Viola: Marc Claes

Kristal Klaar (viola)

Brosella and the Kunsthumaniora van Brussel are presenting the 4th edition of “Kristal Klaar” in Gemeenschapscentrum De Markten in Brussels. The second concert in the series is scheduled on Thursday, March 1st at 20.00 hours. It is entirely dedicated to the viola and will be conducted by Marc Claes.

Once more, a selection of young, talented musicians of Kunsthumaniora Brussel are ready to share their passion with you. They are all devoted to the viola and will be honored to promote their favorite instrument through their viola quartet.

Amici Della Musica String Quartet

The string quartet “Amici Della Musica”, founded in 2005, is a spin-off of the chamber orchestra with the same name. It was founded by the Belgian violinist Jo Vercruysse. These highly gifted musicians share a common passion: a deep affection for music and the ability to create music at the highest level with friends.

Besides their extensive knowledge of playing in orchestras, they continue to cultivate this pure form of music playing in quartet. They were invited to perform at a lot of concerts and events and had the opportunity to share the stage with famous soloists like Eliane Rodrigues (piano) and Martine Reyners (soprano).

The string quartet “Amici Della Musica” has a comprehensive repertoire, covering a wide range of styles: besides traditional and popular classical music, they also play less know beauties of the quartet literature and even contemporary and pop music.

Jo Vercruysse, primarius

Jo Vercruysse is a versatile musician. He was awarded with different Prizes for his trumpet and violin playing. In the end, he decided in favor of the violin. After his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels under the guidance of Ms K.Sebestyen, he got in touch with Rudolf Werthen, who proposed him the job of first violin at the famous I Fiamminghi ensemble. Jo would earn a lot of experience for the next twelve years. As from 2000 he was also the concertmaster of the ensemble.

In September 2001 he moved on for a new challenge, being appointed concertmaster of the dynamic Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, a function he still assumes today. In 2002 he’s assigned as concertmaster at the chamber orchestra Prima La Musica and later on at Orkest der Lage Landen. In the meantime he’s not only recognized as a musician, but also as a conductor. The leadership skills, professional approach and artistic interpretation he demonstrates during I Fiamminghi and Prima La Musica concerts, are particularly appreciated. In the future he wants to focus more on his conducting skills. That’s why he’s studying under the guidance of David Angus, honorary conductor of the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, and the Finnish conductor and pedagogue, Jorma Panula.

Jo Vercruysse stands for a large repertoire from Baroque to Contemporary music, performing at Concertgebouw Amsterdam a.o. If you are more into the popular genre, you will be delighted to hear Jo play the trumpet and the violin on tunes of the valued popular music of the past century. He was in 2005 the founder of the “Amici Della Musica” quartet.

Arman Simonian, 2nd violin

Born in Leninakin, Armenia, where he started his musical education at the age of four, Arman moved to Moscow, together with his family, after the terrible earthquake that Armenia suffered in 1988. He pursued his musical education in Moscow and in 1993 was admitted at the Musical College under the Moscow Conservatory. Consequently, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory P.I.Tchaikovsky, where he graduated in 2002. Arman had the opportunity to work with musicians like N.Boyarskaia, M.Kesselman, Z.Shichmursaeva, A.Rabinovich, G.Roshdestvensky and Z.Mehta. He’s also one of the youngest violinists to be invited to join the National Radio Orchestra, under the direction of S.Skripka.

Arman Simonian performed as a soloist with the Moscow State Orchestra, the Dubna Symphonic Orchestra, the Zhukovsky Symphonic Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra and the Cantilena Chamber Orchestra… He participated in music festivals in Russia, Korea, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium… He also sustained a pedagogical activity at the College of Music under the Moscow Conservatory, where he was the assistant of M.Iashvilly.

In October 2002 Simonian moved on to Brussels. Today, he’s member of the Vlaanderen Symphonic Orchestra. Furthermore he was part of the Spirale Piano Trio, receiving the Doctor Honoris Causa award from Philippe Herreweghe and De Filharmonie van Vlaanderen at the “Jong Talent” competition in 2004. He’s teaching at the youth Academy of Dworp/Belgium and at the European School of Brussels. Since 2005 he’s the conductor of the Orchestra of the European School. He’s also conducting the Akasha Chamber Orchestra and leading the Rode Pomp Ensemble in Ghent.

Marc Claes, viola

Marc Claes studied at the Lemmens Institute in Louvain, where he earned a degree in chamber music and several degrees in viola and a master degree in music, under the guidance of Marc Tooten. He specialised further on in The Hague with J.Kussmaul.

He’s teaching voila and chamber music at the Academy of Heist o/d Berg, the Conservatory of Louvain and the Kunsthumaniora Brussel, where he’s also conducting the orchestra with the assistance of Tijl Verhaeghe.

He’s also specialized in the use of old genuine music instruments and is member of “Il Fondamento”, conducted by Paul Dombrecht, and of “Les Agrémens”, conducted by Guy van Waas, where he was in charge of the artistic schedule between 2009 and 2011.

As a free-lance viola player he was invited to play several times at the Beethoven Academy, under the guidance of Jan Caeyers, with I Fiaminghi, conducted by Rudolf Werten, with the Collegium Instrumentale Brugense under the guidance of Patrick Peire, with Ex Tempore conducted by Marcel Ponseele and with the Collegium Vocale of Philippe Herreweghe. He’s part of the string quartet Amici della Musica and a well-known musician he’s much in demand and performed all over Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Israel, Brazil and the United States.

Wouter Vercruysse, cello

Wouter Vercruysse earned a Master degree of Music at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent under the guidance of Judith Ermert. He was part of cello master classes, given by multiple Grammy Award winner, Yo-Yo Ma, and of chamber music master classes, given by Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Kwartet) and Claus-Christian Schuster (Altenberg Trio Wien). He started to study the cello under the guidance of Isabelle Brys at the Music School of Harelbeke and later on in Kortrijk under the guidance of Jan Van Kelst. He won First Prizes at the Dexia Classics and the Rotary competition.

He had the opportunity to perform as a soloist or part of a chamber orchestra at the world’s most renown theaters: the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center,the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam and Bozar in Brussels. Today, Wouter Vercruysse mainly performs in Flanders, where he’s one of the founding fathers of the ensembles Helix Duo, Kinsa Trio and Nightbird Trio. The last one received thesupport of the Flemish Government through its Podium/Young Talent program. He’s also member of Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen and teaching at the Academy of Lebbeke. His album debute “Nightbird”, with music of his mentor Armand Coeck, received excellent critics abroad, was nominated for the JPF Music Awards in the USA and selected for the compilation album Klara4Kids. He will release in 2012 his own creations on a second album called “Folies de Flandre” .


Divertimento in F by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Allegro, Andante & Presto
American Quartet opus 96 by Antonin Dvorak: Allegro ma non troppo, Lento, Molto vivace & Finale: Vivace ma non troppo


Ilse Pollenus started to study the violin at the age of six under the guidance of Annelies Broeckhoven and moved on at the age of nine to the Conservatory of Mechelen, guided by Cecilia Torfs. Later on, she went for private sessions by Otto Derolez. But, then she got enchanted by the viola and decided to quite the violin. Today, she’s part of Marc Claes’ viola class at Kunsthumaniora Brussel and studying at the Conservatory of Maastricht, under the guidance of Marc Tooten.

Adil Benhsain is a versatile musician, who’s playing the viola, the guitar and the oud (Arab lute) in the most fantastic way. He was introduced to the viola at Kunsthumaniora Brussel thanks to Marc Claes and is studying today at the Conservatory of Maastricht under the guidance of Marc Tooten.

Timothy Robert McAllister, aged 17, is studying the viola in the 4th year Music at Kunsthumaniora Brussel. He started to study the violin at the age of six under the guidance of Els Hauwermeiren and moved on to the viola at the age of fifteen, thanks to Marc Claes. He already had the opportunity to play several concerts in a chamber orchestra and as a soloist at Flagey, La Monnaie and in presense of the Queen. Today, he’s part of Frascat, the Symfonisch Orkest of Asse and the orchestra of Kunsthumaniora Brussel.

These young talents will be accompanied by Susanne De Neve on piano, who earned a Master degree at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. In 1981, she was in Vienna prizewinner of the Meisterkurs für Klavier by Professor Alexander Jenner. She continued her studies in the Austrian capital at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst under the conduction of Professor Hans Graf. She studied in Lucerne with Vladimir Askhenazy, and with the Hungarian pedagogue Gyorgy Sebök and Hans Leygraf. Susanne performed at many concerts and recitals at home and abroad and made many recording for the Flemish Radio and Television. She’s piano teacher at the Lemmens Institute and teaching & coaching at Kunsthumaniora Brussel.


Adagio en Allegro op. 70 in As by Robert Schumann
Rhapsody from "Suite Hébraïque" by Ernest Bloch
Concerto for 4 viola's by Georg Philipp Telemann.

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