Brisk means ‘lively and awake’. Variation in style and atmosphere, virtuosity and lightness – those are the ingredients of a BRISK concert. The quartet always appears on stage with an enormous collection of recorders. More than twenty years ago, BRISK gave its first concert in 1986. Since then, BRISK gave numerous concerts both at home and abroad and was to be heard in the main Dutch concert halls, such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Doelen and Vredenburg, in the Early Music Network and during the Holland Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht. The quartet gave performances on international festivals of renown and made concert tours to many European countries, Canada, and the United States. BRISK records regularly for radio and television and has made over ten well received CDs with early and modern repertoire. The group explores the borders of the repertoire with daring programming of both early and contemporary music. Many composers wrote especially for BRISK . The quartet works together with other musicians, composers, actors, directors and film makers.
The quartet excels in performances of early music, the never-ending search for unknown repertoire, and the making of arrangements according to the tradition of their instrument. BRISK has worked together with singers such as Michael Chance, Marcel Beekman, Johannette Zomer, Maarten Koningsberger, the Egidius Kwartet and the Gesualdo Consort. BRISK has made concert programmes with instrumentalists such as Bernard Winsemius, Leo van Doeselaar, Mike Fentross, Tomoko Mukaiyama, Ramon Lormans and The Locke Consort.
The long list of composers who wrote for the quartet includes Ron Ford, Martijn Padding, Calliope Tsoupaki, Guus Janssen, Bart Visman, Michiel Mensingh, Theo Verbey, Klaas de Vries and Roderik de Man. Contemporary music is often combined in BRISK programmes with early music, as a comment or contrast. Their children’s programmes contain a lot of new music, too. BRISK works together with specialists in the field of contemporary music such as pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama, composer and improviser Guus Janssen, singer Greetje Bijma and percussionist Ramon Lormans.
BRISK is keen to reach a young audience. The group did theatre productions with various directors and actors, such as a successful serious Bach recital with a slapstick act. BRISK also played BLIK, a production with music and film, for which five films were made, based on five new compositions. From January 2010 BRISK is touring in Holland with a new programme for children of 6 plus, in which the audience plays an active part.
The quartet has an extensive collection of instruments at its disposal that is continually being enlarged and developed thanks to the group’s close contacts with recorder makers throughout the world. This allows compositions from the Renaissance, Baroque and 20th and 21st centuries to be performed with the specific tuning and timbre required for each period.
The four recorder players of BRISK are dedicated teachers. Both together and individually, they gave courses and workshops in many European countries, Canada, the United States, and Taiwan.
The ensemble has its own sheet music series, published by Ascolta Music, with arrangements made by and compositions dedicated to BRISK .
BRISK receives financial support from the Dutch Fonds Podiumkunsten for their special projects in 2011 and 2012.