You can call it chamber jazz, but the members of the North Sea String Quartet (NSSQ) will be the last ones to try and limit their work by mere stylistic descriptions. As prominent improvising string players in the Dutch and international music scene, they are influenced by modern jazz, classical, global and folk music. Jazz journalist Götz Buhler wrote about their performance: ‘Using their classical, world, and folk influences, along with a lot of jazz, these improvising string players have created one of the most exciting and celebrated concerts of this year’s inJazz.’
The NSSQ comprises violinists George Dumitriu and Pablo Rodríguez, violist Yanna Pelser and cellist Thomas van Geelen. Their desire for an acoustic group that grooves and swings, moves freely in collective improvisations and also masters the classical strings sound, led them to form the quartet in Rotterdam in 2016. They have performed at a wide range of prestigious concert halls and festivals across Europe, such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bimhuis, North Sea Jazz Festival, Brosella Festival, Jazz and The City Salzburg and Canarias Jazz & Más. Among their frequent collaborators are Trio da Kali (ML) – in an award-winning project they previously recorded with the Kronos Quartet, Javier Infante (ES), Lílian Vieira (BR/NL) and Roland Satterwhite (USA/DE). At this year’s North Sea Jazz Festival, they performed with singer-songwriter Samora Pinderhughes (USA), as well as with Trio da Kali.
In December of this year, the NSSQ will be recording its debut album “String Migration”, to be released with 7 Mountain Records and premiered across the Netherlands from May 2024. “String Migration” symbolizes the journey of the time-honored string quartet into the modern era. This is not a simple step or a shortcut, but rather a long-term trek, a complex and profound evolution that has been going on for some years with groups like Turtle Island Quartet (US) and Atom String Quartet (PL). The NSSQ takes an important step in this development with their skills as improvisers and composers, and the ability to sound as an autonomous ‘band’ with rhythm section.
Aside from performing, the members of the quartet attach great value to inspiring the next generation of string players. They have lead multiple workshops on improvisation for young musicians in and outside of the Netherlands and have worked several times with the Canarian youth orchestra Barrios Orquestados. In 2019, together with world renowned jazz violinist and pedagogue Tim Kliphuis, they founded the Academy of Improvising Strings, an annual workshop weekend in the Netherlands, with a first edition especially for teenagers in 2022.
North Sea String Quartet is supported by Stichting North Sea Strings.
George Dumitriu is a Romanian born violist, violinist and guitarist, residing in Amsterdam. Graduate of the Bucharest National University of Music, he won more than 15 national and international prizes as a classical violinist. As a jazz guitarist he studied in Groningen (granted with the Huygens Scholarship), New York and Conservatory of Amsterdam, researching live electronics.
As a leader of DUMItRIO, he released the albums Proverbe (TryTone 2017) and Future Nostalgia (FN01 2014). The latest project of the group is the video series soFar soNear, featuring guest artists. The solo project Monk on Viola presents a new perspective on the music of Thelonious Monk.
He performs internationally with a variety of ensembles (Sanem Kalfa, Kaja Draksler Octet, Black Sea Songs, Alex Simu Quintet, Eve Risser, Blink String Quartet). Important collaborations: Ambrose Akinmusire, Theo Loevendie, Michel Godard, Ack van Rooyen, Michael Moore, Nationale Opera & Ballet Amsterdam, Brussels Jazz Orchetra.
Former guest teacher at Amsterdam Conservatory and Prins Claus Conservatory, he is currently part of the faculty of Utrecht Conservatory. He is a founding member of Romanian Jazz International.