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Petra Müllejans

Petra Muellejans
For violinist Petra Müllejans spontaneity and emotionality are inseparable facets of historically informed performance practice whose aim is to impart the music of past centuries appropriately and, above all, with spirit. Petra Müllejans is active as one of two artistic directors, leader of the orchestra, soloist and chamber musician in the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, in whose development she has played a decisive role.
She studied in Düsseldorf, New York and Freiburg, where she took her artistic finals and soloist exams with Rainer Kussmaul. She was early on fascinated by the sound of the baroque violin. Therefore she took lessons with Helga Thoene in Düsseldorf and Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Salzburg. One focus of her work is 17th and 18th century chamber music, which she has performed with the Freiburg BaroqueConsort and The Age of Passions ensemble.
Petra Müllejans, however, not only displays her unusual spontaneous musicality in early music, but also as a Klezmer, tango and Czardas violinist. This “two-timing” is no contradiction, but rather represents an indispensable extension of her artistic personality.
Petra Müllejans also appears regularly as a soloist at internationally respected festivals, such as the Boston Early Music Festival in June 2007 where, together with South African pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, she performed a concert with violin sonatas by W. A. Mozart.
Under her artistic direction, the FBO recently produced a CD with wind concertos by Mozart, which critics described as “a summertime pleasure of the highest rank” and as a “petition for historical instruments that could not be more convincing” (DER SPIEGEL, August 2007). Petra Müllejans teaches as Professor for Baroque Violin at the College of Music and Interpretive Arts in Frankfurt-am-Main.

Kristian Bezuidenhout

Kristian Bezuidenhout

Kristian Bezuidenhout, who was born in South Africa in 1979, began his studies in Australia and completed them summa cum laude at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Rebecca Penneys, Malcolm Bilson and Paul O’Dette. He first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize as well as the audience prize in the Bruges Fortepiano Competition (2001), a double honour, this being only the third time the former prize has been awarded in the history of the competition.

Kristian Bezuidenhout is a frequent guest artist with the world’s leading ensembles including The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, Concerto Köln, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Collegium Vocale Ghent and the Handel & Haydn Society. He has performed with celebrated artists including Frans Brüggen, Pieter Wispelwey, Daniel Hope, Viktoria Mullova, Christopher Hogwood, and he regularly gives Lied recitals with, among others, Carolyn Sampson, Mark Padmore and Jan Kobow. He now has a standing duo with the baroque violinist Petra Müllejans, artistic director of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; their first CD, a disc of Mozart Violin Sonatas, will be released on Harmonia Mundi USA in the Spring of 2009.

Bezuidenhout now divides his time between fortepiano, harpsichord and modern piano engagements and has appeared in the early music festivals of Barcelona, Boston, Bruges, St. Petersburg, Venice and Utrecht and the Saintes Festival, La Roque D’Anthéron, the Chopin Festival Warsaw, Musikfest Bremen, the Tanglewood Festival, Mostly Mozart Lincoln Center, and the Gstaad Festival. He is now a guest professor at both the Eastman School of Music and the Schola Cantorum in Basel; in 2007 he was awarded the Erwin Bodky prize.

Highlights of past seasons included a complete cycle of the Mozart Piano Concertos with the Orchestra of the 18th Century under Frans Brüggen; in May 2007 Bezuidenhout stepped in for Andreas Staier at a moment’s notice in a concert with the Freiburger Barockorchester; and in November of 2006, Bezuidenhout was named the ‘Most Exciting Young Musician’ in the 2005-06 season by the Dutch Federation of Music and Drama (VSCD).

Flans for the future include a Mozart tour with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées under Philippe Herreweghe; a Mendelssohn project with the Freiburger Baroque Orchestra and Gottfried von der Goltz; trio concerts with Viktoria Mullova & Pieter Wispelwey; and recordings for Harmonia Mundi.

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