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Johanna Peiler

Johanna Peiler (º1987) was born in Germany and grew up in Brussels. In 2012 she obtained her Master’s degree with distinction from the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, having studied under Jeroen Reuling and with Maria Kliegel at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne. She participated in various master classes all over Europe with renowned teachers such as Gary Hoffmann or François Guye.

Johanna has played in many orchestras such as the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles or the Zomeropera Orkest Alden Biesen. She has performed as principal cellist in the Dutch Youth Orchestra NJO, in the German MAKSi Akademieorchester with whom she also played as a soloist, as well as in the Belgian orchestra symphoniaASSAI.

Recordings of her concerts and interviews have been broadcast on radio stations such as the Belgian Classical radio station musiq3. Since 2012 Johanna Peiler also teaches cello at the Jugendmusikschule Heinsberg in Germany. She has been working as a coach for the Euregio-Youth Orchestra Amikejo since 2014.

Brian Howard

Brian Howard (º1983) grew up in Rochester, New York (United States). He began playing cello at age 8, and studied in the Eastman School of Music’s preparatory program through secondary school. He pursued university studies at Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music in Ohio, from which he holds degrees in cello performance and English literature. His primary teacher was Catharina Meints of the Cleveland Orchestra; other important mentors include Desmond Hoebig, Ronald Leonard, and Marc Johnson.

Following his studies, Brian has enjoyed a varied performing career throughout the United States. From 2006 to 2011 he performed with the North Carolina, Roanoke, West Virginia and Charleston Symphonies. He also served for four seasons as principal cellist of the Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Miami, FL and recorded with Miami’s Grammy-nominated choral group, Seraphic Fire.

A strong advocate for contemporary music, Brian has collaborated with some of today’s leading composers including Joan Tower, Jeffrey Mumford, Oliver Knussen, and Harrison Birtwistle.

Helena Fuertes Plata

Originally from Spain, Helena Fuertes Plata (º1984) studied music in the conservatories of Astorga, Oviedo and Groningen (the Netherlands) with teachers Inmaculada Requejo, Vladimir Atapin, Antonio Peña and Jan Ype Nota. In 2012 she concluded her Master’s degree at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel under the professor Viviane Spanoghe. Other important influences during her music education include renowned cellists such as Maria Kliegel, Amit Peled, David Apellániz, Adolfo Gutiérrez Arenas, Paul Friedhoff or Francois Guye.

Passionate about chamber music and orchestra playing, she has performed with various orchestras and ensembles throughout Europe, such as Orquesta Presjovem, Sabugo Filarmonía, Sebastien Strings, Orquesta Ciudad de León, Orquesta Sinfónica de Gijón or the Orquesta Fundación Príncipe de Asturias.

Helena combines her performance activity with her pedagogical work as cello teacher and music educator in the International School of Brussels and in the European School of Brussels IV in Laeken. Helena is member of the orchestra symphoniaASSAI since its creation in 2009 and founding member of the ASSAI cello quartet.

Koen Berger

Koen Berger (º1984) joined early in his life the orchestra of his hometown, the Hasselts Symfonie Orkest. With this orchestra he participated in numerous music courses and concerts, including concert tours abroad to France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Czech Republic.

Koen studied with Jaap Kruithof at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven, where he obtained his Master’s degree in cello performance in 2008. In addition he obtained a first prize in solfege, a teaching certificate and a second Master’s degree, option chamber music with Roel Dieltiens and Marc Tooten. During his studies Koen took part in several masterclasses all over Europe with renowned cellists such as Ran Varon, David Cohen and Olsi Leka. Since 2003, Koen teaches cello at the Hasselts muziekatelier of Valentijn ten Haaf.

He played as a soloist in a number of cello concertos including Haydn, Elgar and Saint-Saëns. Besides symphoniaASSAI and the ASSAI cello quartet Koen is currently active as principal cellist in the Frascati Chamber Orchestra and Frascati Symphonic with which he already undertook some concert tours to China.


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