemze have been nominated for the Grachtenfestival Prize 2023. During 'The Evening of the GrachtenfestivalPrijs' in the Winter Garden of Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, the winner will be announced.
An expert jury, consisting of Frederike Berntsen (music journalist), Judith van Wanroij (soprano and former winner of the Grachtenfestival Prize) and Jeroen Smits (programmer at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven), nominates young musicians who excel in their field. As an important career incentive, the nomination is a prize in itself. The jury follows the nominees for a season and hands out the prize to the most outstanding candidate. The winner receives carte blanche to put together a multifaceted program as Artist in Residence during the next Grachtenfestival. All nominees will introduce themselves once again on this evening; host is NPO Classical presenter Ab Nieuwdorp.
M. Grandjany (1891-1975): Rhapsodie
P. Patterson (*1947): from 'Spiders' II. The Red Backed Spider and IV. Tarantula
P. Stickney (*1969): The Dirty Laundry Rag
Joost Willemze, harp
T. Ambroise (1811-1869): ´À vos jeux mes amis’
Sabra El Bahri Khatri, soprano and Caspar Vos, piano
S. Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Trio élégiaque no. 1 in G minor
Emma Roijackers, violin; Caspar Vos, piano; Rainer Crosett, cello
N. Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908): The rose and the nightingale
C. Debussy (1862-1918): Beau Soir
Sabra El Bahri Khatri, soprano; Emma Roijackers, violin; Joost Willemze, harp
Past winners have included: pianist Nikola Meeuwsen (2022), cellist Alexander Warenberg (2021) and violinist Shin Sihan (2020). Many winners have gone on to major (inter)national careers after winning the prize, including baritone Raoul Steffani (2018), cellist Ella van Poucke (2017), harpist Remy van Kesteren (2013) and mezzo-soprano Karin Strobos (2011).
Sabra El Bahri Khatri, soprano
Sabra El Bahri-Khatri is active as a soprano in classical music and jazz as well as musical theatre throughout Europe and has been nominated for the GrachtenfestivalPrijs 2023. She started out as a classical guitarist, but refocused on vocal practice after ten years. With guidance from her teacher, she quickly developed and secured a place as a soloist in several Belgian choirs. Earning a master's degree in music at the Tilburg conservatory resulted in several interdisciplinary collaborations with mixed media and dancers. During and after her studies, Sabra gave many solo concerts, as well as TV and radio appearances. For instance, she participated as a soloist with Cappella Amsterdam and sang several times on NPO and Podium Witteman (now Podium Klassiek).
Sabra played major roles such as the "Eufrates" from World Opera Lab's opera "Va pensiero", "Maria" from Opera Spanga's opera "After the flood" and "the girl" or Little Red Riding Hood in the opera "The girl, the hunter and the wolf" by LOD and the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Sabra considers it important to be open-minded and innovative in her music. Any musical challenge that piques the musician's interest should be approached with discipline and focus, without preconceptions and expectations of results. The process, according to Sabra, is ultimately what makes a true artist.
Emma Roijackers, violin
Emma Roijackers is active as a chamber musician, soloist and concertmaster, performing in all the leading concert venues in the Netherlands. Emma began her violin lessons with Evert Sillem and later at the young talent department of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Lex Korff de Gidts. She continued her studies with Ilya Grubert at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and graduated with a 10. Emma received full funding from Dutch funds to continue her studies with Lukas Hagen at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where she completed her Post-graduate diploma in 2020.
Further inspiration comes from lessons and master classes with world-renowned violinists and musicians such as Leonidas Kavakos, Jaap van Zweden, Christoph Poppen, Gerhard Schultz, Schlomo Mintz, Schmuel Ashkenasi, Zakhar Bron and Ray Chen. Emma has won several prizes. At the Oskar Back competition 2022, she received 2nd prize, the audience award and the prize for the best performance of the modern work. She won 1st prize at the international competition "Luigi Zanuccoli" in Italy and 3rd prize at the international Emmanuel Durlet competition in Belgium. In recent seasons, Emma has soloed with orchestra in concertos by Brahms, Bach, Bruch and Hartmann.
Emma plays on a violin built by Giovanni Grancino (1700-1705, Milan), made available by an anonymous benefactor.
Joost Willemze, harp
Joost Willemze (born 1996) is one of the greatest Dutch harp talents. He has been a prize winner at several national and international competitions, including the International Harp Competition in Wales, the Gershwin Competition in New York, the Concours Godefroid in Tournai and the Korea International Harp Competition; he won the international harp competition in Porto in 2017 and the Italian competition Suoni d'Arpa in 2018, and won prizes at the Princess Christina Competition. In early 2022, he recorded his debut CD with AVROTROS Klassiek. In 2022/2023, Joost was selected as a finalist of Dutch Classical Talent. Joost became a student at the Academy of Musical Talent in 2008, where he studied with Erika Waardenburg and Edward Witsenburg. In September 2021, he received his master's degree with an outstanding rating from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He gave many concerts in Italy, Spain and Brazil, among others, and is a regular guest on radio and television programs. Joost was featured on television as a soloist with the Netherlands Youth Orchestra at the Kinderprinsengrachtconcert in 2010. In May 2013, he was one of four finalists in the NTR program ‘The Night of the Young Musician’ where he performed solo with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. As an orchestral musician, Joost played in the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, as well as as a substitute with the Nederlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Caspar Vos, piano
Caspar Vos (1988) started his piano education with Frank Peters at the Artez Conservatory in Arnhem. He continued his studies with Jan Wijn at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he concluded his Master studies in 2014 with the Highest Distinction. Caspar has competed successfully in numerous national and international competitions, including the Grand Dominique Competition in the Netherlands, the 18th International Piano Competition Jean Francaix, and the 8th International Mayenne Piano Competition in France. In 2017, Caspar received the Dutch Classical Talent Audience Award. He performed as a soloist and is a passionate chamber music player and has been heard on festivals such as the International Chamber Music Festival Schiermonnikoog, the Aurora Festival in Sweden, the International Medtner Festival in London, and Verão Clássico in Lisbon.
In February 2018 Caspar’s debut-album ‘Ego’ with works by Nikolai Medtner was released by 7MNTN Records and received with critical acclaim. His second cd ‘Restart’ was released in 2019. Caspar followed masterclasses with internationally renowned pianists like Dimitri Bashkirov, Matti Raekallio, Pascal Devoyon, Nikolai Lugansky and many others. Caspar has been invited to teach at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Besides performing and teaching, Caspar is also the director of the Schiermonnikoog Festival.
Rainer Crosett, cello
Cellist Rainer Crosett is quickly building an international career as an artist of uncommon sensitivity and creativity. From his Wigmore Hall recital debut in 2019 as the first American cellist ever to win the Pierre Fournier Award, to his Spring 2023 concerto debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, he regularly appears as a soloist and chamber musician on many of the most renowned stages throughout Europe and North America. Praised as an artist of “assurance, substance, and conviction” by Ralph Kirshbaum, Rainer’s passion for the many ways music relates to other fields continues to yield boundary-breaking interdisciplinary projects and programs. A highlight of his 2022-2023 season was leading an exploration of the relationship between poetic language & forms and music, which culminated in a residency at Harvard. As a chamber musician, Rainer has performed at festivals including Yellow Barn, Ravinia, Romsey Chamber Music Festival, Trondheim kammermusikkfestival, and Prussia Cove. He has worked closely with leading composers including Jörg Widmann, and performed with ensembles such as the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. A graduate of Harvard College, New England Conservatory, and the USC Thornton School of Music, he is currently finishing studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Jens Peter Maintz.