SQBA Residency

A unique and innovative talent development program


The SQBA Residency is a four-week program for young string quartets (age 25 to 35 years) to explore, think, nurture and discover. Spread over a period of one and a half years, the SQBA Residency offers young string quartets a space to tap into their own creativity; to explore, develop and define a perspective which reflects the unique identity of the individual players and the ensemble.

The next SQBA Residency program will start in October 2023.


With this programme, we feel the Biennale can see inside of our shared quartet brain and knows exactly what we need.

Belinfante Quartet, the Netherlands

From the SQBA Residency we expect that which we could not expect from real life: a string quartet lab where the boundaries are limitless, a place where knowledge is deepened and our human and artistic values will soar to heights not reached before.

Quarteto Tejo, Portugal

We appreciate that the Residency has such a wide scope. We'd like to concentrate on performing and creating, which is a learning process in itself.

Karski Quartet, Belgium

Want to participate in the next SQBA Residency?

Are you interested? E-mail Elisabeth Gierveld for more information: residency@sqba.nl

Sign up!

Participating String Quartets 2021-2022

Belinfante Quartet (NL)

The Belinfante Quartet was formed in 2016 and since then has performed extensively in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. With the aim of sharing a passion for music with the wider public, they explore works from the core of the string quartet repertoire combined with lesser known masterpieces.
With their name, the quartet would like to honour Frieda Belinfante, being a cellist and the first professional female conductor in Europe. Her sincerity, perseverance and fervour, in music as well as in other aspects of her life, form a magnificent source of inspiration.


Quarteto Tejo (PT)

The Tejo Quartet had its origins when four Portuguese musicians living abroad met at a summer course held in Belém, on the banks of the Tejo (Tagus) river, to sight-read music together.
Since its formation in December 2018, the quartet has already appeared in recital in the United Kingdom, France and Portugal. In July 2019, the group was awarded the first prize at the Young Artists’ Prize in Portugal in the Senior Chamber Music category.


Karski Quartet (BE)

The Karski Quartet was formed in Belgium in 2018 and is rapidly gaining recognition on the international music scene for its passionate interpretations of works ranging from Haydn to 21st century repertoire.
Having played with one another in many different combinations, the four musicians met as a quartet during the 2018 Resonances Festival Academy. Soon after they were awarded the Grand Prix as well as the Special Prize for the alumni of the Royal Conservatory in Brussels at the 4th International Music Competition Triomphe de l'Art in Brussels.



Together with the artistic team of the String Quartet Biennale, our main tutors Mark Withers, Annette Walther, and Ivar Berix shape the programme of the SQBA Residency.


The biggest secret to making music is learning how to listen.

Ivar Berix

The SQBA Residency provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the inner game of string quartet playing together with these promising young quartets.

Annette Walther (Signum Quartett)

String quartets have so much to give to and to receive from the society that surrounds them. It is a privilege to help these young quartets in finding dynamic paths for their development, even more so in the incredibly rich context of the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam.

Mark Withers

Mark Withers

Clarinettist Mark Withers performs old music and creates new music working alongside the widest possible range of musicians. He has collaborated with numerous orchestras and opera companies in his own country and abroad.
Mark has a special interest in music for people with sickness and disability. He designs and leads creative education and outreach projects as well as training programmes for artists working in the field. He has directed work for, amongst others, Accentus, the Association of British Orchestras, the Association of French Orchestras, English National Opera, Fundació “La Caixa”, Glyndebourne, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Mark has helped to establish new creative education programmes with ensembles including the Hallé Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Orquesta Nacional de España and he currently directs ongoing programmes with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Festival d’Aix.
Mark has played a central role in the establishment of the new SQBA Residency.

Annette Walther (Signum Quartett)

Annette Walther is a founding member and second violin of the renowned Signum Quartet. In addition to her career with the Signum Quartet, Annette is regularly invited as a violin player to international chamber music festivals. At the beginning of 2016, Annette has been appointed as violin lecturer at the Louis Spohr Music Academy in Kassel and follows her passion of teaching there and by giving masterclasses with great enthusiasm.

Ivar Berix

From 1987 on, Ivar was the clarinetist of the reed quintet Calefax. A close-knit ensemble that has maintained a reputation for more than 35 years on the basis of virtuoso playing, brilliant arrangements and a fresh stage presentation. In 2020 Ivar left the group after 33 successful years and has been sharing all the experience and inspiration he has gained ever since.
He does so in the role of ensemble coach, team coach and listening coach. Ivar focuses in particular on collaboration and everything involved: in what way do people listen and communicate, which role patterns are adopted in the process, how to deal with tension or disagreement, how to jointly achieve a “together” and convincing performance.