Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Bram Van Sambeek
BBT Award 2011

Bram Van Sambeek - Press

Aho and Fagerlund – Solo and Concerto works for Bassoon

Winner of the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award

“Bram van Sambeek takes everything in his evidently extensive stride.  The agility, conviction, impish humour and searing seriousness all stem from a remarkably rounded musicianship: talent and personality in abundance, but at the same time strongly focused.  I’ve a feeling composers will  be queuing up to write for him.”
Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine February 2017 *****

Mana reveals once again [Fagerlund’s] fertile and compelling musical intellect… While sounding taxing to play…its dedicatee Bram van Sambeek relishes its demands and is given wonderful support by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra.  … There is also a breathtakingly virtuoso account of Solo V (1999), the bassoon instalment in Aho’s marvellous ongoing instrumental series.  Stunningly vivid sound throughout, as we expect from BIS.”
Guy Rickards, Gramophone February 2017

“Bram van Sambeek, our national bassoon hero, delivers on the BIS label a thrilling rendition of the [Aho’s] bassoon concerto, a piece with exciting harmonic developments, a magnificent passacaglia and a sparkling final movement.
…It’s [Fagerlund’s concerto, Mana] a mesmerizing work …The two solo pieces by Aho and Fagerlund are a nice addition. Here the detail and tone variations of van Sambeek’s playing come into their own and show evene better what a fantastic instrumentalist he is.”
Frits van der Waa, De Volkskrant 9 December 2016

“Van Sambeek masters all these technical tricks, demanded by both Aho and by his younger Finnish countryman Sebastian Fagerlund (b. 1972) with immaculate and exemplary precision: playing extremes by way of both contrasting leaps and gradual transitions, switching between different techniques such as glissandi, multiphonics, singing during the game etc.
[in Mana, Fagerlund] …wants to conjure up shamanistic rituals … leads the listener into mysterious sound worlds … Bram van Sambeek performs with intensely penetrating and, at the same time, effortlessly flexible playing.”
Christoph Schlüren, Klassik Heute 9 December 2016

Sebastian Fagerlund Mana – Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, co-commissioned by Borletti-Buitoni Trust, on behalf of Bram van Sambeek, with Lahti Symphony Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

“Dutchman Bram van Sambeek understands Fagerlund’s language and was able to transform the voice of the bassoon into a wizard’s voice which, in the Sibelius Hall’s woodwind-friendly acoustic, appeared to originate from the ceiling and intoxicatingly envelop the audience. The atmosphere of an incantation ritual was satisfyingly many-layered:  the mix included shamanistic drums, keening, lamentations and incantations and Fagerlund brilliantly balanced agony and animistic joy of life.”
Auli Särkiö, Rondo Classic, 6 December 2014

Shamanism à la Fagerlund
“The piece [Mana] grabs the audience’s attention from the very first note, with the bassoon a kind of sorcerer driving ahead, trance-like, on a breathtaking journey through ever-changing exterior and interior landscapes…A magical wind instrumentalist, Bram van Sambeek is one of the few bassoon players to have chosen a career as a soloist and chamber musician and he mastered effortlessly the hair-raising technical challenges that pepper Fagerlund’s score.”
Mats Liljeroos, Hufvudstadsbladet, 7 December 2014

Watch a video of the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund’s Mana