Bram van Sambeek (1980) was the first bassoonist ever to receive the highest Dutch Cultural Award in 30 years: The Dutch Music Prize, handed out to him personally by Minister of Culture Ronald Plasterk in 2009. On this occasion, Bram played the bassoon concerto by Gubaidulina with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and chief conductor Seguin. De Telegraaf newspaper wrote about this performance: “He uses his instrument freely as a mouthpiece, conjures the finest timbres, and is technically capable of doing anything.” In 2011 he won a Borletti Buitoni Trust Award, and he has been admitted to The Chamber Music Society Two programme of New York’s Lincoln Center.
Bram van Sambeek performs regularly as a soloist with orchestras such as Sinfonia Rotterdam and the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Recently he played concertos by Villa Lobos, Mozart, and his own newly discovered concerto by the early romantic composer Du Puy. Many composers, such as Vanessa Lann and Sebastian Fagerlund, have written concertos for him. Last season Bram expanded his soloist activities with many orchestras like The Gothenborg Symphony, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Oulu Symphony, the South Netherlands Philharmonic and the Combattimento Consort.
From 2002 until 2011 Bram was Principal Bassoonist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and since 2009 he has been teaching the bassoon at the Conservatories in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Last season he started teaching exclusively at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Bram has taught masterclasses at schools like Bloomington Indiana, the Royal College of London, the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and the Conservatory of Busan, Korea.
He played regularly as a Guest Principal with (among others) the London Symphony Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician he has worked regularly with Alexei Ogrintchouk, Jörg Widmann, Reto Bieri, Clara Andradas de la Calle, Hervé Joulain, Radovan Vlatkovich, Liza Ferschtman, Christoph Pregardien, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicolas Altstaedt and Rick Stotijn. In 2010 Bram was offered a Carte Blanche series in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and in 2015 he received a “Wild Card” consisting of many adventurous concerts at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, also in Amsterdam. He is a regular guest at festivals like the Delft Chamber Music Festival, Storioni Festival, Orlando Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and has investigated concert practice in cooperation with Radio Kootwijk Live, experimenting with innovations such as playing people to sleep.
Bram is very much interested in playing any style he likes, which leads him to work with rock musicians like Sven Figee in Konzerthaus Berlin, Jazz musicians like Joris Roelofs at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival, Arabic musicians like Kinan Azmeh in the Morgenland Festival, and improvisers like Ernst Glerum in the “Apples and Olives” festival in Zürich.
Bram decided to start playing the bassoon when he was ten years old, beginning his studies with Fred Gaasterland and continuing later with Joep Terwey and Johan Steinmann at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. After his graduation, he took private lessons with Gustavo Núñez. In addition, he has participated in masterclasses with Brian Pollard and two of the most important bassoon soloists in the world: Klaus Thunemann and Sergio Azzolini. Bram also plays on a very special bassoon, an instrument that used to belong to both of these men.
About working together with Bram, Yannick Nézet-Séguin remarked in a television interview available at www.bramvansambeek.com: “I think he is able to fall in love with many aspects of the music, and doesn’t set himself too many boundaries.” In another interview about Bram, Valery Gergiev remarked: “…all in all a combination of being artistically involved, motivated and being gifted, being a very nice person, and also being a little bit unusual!”
On his debut cd with Brilliant Classics, called ‘Bassoon Concertos’, he presented a very accessible programme of bassoon concertos by Vivaldi, Du Puy, Villa Lobos, and Olthuis, receiving rave reviews like this remark in the Dutch music magazine Luister: “Judging by his playing, Mr van Sambeek awaits a golden future.” In march 2012, Brilliant Classics released his second cd “Bassoon-Kaleidoscope,” which includes different chamber music pieces, as well as a rock song. In 2015-2016 Bram has performed the two new bassoon concertos by Sebastian Fagerlund and Kalevi Aho and recorded them for the BIS label with whom he has an on-going cooperation.
Last year he was the spokesman of the “Save the bassoon” campaign set up by the Holland Festival. This lead to a lot of international attention and publicity for the instrument in the London Times, the Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung and played on many television shows.
Check out the new video with an overview of 2016!
New SACD Bassoon concertos Fagerlund and Aho
click here for more info and audio samples
Kalevi Aho bassoon concerto with Lahti Symphony and Dmitri Slobodeniouk
Bram is spokesman for the “save the bassoon” campaign by Holland Festival
Bram signed up with Fazer Artists for Scandinavia!
Video Fagerlund concerto premiere available for free at
Bram is going to teach at the Royal Conservatory The Hague instead of Amsterdam!
welcome to my new website!
I asked Ehud Neuhaus to design a playful website for me, and this is the result; I hope you will enjoy it!
New bassoon concerto
Sebastian Fagerlund has finished writing his bassoon concerto! It looks truly genius, and I’m practicing a huge amount of glissandi for it currently… Even the midi file that I got for it, sounds fantastic.
The premiere will be in Finland on the 6th of December (2014) with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Okko Kamu.
To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
Concert overview 2016
Video Aho Concerto for Bassoon (live)
Video premiere of “Mana” Concerto by Fagerlund
New artist profile by Borleti Buitoni Trust
New artist video by Chamber music Society of Lincoln Center
Jolivet Bassoon Concerto (fragments)
live performance (2011) of Andre Jolivet Bassoon concerto
Bram van Sambeek – bassoon
Arjan Tien, conductor
Schulhoff Trio plays Klement Slavicky
The Schulhoff Trio (Christopher Bouwman-oboe, Wouter van Diepen- clarinet, Bram van Sambeek-bassoon) plays the first movement of the woodwind Trio by Klement Slavicky in Vrije Geluiden broadcast from 14 12 2008
Klement Slavický (September 22, 1910, Tovačov, Moravia — September 4, 1999, Prague) was a Czech composer.
Slavicky studied under Karel Boleslav Jirák and Josef Suk. He was inspired by Moravian folk music and the works of Leoš Janáček.
Sebastian Fagerlund – “Woodlands” for bassoon solo
The new solo piece for bassoon solo in preparation of the bassoon concerto now being written by Fagerlund.
Live performance in Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
from the new cd Bassoon Kaleidoscope: “Harlem Nocturne” by Earl Hagen, version inspired by the worlds best unknown guitarist Danny Gatton.
bassoon : Bram van Sambeek
double bass : Rick Stotijn
hammond organ : Sven Figee
drums : Marijn korff de Gidts
Arr. by Marijn van Prooijen and Bram van Sambeek
Gubaidulina Bassoon Concerto
Live performance of Gubaidulinas concerto for bassoon and low strings, at dutch music prize ceremony in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nezet Seguin.
Bassoon: Bram van Sambeek