The Pelargos Quartet was founded in 2016 and consists of violinists Stephanie van Duijn (1998), Kaja Majoor (1998), violist Anna Jurriaanse (1997) and cellist Diederik Smulders (1997). All members are currently studying at or recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague and Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
The Pelargos Quartet has a natural love for the standard string quartet repertoire, but also has a great interest for modern and living composers. They enjoy playing quartet a lot and it plays a big role in their lives. They learn from each other as musicians, colleagues and friends.
Pelargos regularly performs in The Hague and across The Netherlands. They gave concerts in venues such as Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague, Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht and the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. During their studies at the Royal Conservatoire, the quartet has been coached by violist Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir and violinists Janet Krause and Peter Brunt. Besides. Pelargos has received masterclasses from all the members of Quatuor Danel and members of Cuarteto Casals. Through NSKA they’ve also received several masterclasses and they participated in Kamermuziekdagen Zeist (summer 2019), where they had many lessons and concerts.
In June 2019, Pelargos performed the Helicopter String Quartet by Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, as part of the opera cycle “aus Licht”. In four separate helicopters, the quartet flew over Amsterdam while playing. The audience followed the performance live from the Westergasfabriek. This was really a big highlight, it was extremely exciting for us to be part of something so huge and inspiring.
The Pelargos Quartet hopes to be able to perform a lot in the future and to give a beautiful experience to every listener.
Stephanie van Duijn (1998) was born in Fort Myers, Florida to Dutch parents, and began playing violin at the age of 7.
She is currently studying with Peter Brunt at the Conservatory of Amsterdam since 2017. In 2021, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and is now studying for the Master’s. Her most recent orchestral experiences include Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra 2017 and seven projects with the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and has been a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2020,
During the years 2011-2017, she studied with Kimberly Fisher, Principal Second Violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Glenn Basham, Concertmaster of the Naples Philharmonic. She began orchestral playing and chamber music at the age of 10, as a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and Naples Philharmonic YO.
She began orchestral playing and chamber music at the age of 10, as a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra and Naples Philharmonic YO.
From 2015-2017, she was concertmaster of the Philadelphia Sinfonia, associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and a member of the Braverman String Quartet coached by Sid Curtiss. She has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Sinfonia, Naples Philharmonic, Southwest Florida Symphony, and as a Bach Double Concerto Competition Winner with Marc Rovetti, assistant concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Philadelphia International Music Festival.
Her most recent orchestral experiences include Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra 2017 and seven projects with the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands, most recently as Assistant Principal 2nd violin of the 2019 Winter Tour to Musikverein, Vienna and as Concertmaster of the Summer Tour 2019 to Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Romania.
She has been a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2020, and has done multiple residencies with them, working with Marin Alsop, Pekka Kuusisto, Pablo Heras Casado, and Sasha Goetzel.
Stephanie currently plays a violin with the label “Landolfi,” part of the Oskar Back collection, and a Morizot bow, both on generous loan from the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation (NMF).
Kaja Majoor (1998) is currently studying with Arisa Fujita at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Within her master she is doing a NAIP specialization (New Audiences and Innovative Practice) to combine her musical and artistic skills – next to violin, she also studied illustration/design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Kaja has a big love for chamber music and the classical repertoire, but next to that she also has a big passion for jazz and contemporary music.
Kaja started playing the violin at the age of seven. She followed her first violin lessons at the State Music School in Warsaw, Poland. From 2012 until 2016 she attended the School for Young Talent in The Hague. She is currently studying classical violin (with NAIP specialization) at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Arisa Fujita. Beforehand she was studying with Theodora Geraets.
Kaja played in several ensembles and orchestras including Atheneum Kamerorkest, Koninklijk Conservatorium Orkest, Jong Metropole Orkest and Nationaal Jeugd Orkest. She worked with conductors such as Gustavo Gimeno, Antony Hermus, Mark Wigglesworth and Arjan Tien.
Next to her love for the classical repertoire and chamber music, Kaja has a great passion for jazz music. From 2017 until 2020 Kaja took a minor in jazz violin with Tim Kliphuis. She was twice concertmaster of the Jong Metropole Orkest (2019/2020) where she worked with conductors such as Jules Buckley, Miho Hazama and with the band members of the Grammy-winning Snarky Puppy. In 2022-2023 she participated in the orchestra Academy of the Metropole Orkest.
Currently, Kaja is working on a project called ‘Seeing Sounds,’ an interdisciplinary performance that explores synesthesia through self-made graphic scores. The project caught the attention of Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam and was selected for the ‘Best of Graduates 2023’ exhibition. The live performances took place multiple times at the Kröller Müller Museum in August, with additional performances already planned for the coming time.
Anna Jurriaanse (1997) graduated from her bachelor in June 2020 with a 9. She’s always been very passionate about chamber music, especially as a violist she enjoys being able to change roles. To lead, follow, accompany, communicate and inspire. Anna loves playing all kinds of music in different settings, but she has a preference for the more late romantic/contemporary repertoire.
Anna started private violin lessons with Lenneke Willems when she was 6 years old. After 7 years she realised she wasn’t enjoying the high E -string and at age 13 she switched to viola. She then studied with Stephanie Steiner and Emlyn Stam. From 2016-2021 she studied at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague with Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir.
Anna has played with various youth and student orchestra’s, amongst them NJO which she’s been a member of since January 2019. In January 2020 she was leading the viola section as principal viola under the baton of Ed Spanjaard. This was a great experience from which she’s learnt a lot. Anna has also followed masterclasses from Jennifer Stumm, Timothy Ridout (during IVC Rotterdam), Roman Spitzer, Jonathan Brown and all members of the Zemtsov family. Next to the Pelargos Quartet, Anna also has her own violin-viola duo: Duo Duinoord. Since 2020 Anna has also enthusiastically started teaching violin and viola to beginners.
For the future Anna would like to experiment with combining different art forms. She thinks it will be more important to not only play music on a very high level, but also make a real performance out of it. She hopes she can mean something and contribute to the future of classical music.
Diederik Smulders is a versatile cellist who likes to have as diverse a repertoire as possible on his music stand, from baroque to jazz and from solo to orchestral work. He graduated cum laude and with distinction from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague with teacher Lucia Swarts. Diederik completed his bachelor studies at the Fontys Conservatoire in Tilburg with teacher Paul Uyterlinde. During his studies in The Hague, Diederik followed a specialisation programme in modern music with the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble and the New European Ensemble.
As a freelance cellist, Diederik has played in various orchestras and ensembles including the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, the Residentie Orkest, the Balletorkest, the Metropole Orkest, Cello Octet Amsterdam and Kamerata Zuid. He also appeared in the orchestra of the popular television programme Maestro. During his student days, Diederik was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of The Netherlands and principal cellist of the of the Young Metropole Orkest. As a soloist at the Spring Festival in The Hague, Diederik played the cello concerto ‘Last Words’ by Martijn Padding accompanied by members of the Ensemble Academy and conductor Gregory Charette. He also had the opportunity to perform the world premiere of Vlad Chlek’s cello concerto ‘Möbius Strip’ accompanied by the Brabant Chamber Orchestra.
Diederik is very interested in experimenting with improvising and playing graphic scores. For instance, he has done intensive research on Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, who wrote a lot about his synaesthesia and the connection between art and music. Together with Portuguese percussionist Ricardo Oliveira, Diederik forms a duo with whom he uses Kandinsky’s paintings as sheet music. Finally, Diederik was part of the ensemble of De Link, a leading concert organisation of newly composed music, and has had the opportunity to premiere works by Anthony Fiumara, Stefan Prins and Thomas Larcher, amongst others.