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BL!NDMAN [strings]

Expanding into BL!NDMAN [strings], the BL!NDMAN collective ventured into a quest for innovation in one of the music world’s most chosen performance forms: the string quartet. BL!NDMAN [strings] emerged as a young and promising female foursome that saw the light in the summer of 2012. The four young musicians developed a repertoire of contemporary music with new musical dialogues and performance practices together with “Eric Sleichim”:/en/collective/eric-sleichim. Through intensive study at the ProQuartet, a professional quartet school in Paris, they apprenticed with celebrated quartets including Pražák Quartet, Alban Berg Quartet, Talich Quartet, Artis Quartet and the Artemis Quartet. This led to successful collaborations with Stéphane Orlando and Toshio Hosokawa, among others, and performances of Schubert, Shostakovich, John Kinsella and van Beethoven, among others, at festivals such as Cordes en Ballades, Musiqu’3, Musique en Quatuors, Festival l’Europe and Pays de Fayence.

With individual residencies and projects, BL!NDMAN [strings] has its own identity and pursues a unique course. In addition to collaborations with other artists, in recent years more performances have been created together with BL!NDMAN’s other quartets. In the immersive Totem (2011), together with BL!NDMAN [drums], they rework turntables into inexhaustible objects of sound. In 2016, together with BL!NDMAN [sax], they created a programme with 4 brand new compositions by Hanne Deneire, Daan Janssens, Bram Van Camp and Stefan Prins respectively. And from an existing repertoire composed by Eric Sleichim, a new soundtrack to Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s re-titled silent war film Arsenal was created in 2017.

Cross-pollinations with new forms of technology and electronics have characterised BL!NDMAN [strings]‘s past years. With ICONS, The American Minimalists, together with the entire BL!NDMAN collective, they explore how known and unknown works by minimalist composers can be given an innovative touch. With the eclectic Strings Electric, they use scratching live electronics to seek dialogue between acoustic and amplified performances of works by Saariaho, Reich, van Beethoven and Crumb. The future brings more adventure and contrariness. In BL!NDMAN’s recent initiative Parliament of Angels (2023-2027), the string quartet will diligently explore new sound paths and engage in original collaborations that continue to highlight the experimental nature of the collective.

Stefanie Van Backlé: violin
Femke Verstappen: violin
Monica Goicea: viola
Suzanne Vermeyen: cello