Bram van Sambeek is an international bassoonist and professor of bassoon at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. He is known for his highly versatile approach to bassoon playing and for his innovative programming. He is the only bassoonist to receive the highest Dutch Cultural Award: The Dutch Music Prize in 2009. As a soloist, he performs with orchestras such as the Gothenburg, Galicia and Netherlands Symphony Orchestras, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn and Camerata RCO. Many composers, such as Vanessa Lann, Sebastian Fagerlund and Kalevi Aho, have written concertos for him.
He played for ten years as principal bassoonist in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and as a guest principal with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Since 2009 he has been teaching the bassoon at the Conservatories in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague. In 2017 he started a professorship at the Hochschule für Music und Tanz in Cologne, before deciding to return to the Royal Conservatoire The Hague in 2021. Bram has taught masterclasses at schools like Bloomington Indiana, the Royal College of London and the Hochschule für Musik in Basel.
As a chamber musician he has worked regularly with Alexei Ogrintchouk, Reto Bieri, Hervé Joulain, Radovan Vlatkovich, Liza Ferschtman, Christoph Pregardien, Pekka Kuusisto, Nicolas Altstaedt and his most frequent chambermusic partner 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 he has experimented with concert formats such as playing people to sleep.
In 2016 he was the spokesman of the “Save the bassoon” campaign set up by the Holland Festival. This led to a lot of international attention and publicity for the instrument. Bram is very much interested in playing any style he likes, which leads him to work with rock musicians like Sven Figee at Konzerthaus Berlin, Jazz musicians like Joris Roelofs at the famous North Sea Jazz Festival, and Arab musicians like Kinan Azmeh at the Morgenland Festival.
On the occasion of being awarded the Dutch Music Prize, 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 has been admitted to the Chamber Music Society of New York’s Lincoln Center.
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. On his second album “Bassoon-Kaleidoscope,” he presented extremely different chamber music pieces, including Tango, Jazz and Rock music. 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. This album received the BBC Music Magazine Award in 2018.He recorded an extraordinary album with his favourite rock songs with his own band called ORBI (The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments) that reached nr 1 in the iTunes Classic charts. In 2020 he recorded the well known bassoon concertos by Mozart and Weber, and expanded this standard repertoire by introducing an unknown Romantic bassoon concerto by Édouard Du Puy. In 2022 he released his solo Bach album for the same label, using an innovative multitrack technique to record a keyboard partita, besides other partita’s and suites.
The new Bach Solo album will be released internationally on September 2nd!
Return to Royal Conservatoire The Hague
I’m very happy to announce my return to the Royal Conservatoire The Hague starting from September 2020.
My professorship in Cologne will end in March 2021.
From today on my new album is available for streaming.
Choose your preferred streaming service here:
New SACD release with Mozart, Weber, and Du Puy concertos coming up!
Have a look at the promovideo to get an impression here
ORBI – first release: videoclip of Metallica’s “Fight Fire with Fire”
ORBI – The Oscilating Revenge of the Background Instruments – Orbi plays a mix of symphonic rock, blues and even metal in a ‘chamber music’ setting. It’s a crossover between the classical world (where soloists Sambeek & Stotijn have build a great career) and the pop/rock world (where Figee thrives as a bandleader and soloist). They’ve created unique new versions of existing songs arranged especially for Orbi by Marijn van Prooijen. Their debut album will be released by the renowned Swedish classical label BIS
Bram wins the BBC Music Magazine Concerto Award!
Thanks to all of you dear voters!!
Nomination BBC Classical Music Magazine
The Fagerlund and Aho Concertos disc has been nominated for this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards in the category “Concerto Award“!
This award is based on your voting! You can place your vote for the album at http://awards.classical-music.com .
Please make sure to confirm your votes by filling out your name and e-mail address in the box below the nominations, otherwise the vote doesn’t get through.
Bram only takes in new students at the Hochchule für Musik und Tanz Köln and stops his teaching in the Netherlands..
Masterclass upcoming summer in Germany
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.
27/11/2022 - 27/11/2022
Trio concert with Hans Eijsackers and Rick Stotijn in Haarlem Philharmonie
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Bach on the bassoon (BIS)
Mozart, Du Puy, Weber Bassoon Concertos (BIS)
The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments (BIS)
Fagerlund & Aho bassoon concertos (BIS)
Bassoon Kaleidoscope (Brilliant)
Bassoon Concertos (Brilliant)
The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments
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
The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments
There are instruments and then there are instruments … On the one hand a violin, trumpet or lead guitar so firmly planted in the spotlight that everyone else on stage is reduced to a supporting role. On the other a bassoon, double bass, drum set or Hammond organ, providing the harmonic and rhythmic backdrop against which the soloist can shine. But what if the background instruments rebel? What if they strike back?
The result can be heard with ORBI – the Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments: four musicians making their bass-heavy instruments howl and growl (and sing!) in a mix of symphonic rock, thrusting metal and a little blues, 100% instrumental and lead-singer free. Of this Dutch quartet, Bram (on bassoon) and Rick (double bass) both pursue high-profile careers in classical music. Marijn (percussion) is classically trained but also studied in West Africa and India, and is active in many musical genres as well as multimedia projects. And keyboardist Sven Figee, finally, plays jazz, pop and rock in various constellations. Choosing from their own favourite playlists, and with the help of arranger Marijn van Prooijen, they have come up with a mix of music and sounds that is as weird and wonderful as it is surprising and addictive.