When one thinks of a harpist, presumably images of delicately strumming nymphs with long blonde hair will pop up. But now there is Remy van Kesteren. He has won international awards, reached 500,000 visitors during the Night of the Proms and taken on numerous ambitious projects, including a collaboration with the famous ballet choreographer, Hans van Manen, in 2014. At the age of five, he was lured off the swing by a mysterious sound from an open window – the sound of the harp. Aged ten, Remy van Kesteren entered the Conservatory of Utrecht and before he had finished his studies with the highest distinction, he could already look back on two successful editions of his own Dutch Harp Festival. Remy attributes his rapidly developing career to his former teacher, Erika Waardenburg, the purveyor of the Dutch harp scene. He does not feel bound to ‘prevailing ideas’ about the harp.
Remy van Kesteren (1989) is regarded as a world-class harp talent and one of the most adventurous harpists of the moment. At the age of ten he was admitted to the Conservatory of Utrecht in the class of Erika Waardenburg where he graduated with the highest distinction in 2010. He pursued his studies at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he worked with the famous harpist, Isabelle Moretti. Last year he received his master diploma ‘summa cum laude’ at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
Remy van Kesteren is only 23, but has already won numerous prizes. He recently received the Elisabeth Everts prize, a prize for exceptional young talent in the Netherlands. He has won first prizes at the Dutch Harp Competition and the Princess Christina Competition. In 2008 he achieved a third prize at the International Harp Competition in Moscow and in 2009, third prize at the prestigious International Harp Competition in Israel. He was also proclaimed as Dutch Music Talent of 2009. In October last year, he toured through the country as a laureate of Dutch Classical Talent, a stimulating project of the Royal Concertgebouw and Radio 4, the final of which will take place on April 21, 2013 in the Concertgebouw.
His many prizes have resulted in worldwide concerts, from Europe to the US and Africa. He made his debut in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam at the early age of sixteen with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra. The preceding year he played at the baptism of Princess Amalia and also at Carnegie Hall, New York. In 2011, he was Young Artist in Residence at the NJO Muziekzomer in Gelderland. At the end of 2012, Remy toured through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany in the famous ‘Night of the Proms’ concert tour. As its only classical artist he performed alongside celebrated pop artists such as Anastacia and legendary group, The Jacksons. 500,000 visitors were captivated by his performance of Smetana’s The Moldau. According to the Proms organization, Remy has “the courage, the looks and the craftsmanship to raise attention for a unique instrument, that was never before seen in the spotlights of the Proms”. Remy was “the most beautiful surprise of the evening”, said the Belgian newspaper De Morgen (The Morning).
In 2012, he issued his first solo-cd, ‘Remy’, with works by Smetana, Holliger, Bach, Shostakovich and Renié. He developed himself as “an amazing colourist” and “a marvellous storyteller”, who “continually forces you to listen very carefully”, according to the Dutch press.
At twenty, he founded the Dutch Harp Festival, of which two successful editions have taken place in Utrecht in 2010 and 2012. Under his artistic direction the Festival will be held for the third time in February 2014, with prominent artists such as writer/poet Kees van Kooten, soprano Claron McFadden and choreographer Hans van Manen. Additionally, van Manen has invited Remy to work with him on a new ballet that will have its world première in the spring of 2014 with the Dutch National Ballet.
Remy van Kesteren is a regular guest on Dutch radio and TV. He has performed and guested in popular talkshows, news shows and classical music programs like De Wereld Draait Door, VPRO’s Vrije Geluiden, GIEL on pop station 3FM, De Tiende van Tijl, Met het Oog op Morgen, TROS Nieuwsshow on Radio 1, NTR’s Diskotabel and KRO’S De Ochtend van Vier.
“In two years the tickets for harpist Remy van Kesteren will be unaffordable. […] He is 23 years old and busy putting the world in his pocket. With beautiful music, his skilled hands and his sympathetic and enthusiastic personality.”
Marjolijn Sengers, Eindhovens Dagblad
“Remy van Kesteren is both musically, as well as technically, an exceptional musician.”
Jaap van Zweden, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of the Year
“A true revolution in the harp world.”
Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, De Wereld Draait Door
“Van Kesteren is an amazing colourist: he knows how to give every voice his own timbre and shows he is […] a marvellous storyteller.”
Frits van der Waa, de Volkskrant
“An outstanding musician with his heart in the right place, callouses on the fingers and an enormous dynamism.”
Peter van der Lint, Trouw
“Remy van Kesteren is regarded as one of the most adventurous harpists of this moment.”
Mark van de Voort, VPRO Gids
“Remy van Kesteren is a musician who sings with his harp, gets the most beautiful colours from his strings and tells stories with his instrument. The harp is not a purpose with him, but a means. You feel it with every note.”
Oswin Schneeweisz, Klassieke Zaken
“A young man with a big heart for his instrument, who does not care for genres and preconceptions. […] And every time van Kesteren continually forces you to listen very carefully.”
Paul Janssen, Luister
“Remy van Kesteren is a harp talent of world-class.”
Esther Wouters, Akkoord Magazine
Text by Tia Schutrups. With thanks to Guido van Oorschot, de Volkskrant
Remy established trio42 with two other young musicians: a combination of harp, violin and saxophone, which is unique in chamber music. They have given performances at festivals including the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam, Zeister Musicdays and in Janine Jansen’s International Chamber Music Festival.
Besides his activities as a musician, Remy van Kesteren is the founder and artistic director of the Dutch Harp Festival, which has grown to become the largest competition of its kind in the world, with its second edition in 2012.
Read more about trio42 online: http://www.trio42.nl