Bram van Sambeek (1980) was the first bassoonist ever to receive the highest Dutch Cultural Award in 30 years: The Dutch Music Prize, handed out to him personally by Minister of Culture Ronald Plasterk in 2009. On this occasion, Bram played the bassoon concerto by Gubaidulina with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and chief conductor Seguin. De Telegraaf newspaper wrote about this performance: “He uses his instrument freely as a mouthpiece, conjures the finest timbres, and is technically capable of doing anything.” In 2011 he won a Borletti Buitoni Trust Award, and he has been admitted to The Chamber Music Society Two programme of New York’s Lincoln Center.
Bram van Sambeek performs regularly as a soloist with orchestras such as the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, The Gothenborg Symphony, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Oulu Symphony, and the South Netherlands Philharmonic. Many composers, such as Vanessa Lann and Sebastian Fagerlund, have written concertos for him.
He played regularly as a Guest Principal with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician he has worked regularly with Alexei Ogrintchouk, Jörg Widmann, Reto Bieri, Clara Andradas de la Calle, Hervé Joulain, Radovan Vlatkovich, Liza Ferschtman, Christoph Pregardien, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicolas Altstaedt and Rick Stotijn. In 2010 Bram was offered a Carte Blanche series in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and in 2015 he received a “Wild Card” consisting of many adventurous concerts at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, also in Amsterdam. He is a regular guest at festivals like the Delft Chamber Music Festival, Storioni Festival, Orlando Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and has investigated concert practice in cooperation with Radio Kootwijk Live, experimenting with innovations such as playing people to sleep.
Bram decided to start playing the bassoon when he was ten years old, beginning his studies with Fred Gaasterland and continuing later with Joep Terwey and Johan Steinmann at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. After his graduation, he took private lessons with Gustavo Núñez. In addition, he has participated in masterclasses with Brian Pollard and two of the most important bassoon soloists in the world: Klaus Thunemann and Sergio Azzolini. Bram also plays on a very special bassoon, an instrument that has been played for many years by both these musicians.
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