Strings that make you move

“A very tight string quartet, adventurous compositions played very well together. A worthy successor to Zapp4”

Vera Vingerhoeds, Independent jazz journalist

“ can immediately hear the loosely swaying hips resounding in their playing.”

Ton Maas (NL)

The North Sea String Quartet is one of the most versatile string quartets of the Netherlands. Combining their own compositions with improvisation, their music could be defined as a mixture of jazz, folklore and world music.

These are strings that will make you move!


A new face & Electric Amazigh update

Dear music lover,

Hopefully you are doing alright in these strange times, where live music has become a rare commodity. Now that the vaccination campaign is getting up to speed, we can slowly start looking forward to the reopening of society. And boy, do we long for that! In this newsletter we will look back on the past few months with a smile and tear, and tell you a bit of what is coming up.

A new face

Last summer Karin decided to quit as a member of the North Sea String Quartet. The concerts were getting harder to combine with her work in Berlin, on which she would love to keep her focus. Als co-founder, Karin has undeniably left her mark on the development of the quartet. We will greatly miss her swinging style and imaginative solos and surely also her sweet personality. We wish her the best of luck in her German career and will of course keep on following her closely!

After a period of searching and trying out, we have found a worthy replacement in the person of George Dumitriu! George is a remarkably versatile musician. He has studied classical violin in Romania and the Netherlands, but also jazz guitar in the Netherlands and the United States. Playing concerts around the globe and appearing as a guest teacher at several conservatories, he

has built an impressive resume. On top of that, he is a very gifted composer and arranger. We are therefore very happy to welcome him in the ranks!

During the pandemic

The past months have been more quiet than usual, but thanks to the Balkonscènes funding from Fonds Podiumkunsten we have been able to play a few very nice concerts. For instance, on each of the three locations of the ETZ hospital in Tilburg and Waalwijk, we have performed for care staff and patients. Also, together with Stichting Maatschappelijke Opvang Midden-Brabants Traverse, we are looking for a way to play a concert for homeless people. It is very special being enabled this way to give a morale booster to people struggling.

Electric Amazigh

As we have mentioned in our previous newsletter, last summer we recorded our first album together with guitarist Javier Infante in the famous Studio 2 of the MCO in Hilversum. It is going to be a beautiful record with pieces written by Infante and our very own Pablo Rodríguez, inspired by North African, Sephardic and Canarian folk music. The release is planned for *…release date…* and the final result is getting closer. We are delighted to already share this little bit with you:

We hope to see you again soon, safe and sound!

Summer News

Hello everyone!

We’re back to share some news with you!

Academy of Improvising Strings

We are looking back on a successful first edition of the Academy of Improvising Strings last May, with 27 string players from all over the world. It was quite something organizing this, together with Tim Kliphuis, for the first time, and we are very excited it has been such a creative and positive weekend with jams and workshops throughout. We hope to have given a new impulse to (beginning and advanced) improvisors and teachers to incorporate improvisation in their work.

What a great weekend!

The 2020 edition is in the making, dates to be announced soon, so if you are interested in signing up, please keep an eye on the website: 

Tim Kliphuis’ book ‘Improvising for Strings’ (the teacher groups worked with it during the weekend) is available here:


Acoustic and summer electric clothing 😉

The summer kicked off in Germany, with the three day Festival Rudolstadt, Germany’s biggest world music festival with about 90.000 visitors every year. What a groovy, friendly festival with a variety of bands and artists. Besides our scheduled concerts – where we got to inaugurate the town’s renovated concert hall – we had fun busking on the streets for so many folk music lovers.  

Mario Forte

Mario Forte at Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition

After that, we left to southern France to play with Mario Forte, a New York based violinist and composer and winner of last year’s Seifert Competition. Apart from his own creative projects in jazz and contemporary improvised music, he works alongside greats such as John Zorn and Richard Bona. Together we took the time to explore new ways of approaching our repertoire and developing artistic direction, as well as working on groove and energy. This resulted in three experimental concerts where literally anything could happen. It has been an intense and fruitful experience for all of us and we are happy and grateful to Mario for working with us.

Lilian Vieira

With Lilian Vieira at Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Another exciting collaboration you might have already noticed, is the one with singer Lílian Vieira, which came to fruition in two sold out shows in the Concertgebouw last week. If you missed it, make sure you follow us on our social channels, where we are releasing several video clips with her. This is our take on ‘O Pato’, by João Gilberto. and below, Nuvem Negra by Djavan.

If you want to see this project live: September 21st we play in the September Me Festival in Amersfoort. There is a very interesting line-up for the string quartet addicts among us, because also the wonderful Ragazze Quartet and Matangi Quartet will be playing there. 


We are taking time to compose and arrange new music at the moment, which will be recorded later this year. Exciting concerts are coming up, at one of which we will perform an exciting version of Bach’s third Brandenburg Concerto with string orchestra. Be sure to keep an eye on our agenda! In the meantime, if you have any ideas, suggestions, places to play or if you want to support us in any way, let us know.

Have a beautiful autumn!  

Academy of Improvising Strings & Vlog

Last January we went back to the Canary Islands with violist/singer Roland Satterwhite (USA). In the fall of 2018, our EP ‘Songs for flying’ (available here) was recorded in Berlin and fortunately, it didn’t take too long for us to play together again. It didn’t go unnoticed either: all of our concerts on Gran Canaria and La Palma were sold out! Check our vlog, made by Yanna, for a look behind the scenes.

Academy of Improvising Strings

In a few months, we’ll kick off our first(!) edition of the Academy of Improvising Strings. Together with Tim Kliphuis, each member of the quartet will be organising two days of non-stop workshops at various levels, including jam sessions and an inspirational tutors’ concert. We’ll be working on improvisation, timing, phrasing, sound, expressions, playing technique and, if you’re a teacher yourself, how to incorporate improvisation in your teaching practice. Depending on your interest and level, you can spend more time on specific subjects with one or more teachers.

We still have a few spots left, so don’t hesitate and sign up:

UUnited Muziekfestival

Save the date: March 28 UUnited Muziekfestival will take place in Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht. For this edition, the North Sea String Quartet will be collaborating with women’s choir Medusa. The programme is still a surprise, but think of glaciers, barren snowfields and mountain echo’s, and you get the idea. Yanna’s composition ‘Snow Suite’ (also on our EP Feldwerk) will be performed in a version for string quartet and women’s choir for the first time. Tickets are available here.

Play time! Improvising with kids

Handclaps keeping the rhythm, notes ringing out in unison, nudges and winks, joy on every face and a magical atmosphere: there is an orchestra out there that sparks with joy and excitement and is not like any orchestra you’ve ever seen before, it’s called Barrios Orquestados. At the heart of it there is the positive and inspiring presence of its founder: José Manuel Brito, conservatory professor and orchestra conductor. When we received an invitation from him to work with this wonderful orchestra, we didn’t think twice.

The day before, there was a visit to the conservatory of Gran Canaria in our agenda. We expected a small group of children, yet on the morning we received the news that there would be not less than 100 children attending. We quickly set up a meeting to work out a plan. How could we work with such a large group of kids, age 7-17, and keep them involved for two hours? The great thing about rhythm, groove and improvisation is that it is especially satisfying with a big group, since building a groove is like a framework, each person adding a piece. The more people are involved, the better it gets, as long as you work on clicking it together piece by piece and keeping it stable. Also, differences in technical level don’t have to be an issue. We worked on a variety of grooves, chopping techniques, call and response and improvising with pentatonics, which resulted in some wonderful and very personal improvisations near the end of the workshop. We ended with a festive “Paddy in the smoke’’, accompagnied by everyone on stage. It was a great day, and we were absolutely amazed by the enthusiasm and talent of the children attending.  

The next day it was time for Barrios Orquestados. They were more than ready to start and before we knew it, their funky versions of ‘Billy Jean’ and ‘Take Five’ exploded into the room. It was groovy, it was dynamic and everyone on stage gave it a hundred percent, as if they’d never done anything else in their lives but performing. It might have surprised us, wouldn’t we have known the philosophy behind this- truly wonderful- project, which was born with the goal of using notes and rhythm to motivate dozens of children from Gran Canaria and Tenerife, coming from families with economic problems, often in risk of social exclusion. Orchestra leader and conservatory professor José Manuel Brito explains: “We strive to achieve social integration through music, training children with special needs at the social and cultural levels, and creating orchestras of bowed string instruments (violins, violas, cellos and contrabasses) in all the suburbs of the capital of Gran Canaria and some on Tenerife.”