Nadar Ensemble

© Jesse Willems

Adventure, interdisciplinarity and above all a strong and critical contact with today’s world through a.o. the use of new technologies. These are some of the main objectives for the Nadar Ensemble and what we hope to share with Gaspard-Félix Tournachon (1820-1910), whose pseudonym was Nadar. He was not only a well-known photographer, balloonist, caricaturist, spy, art critic and curator, but he also regularly organized informal “salons” to which he invited artists, thinkers, writers and scientists, thus creating a true cross-disciplinary dialogue. 

Since our 21st century is pluriformmulti- and transmedial, and is more and more inhabited by digital natives and a networked generation Nadar Ensemble is not only fascinated by contemporary music, but also by film, visual arts, performance, theatre, installation art and all that is contained – or not – by these categories. The Nadar Ensemble wishes to develop forms of musical presentation that reflect this world, in an attempt to anchor new music more strongly in today’s world.

Nadar performed a.o. at the Darmstadt International Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Tzlil Meudcan Tel Aviv, Ultima Oslo, Platforma Moskou, Holland Festival, Opera Göteborg, Tfnm Zürich, San Martin Buenos Aires, Acht Brücken Cologne, Tampere Biennale Finland, Harvard University Boston… Nadar was invited as guest curator for the SPOR festival in Århus. Although Nadar is artist in residence at DE SINGEL Antwerp, its hometown is Sint-Niklaas, known for its famous hot air balloon festival.

  • Marieke Berendsen
    Papillon and the dancing cranes
    Working with composers, discovering new musical languages, experimenting and creating with her violin, looking for new forms of presentation; these are violinist Marieke Berendsen’s most important motivations. In 2008 she obtained her “master post master” degree, specialisation contemporary music, at the conservatory in Gent (Belgium). She studied there with George van Dam (Ictus). In this scene she became familiar with a broad repertoire, fellow performers and ensembles sharing her passion for contemporary music. In 2007 she joined the Nadar Ensemble, a group that focuses on new music and interdisciplinary collaborations. From this moment on her work starts to evolve more and more into multimedia/ interdisciplinary performances. Following the need to play a more active role in the creation of these performances, to work closely with composers on visualising their ideas and innovating the contemporary concert, she followed a course in scenography at the KASKA from 2008-2012. Besides her extensive work with the Nadar Ensemble, she worked with (a.o.) Ictus, Champ d’Action, Spectra and Ensemble Interface. She’s also a member of ensemble Besides. Apart from performing regularly on the concert stage, Marieke Berendsen plays an active role in the music theatre scene. She performed together with (a.o.) Music Theatre Lod, Hof van Eede, Traffik Theatre, and Kameroperahuis Zwolle. As scenographer and maker she created music theatre performances with Walpurgis, mr. Probe and others. At this moment she is doing a European tour with Kabinet K’s dance theatre performance “as long as we are playing”.
  • Nico Couck
    Foto Nico
    Described by The New York Times as agile, compelling and irresistible, Antwerp-based guitarist Nico Couck started playing the instrument at age 15. In 2013 he obtained his Master’s degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, under the guidance of Roland Broux. Since 2010 he won several awards at e.g. Radio Klara Festival and the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt. In addition to concerts in Europe, Asia, Central America, and the U.S., past events and venues include Barbican Centre, Cité de la Musique Paris, Festival Internacional Cervantino, Huddersfield Music Festival, MaerzMusik Berlin, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Warschau Autumn, Wien Modern, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, and others. He has collaborated with and premiered works by Oscar Bianchi, Chaya Czernowin, Jason Eckardt, Clemens Gadenstätter, Johannes Kreidler, Hilda Paredes, Stefan Prins, Eva Reiter, Simon Steen-Andersen, Steven Takasugi, amongst several others. Conductors he collaborated with include Alain Altinoglu, Yuri Bashmet, Georges-Elie Octors, Titus Engel, Michel Tabachnik, and Claudio Vandelli. Besides his activities with Nadar Ensemble, he is active as a soloist, appears regularly with Hermes Ensemble and SWR Ensemble Experimental, and is artist-in-residence at ChampdAction. In addition to performing, Nico Couck currently is assistant professor of guitar and chamber music at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. Next to being a guitarist, he is an avid 3x3x3 to 11x11x11 cube solver and NES Tetris player.
  • Katrien Gaelens
    Foto Katrien
    As sounds of all sorts trigger Katrien’s brain she is constantly looking for a new sound world, whether it is through contemporary music or old music on period instruments. Katrien studied the flute and baroque flute in Ghent, Brussels and Strasbourg with flute maestros Carlos Bruneel, Patrick Beuckels and Mario Caroli. During her studies she was inspired at master classes and summer courses like the Lucerne Festival Academy with Pierre Boulez, the Ictus Studio and Centre Acanthes Metz.She is a founding member of Nadar Ensemble and co-artistic director of the Odysseia Ensemble and shares the love for her instruments teaching the flute and baroque flute.Growing up at the seaside she loves long walks on the beach and fighting the waves. Breathing is as important while playing the flute as on her yoga mat, as an irregular yogi and meditation novice. She never forgets reminding her friends to keep on breathing.
  • Yves Goemaere
    Foto Yves
    Yves Goemaere was born in Oudenaarde, Belgium on 30 September 1982. But grew up in Gavere where he was already involved in music at a younger age. He started out playing the piano, but after a few years he felt more and more devoted to percussion. He started his career at the music school in Zottegem under the direction of Johan Cockaert, followed by the Kunsthumaniora in Ghent under the direction of Wim De Vlaeminck and Wim Lasoen.He did his bachelor classical percussion at the Conservatory of Ghent with Wim Konink and his master at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Gert Francois and Bart Quartier. At these conservatories, he took master classes with Steven Chick, Katarzina Mycka, Bill Molenhoff, Jan Pustjens, Maarten Schmitt, Claire Edwards and Thomas Meixner(Schlagquartett Köln), among others. In 2007, he also obtained his chamber music specialisation with Bart Bouckaert.He also loves Latin American hand percussion and the contemporary music world. He freelanced with various ensembles such as Champ d'action, Spectra ensemble and Muziek Lod but is still a permanent member of Nadar Ensemble, Bl!ndman Collective and Bl!ndman Drums.
  • Wannes Gonnissen
    Artonov 2022 - Olivia Droeshaut © DYOD
  • Robin Goossens
    Robin Goossens studied law at Ghent University and Paris Descartes. After a year of art history, he shelved his plans to become a filthy rich corporate lawyer, and started working in the cultural field. He gained experience in the music industry by joining the board of the university orchestra, where he also played the violin, and with some early music ensembles and Festival 20.21. He succeeded Rebecca Diependaele as business director or 'Chef Excel' at Nadar in the autumn of 2022. Besides that, Robin gives legal and business advice to artists. In that capacity, he answers al your legal questions on the phone at Cultuurloket. Furthermore, he looks up to anyone who dares to 'create' and fully commits to doing so. So he is involved with some young creators as a consultant and drags their works into his living room after their exhibitions. When he is not behind his laptop, you can find him on the athletics track. In his own words, he is 'not bad' and regularly crawls into the starting blocks for a hurdles race on weekends.
  • Pieter Matthynssens
    Foto Pieter c Kobe Wens LR

    © Kobe Wens

    Having failed to become the first Belgian basketball player in the NBA, Pieter Matthynssens instead graduated as an art historian from the University of Ghent. He decided, however, that society had not yet spent enough money on him – indeed, one could say he’s a bit of a “subsidy junky” –, so he went on to study cello with Prof. Judith Ermert at the conservatory of Ghent. Playing the cello didn’t satisfy him completely, though, which resulted in exploring the aesthetic possibilities of a whammy-pedal (thank you, Simon), balloons (thank you, Michael) and a midi-keyboard (thank you, Johannes).It still didn’t suffice – come to think of it, what is this guy looking for, actually?! He conducts an amateur orchestra in Sint-Niklaas, his birthplace. These wonderful musicians premiered works by Vladimir Gorlinksy, Jorge Sànchez-Chiong, Michael Maierhof and if they still let him, many other composers will follow in the future. He worked together with soloists like Wilhem Latchoumia, Carel Kraauen, Eurudike De Beul, Benjamin Glorieux. Because the cello imposes certain linguistic limitations, he also gives frequent lectures and fiercely discusses music and the arts with Stefan Prins in the artistic board of Nadar, his favourite music ensemble. Pieter is guest professor at the Conservatory of Antwerp. If somehow possible, he would like to die (an old man, of course) in Vienna.
  • Elisa Medinilla
    The first year of Elisa Medinilla's musical career under the spirited and unconventional mentorship of pianist Claude Coppens laid the foundation of her relentless enthusiasm for new music. More years of inspiring teaching ensued, by Daan Vandewalle and Boyan Vodenithcharov in Brussels, with whom she graduated in 2007. Elisa was also coached intensively by new music experts Luk Vaes, Ian Pace and the musicians of the Spectra and Ictus ensembles.. In 2012, she obtained a postgraduate degree in “soloist contemporary music” from the school of Arts in Ghent.Since the beginning she has been a permanent member of the new music ensemble Nadar. With them, Elisa has played on adventurous stages and worked intensively with composers all over the world.. These inspiring personalities helped Elisa expand her skills, not only at the piano, but also in marblestudies, balloon playing and the intricate art of the game controller. Her special interest in new performance practices and strategies led to more close collaborations, such as PIANOGUIDE (with pianist Frederik Croene), The Ghost Trance Septet (with music by Anthony Braxton) and with pianist Heloisa Amaral.Apart from her performing practice, Elisa teaches children and young people in music performance at the Art Academy ‘De Poel’ in Ghent and enrolls new educational strategies as a policy maker at the school board. On top of that she is happy to share these growing experiences with her students at the Conservatory of Brussels as a docent in music education.
  • Thomas Moore
    Ghost of dystopia (c) Wim Heirbaut
    It's not so easy to pinpoint exactly what Thomas does for Nadar. In the early, formative years, he started out as a trombonist but has since advanced to playing tuba, IKEA-baskets, light-switches, and the various game-controller. When the need arises, he will occasionally wave his hands about in a conductor-like fashion, too. Enigmatically, he is even allowed to negotiate technical riders.Born in the good ole' US of A, Thomas was drawn to Belgium with promises of great chocolate, amazing fries, and even better beer. It turns out there’s a blooming new music scene here, too! Since finishing his studies in Antwerp, he has - with the required grace and charm - developed a hot-air-blowing-career across Europe as both a soloist and chamber musician. He is a fixed member with Nadar and the Orchestra of Theater des Westens (Berlin), and appears regularly as a guest with ChampdAction and Spectra Ensemble.Not quite having had enough of school, Thomas completed his PhD research at the University and Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp in 2018, asking the deep questions, like ‘just why do we use conductors?’, and ‘what’s their job anyway?’
  • Stefan Prins

    © Laurent Orseau

    As a composer, Stefan sits behind his desk a lot. On a sunny morning in 2006 however, he decided he needed to make some real friends, and joined the Nadar Ensemble. 16 years later, he's still artistic co-director of the ensemble, together with Pieter Matthynssens. Pieter and Stefan are also godfather of eachother's (eldest) sons. Stefan, an Antwerp native, though technically born in Kortrijk, has moved to Berlin in 2015, after having lived in Barcelona - where he finished his degree in Photonical Engineering - and the US - where he obtained a PhD in composition at Harvard University under the guidance of Chaya Czernowin and Hans Tutschku. He combines his Nadar responsibilities with being a professor of composition and director of the Hybrid Music Lab at the Hochschule für Musik Dresden, composing music his grandmother almost approves of, being an improvising musician (laptop), a recent father, a hobby photographer, and - despite his partner's protests - an avid houseplant collector. About this and much more, you can read on his homepage: www.stefanprins.be
  • Bertel Schollaert
    Foto Bertel_2_BjörnCromhaire

    © BjörnCromhaire

    Bertel Schollaert studied saxophone at the Brussels Conservatory with Norbert Nozy and the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa with José Massarão. He soon became interested in contemporary sounds and playing techniques, and ended up freelancing with ensembles such as Champ d'Action, Ictus and BL!NDMAN. He also played in wind sections of De Dolfijntjes, Mucho Gusto and The Whodads, and toured across Europe with several bands, including Galatasaray, Va Fan Fahre en [sic]. Bertel collaborated in various theatre and dance performances by Toneelhuis (De man in de mist), Kabinet K (Horses), Kopergietery (De koningin is verdwenen), I Solisti (Wild) and LOD (The Butcher), a.o. In 2010, Bertel joined Nadar. To this date, he has no regrets.
  • Dries Tack
    Artonov 2022 - Olivia Droeshaut © DYOD
    Why Dries Tack started playing the clarinet is still a mystery. Perhaps due to his parents' attempt and effort to get him off from the streets. Nevertheless, Dries finally started his study at the conservatories of Brussels, Antwerp, and Tilburg. His fascination for noise and the pleasure of sharing ideas with the others guided him towards his love to chamber music in contemporary experimental music and the field of music theatre. As a clarinet and object player, he enjoys playing with Ensemble Nadar, the Curious Chamber Players and the trio Lambda. Dries is also one of the core members of the chamber music collective 'Odysseia Ensemble'. As a passionate teacher, he teaches at music academies of Vilvoorde, Schaarbeek, and Grimbergen. For the moment, Dries loves running and tries to bake his own bread. It is not edible yet.
  • Veerle Vervoort

    © Sightways

    While studying musicology, Veerle thought her only future useful contribution to society would be herding sheep in New Zealand. The love for another musicologist and for more sophisticated food than farmhouse fare made her stay. Now she is herding musicians and her sourdough starter is a useful contribution to bacteriological society. In addition to Nadar, Veerle runs her own company Ursa Maior, producing, planning and coordinating lots of different projects in music and music theatre. She is a virtuoso of the to do list.
Lukas Pairon
Michèle Vanvlasselaer
Philip Breesch
Rebecca Diependaele