In the hot Italian summer of 1982, four young Dutch saxophonists started rehearsing in Via Aurelia in Rome, forming what would eventually become a truly sensational, pioneering chamber music ensemble – the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet. Since then, the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet has traveled the world, giving concerts from Suntory Hall in Tokyo to the Gewandhaus in Leipzig – not to mention the little church of Marken-Binnen in the Dutch province of Noord-Holland and a municipal centre in Oristano, Sardinia which smelt of beer! The quartet has also performed on radio and television in places ranging from Washington, DC to Tirana, Albania, on programs spanning the Emmeloord Patients’ Radio Network to TV Wolgograd.
THREE DECADES – During its impressive three decades in existence, the quartet has contributed greatly to the saxophone repertoire with critical acclaim. The group currently has nine CDs to its name, one of which won the prestigious Edison award, garnering international praise and setting a new standard for saxophone quartets the world over. On many of these recordings, listeners can hear the quartet’s own astounding and ambitious arrangements of string quartets by Ravel, Debussy, and Shostakovich as well as Bach’s The Art of Fugue, and the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. As champions of new music, the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet has given more than seventy world premieres of works by ter Veldhuis, Goldstein, Keuris, Andriessen and many others. The quartet has established the unique reputation of giving compositions the chance to grow by performing pieces frequently so that they are heard often. Today, their work continues to expand – pushing boundaries for their one great love: the saxophone quartet.
NEW LINE UP – In May 2000 Co-founder Andre Arends left the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet. The position has been ably filled by Niels Bijl since then. In 2013 founding members Johan van der Linden and Willem van Merwijk have decided to steer their focus towards their increase in personal projects, and have decided to leave the group. In Femke IJlstra (Soprano) and Juan Manuel Dominguez (Baritone) the quartet has found a solid way to build on the future of this ensemble.