Known for their musically refined and highly-energetic performances, the Flex Ensemble has been thrilling audiences in Europe and abroad since 2012 with programs ranging from classical and romantic piano quartet repertoire to modern presentations featuring new commissions by today’s preeminent composers as well as interdisciplinary collaborations with dance, theatre and the visual arts.

The Flex Ensemble’s dedication to the major piano quartet literature is complemented by their wish to enrich artists and audiences alike by commissioning new works. Their programs include world premieres by Márton Illés and Gérard Pesson. They collaborate with a wide range of distinguished artists such as Wolfgang Güttler (Kontrabass), Daniel Rowland (Violine), Oliver Wille (Violine), Albrecht Mayer (Oboe).

Flex is committed to enriching the audience’s experience through creative concert presentations and programs that draw listeners deeper into the music.  Outreach programs in schools and original music theatre programs for young audiences such as “Fairy tales Reloaded” also feature prominently in their work developing new audiences for concert music.

The group founded the annual Chamber Music Fest Rheinhessen in 2014 as well as the imPULS concert series in Hannover in 2016, and they continue to serve as artistic directors for both.

Winners of the Gianni Bergamo Classic Music Award 2015 in Lugano, the four musicians of the Flex Ensemble have quickly established themselves as one of the most vibrant ensembles of their generation. Within a year of their formation, the Flex Ensemble was awarded 1st prize at the International Schumann Chamber Music Award in Frankfurt in 2013, where they also received a special prize for their interpretation of the Schumann piano quartet. They are the recipient of awards and prizes at the Kiejstut Bacewicz International Chamber Music Competition in Lodz/Poland, the Premio Trio di Trieste/Italy, and the Solti Foundation in England.

Based on this success, the Flex Ensemble has appeared at venues such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Beijing Performing Arts Center, the Meistersingerhalle Nürnberg and Festivals such as the Festival de Musique de Menton, the Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, the Heidelberger Frühling, and the Prishtina International Music Festival. On many occasions their performances have been recorded and broadcast live on German Radio (SWR and NDR Kultur) and Dutch Radio (Radio 4).

In November 2014 their Debut CD ‘The Arrival of Night’ including works by Hartke, Brahms, and Piazzolla was released from GENUIN Classics. It has been reviewed as: ”What a Debut!” (RheinMain-Magazin) ”from elegant to elegiac, a wonderful harmonising ensemble” (hr2 Kultur), ”A good production that makes you want to hear more from the Flex Ensemble!” (Das Orchester) and ”Stunning! Truly, all three pieces on the CD received transcendent performances!” (Composer Stephen Hartke). Their second CD “Au Suivant”, including works by Ravel, Fauré and French Chansons, was released in March 2019 from the label Avi in cooperation with Deutschlandfunk Kultur.

The members of the Flex Ensemble studied at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, working extensively with Oliver Wille and Markus Becker. They had many inspiring masterclasses with Eberhard Feltz, Mark Gothoni, and Konrad Elser, to name a few. They are a scholar ensemble of Villa Musica, where they have worked with such influential mentors as Günther Pichler, the Artemis Quartett, and the Julliard String Quartet.

Our members

Kana Sugimura

violin

Anna Szulc-Kapala

viola

Martha Bijlsma

cello

Johannes Nies

piano

Dazu noch ein dramatisch-düsterer, aschfahler, trotziger Brahms, sein Klavierquartett in der „Schicksalstonart“ c-Moll, geschrieben in heißem Liebeskummer um Clara Schumann.

Udo Badelt, Tagesspiegel

Es war von den ersten Tönen klar, dass dieses Ensemble sich der musikalischer Perfektion annähert. Mühelos und subtil spielte das Flex Ensemble romantische Klavierquartette von Fauré und Brahms

De Schakel, Barendrecht