The festival

The world's largest string quartet festival.

Every two years the String Quartet Biennale brings together string quartets, composers and artists from around the globe. Their rich and diverse backgrounds help mould this dynamic and innovative festival consisting of eight days in the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam packed with over sixty concerts, talks, masterclasses and a lively fringe programme featuring 30 string quartets, soloists, composers and speakers.

SQBA was launched in 2018 and is the biggest string quartet festival in the world. 

Every edition presents a diverse and exciting line-up: Emerson String Quartet, Hagen Quartett, Belcea Quartet, Danish String Quartet, Cuarteto Casals, Doric String Quartet, Quartetto di Cremona, Ragazze Quartet, Quatuor Danel, Calder Quartet, Borusan Quartet and many, many others. We’ve commissioned world premieres by Jörg Widmann, Osvaldo Goljov, Jonathan Dove, Mathilde Wantenaar, Joey Roukens and many more.

As we move towards our 4th edition in 2024, we remain committed to our pursuit of uniting string quartets, music lovers and professionals from around the world. We love working with commissioning partners, creating new innovative formats and expanding audiences, particularly through projects with our partners Leerorkest, Koninklijke Visio and MERITA.

SQBA is a registered nonprofit. Alongside the support we receive from Gemeente Amsterdam (AFK) and Dutch Performing Arts Foundation (FPK) and various charitable trusts and foundations, we also receive income from ticket sales and co-commissioning partners and from sponsorship. We are especially grateful for the generous support we receive from our Founders and individual donors. 

Care to help us realise the festival? Read about the many ways in which you can contribute to the Biennale:

Support the festival
 

Mission & Vision

MISSION
We hold the view that the string quartet exists for everybody to enjoy, regardless of identity or background. The String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam has the goal of inspiring as large and diverse a public as possible to experience and become acquainted with the string quartet in all its facets.

VISION
Held every two years, our large-scale international festival gives musicians, devotees and curious newcomers the opportunity to experience the string quartet as a contemporary and vital art form. We do not limit our vision to the genre’s rich past, but give a prominent place to current developments, crossovers and innovation. In this way we give space to the rich breadth of the string quartet repertoire, featuring a diverse, world-class line-up and developing non-traditional forms of presentation. In this context crucial aspects include scouting, presenting and developing young talent both at home and abroad, commissioning new compositions and creating opportunities for collaborations with makers from other disciplines. In all that we do, we strive to achieve the greatest possible diversity.

 

Team

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR / PROGRAMMER

Yasmin Hilberdink

Programmer

Frederike Berntsen

DIRECTOR OF FINANCES

Jaap Hülsmann

PROJECT LEAD & PRODUCTION

Leana Furman

SQBA RESIDENCY

Elisabeth Gierveld

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Zoë Harriford-McLaren

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
Ellen Bijsterbosch
finance@sqba.nl

PUBLIC RELATIONS & PRESS
Marjolein van Ruiten
press@sqba.nl

PRODUCTIONLEAD
Marit Nijhuis
production@sqba.nl

 

Board

SUPERVISORY BOARD
Saskia Reuling (chairwoman)
Michael Kembel (treasurer)
Diana van Everdingen (secretary)
Piet Boogert
Marijke Evers
Leo Samama

STRING QUARTET BIENNALE FOUNDATION BOARD
Riemke thoe Schwartzenberg-Manger Cats (chairwoman)
Michiel van Asbeck (treasurer)
Erika Marseille (secretary)
Anne Christin Erbe

The board receives no compensation.

 

Artistic Ambassadors and Advisors

Charlotte Bartissol (director ProQuartet Paris)
Kirsten Dawes (head of artistic planning and production Pierre Boulezsaal Berlin)
Liza Ferschtman (violinist)
Francis Humphrys (director West Cork Chamber Music Festival)
Barry Shiffman (director Banff International String Quartet Competition)
Marco de Souza (founder and director Leerorkest Netherlands)
Alasdair Tait (director YCAT)
Mirjam Wijzenbeek (programmer chamber music Concertgebouw Amsterdam)
Sam Wigglesworth (performance music director Faber Music)

 

Locations

Muziekgebouw

The beating festival heart of the String Quartet Biennale. For eight days, the Muziekgebouw is all about string quartet. In its open space, spectacular architecture and great acoustics of the you can almost literally immerse yourself in the string quartet - with an incredible view of the IJ river.

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Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre

If the Muziekgebouw is the heart of the festival, then the Mövenpick Hotel is this edition's festival home. All musicians sleep, drink and eat together in the Mövenpick - the direct neighbours of the Muziekgebouw.
That makes the Mövenpick Hotel also the place to be for festival visitors; what’s better than sleeping and having breakfast among the musicians before watching them on stage? From the hotel lobby to the entrance of the Muziekgebouw is roughly 50 steps: you couldn't be any closer to the stage!

website

Bimhuis

Quite a few programmes of the third edition will take place in the Bimhuis. The intimate and relaxed setting of the Bimhuis offers a seamless shared experience between audience and performers. And the best thing is: the entrance of the Bimhuis is within the Muziekgebouw - you won't even have to put on your coat.

website
 

Covid safety measures

There is no way for us to foresee the situation in January. Whatever the situation will be, we will follow the RIVM guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable festival experience. Are you planning on traveling to the Biennale? Make sure to check your country's guidelines regarding travel, quarantaine etc.

Where does the festival take place?

The Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam is the beating heart of the festival. Most of the concerts take place in the Main Hall of the Muziekgebouw, but some concerts take place in the Bimhuis (which is attached to the Muziekgebouw).

Accessibility during the festival and on our website.

We try to be as accessible as possible for everyone. When it comes to physical accessibility, we are dependant on the infrastructure of the festival locations. They aim to facilitate our audience's needs as well as they can.

It's important to us that our website can be experienced and enjoyed in the best possible way by our audience. We are working hard to ensure that our website is accessible to all. There are some changes you can make to your computer to make any website, including ours, easier use on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet.  
- Using a different font
- Making text larger
- Changing colours
- Using screenreaders
- Using your keyboard instead of a mouse

Do you have a question or tip? Send us an e-mail at info@sqba.nl.

Where can I stay during the festival?

Amsterdam offers countless places to stay the night, but all of our festival guests stay at the Mövenpick Amsterdam City Centre, which is right next to the Muziekgebouw. For those who truly wish to submerge themselves in the festival, that's the place to be. The Mövenpick Hotel offers a discount for festival visitors, book a room via:
https://all.accor.com/promotions-offers/hotel-events/owm014066-001-movenpick-amsterdam.en.shtml?

How do I get to the Muziekgebouw?

From Amsterdam Central Station you can take tram 26, which departs from the IJ river-side. Tram 26 stops right in front of the Muziekgebouw (and the Mövenpick Hotel). Walking to the Muziekgebouw from Amsterdam Central Station takes about 15 minutes.
From Amsterdam Central Station you can take trams, metro's, buses and trains to almost anywhere.

How do I order tickets from abroad?

Our ticket sales are handled by the Muziekgebouw box office. Please visit: https://sqba.nl/en/ordering-tickets/

Can I buy day tickets or a passe-partout for the festival?

Buying a passe-partout for the festival means buying a large stack of individual tickets for all concerts. Please contact the Muziekgebouw box office if you wish to buy tickets. See: https://sqba.nl/en/ordering-tickets/

Will the festival be live-streamed?

We will not live-stream the concerts. However, we are working on Radio SQBA: our own online radio channel with eight days of special programming and live broadcasts of many of the concerts. More soon!