Who are we?

The Wittgenstein Project is a collaboration between five very fine musicians from The Netherlands. Together we are set to bring all the gorgeous chamber music that was written for Paul Wittgenstein. It’s not only the music we are after, but also the fascinating story behind the genesis of this music. We want to tell our audiences about this utterly special one-armed man Wittgenstein, in music, words and images.

Folke Nauta, piano left hand

Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer, clarinet

Prisma String Trio; Janneke van Prooijen, violin / Elisabeth Smalt, viola / Michiel Weidner, cello

Folke Nauta, piano

005 Folke Nauta 2012 02

photo Dirk Rietveld

At the age of 12, Folke Nauta (1973) was admitted to the preliminary programme for exceptionally gifted students at the Conservatory of Zwolle (the Netherlands), where his teacher was Rudy de Heus. He subsequently studied with Jan Wijn at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he graduated with the highest distinction in 1997.

Folke Nauta was prize winner at several national and international piano competitions. In 1992, as the youngest participant, he won 2nd prize at the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in Oslo, Norway. A national breakthrough followed in 1994, when he won both 1st prize and the Dutch Press Prize at the Scheveningen International Music Competition. In 1995, Folke Nauta was awarded the Philip Morris Art Prize giving him the opportunity to record a solo CD and continue his studies with Eugen Indjic in Paris. One year later, Folke Nauta received the Elisabeth Everts Prize for young, very promising musicians.

Meanwhile, Folke Nauta has recorded several CD’s featuring Polonaises by Chopin, works by Schubert, and three previously un-recorded Piano Concertos by the Dutch Romantic composer Julius Röntgen.

During a nationwide tour with the Dutch Students Orchestra and conductor Roland Kieft in 1995, he  premiered the First Piano Concerto by Willem Jeths, a piece which was dedicated to him. A CD recording of this work followed in 1999, with the Noordhollands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Thierry Fischer.

The repertoire of Folke Nauta is built around the great works of the Romantic composers, but reaches from Bach to contemporary music. In his concert programmes, he likes to combine the standard repertoire with less well-known compositions.

Both the press and the public praise Folke Nauta for his particularly natural and concentrated style of playing.

Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer, clarinet 

foto Lars door Marco Borggreve

photo Marco Borggreve

Dutch clarinetist Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer (1977) studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Walter Boeykens and at the Juilliard School of Music in New York with Charles Neidich on a sponsorship by the Fulbright International Scholarship Program.

In his earlier career, Lars has won several first prizes at both international and national competitions such as SJMN (1991), PCC (1993 and 1994), International Competition for Youth (Lisbon, 1994) and RTBF Jeunes Solistes (Brussels, 1993), Philip Morris Music Award (1999) Vriendenkrans of the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, 2000). In 1999 he made his debut recital in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and performed successfully as a Rising Star in the so named concert series in 2001-2002. Since then, Lars has played in major venues such as Carnegie Hall New York, Wigmore Hall London, Musik Verein and Konzerthaus Vienna and Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles such as the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of the Netherlands, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Philharmonisches Orchester Hagen and Nieuw Ensemble Amsterdam. He worked as a soloist with conductors such as Hartmut Haenchen, Marc Soustrot, Michel Tabachnik and James MacMillan. He performed and recorded the world premiere of the Clarinet Concerto Yellow Darkness by Willem Jeths written for him.

Lars is a member of Spectrum Concerts Berlin, including colleagues such as Janine Jansen, Maxim Rysanov and Torleif Thedéen, as well as a member of Dutch ensembles such as Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, Insomnio, and the Orlando Wind Quintet. He has performed with string quartets and ensembles such as Skampa Quartet, Quatuor Danèl, Quatuor Ebène, Manderling Quartet and Auryn Quartet

In 2003, Lars was awarded an Edison for his debut CD. Other CD’s followed, with music by, amongst others, James MacMillan (which received the five star Concerto Choice in the BBC Music Magazine September 2014) , Ursula Mamlok and Paul Hindemith. In 2009 and 2011, Challenge Records released his CD with the Reger and Brahms sonatas, which received outstanding reviews by the international music press.

Lars teaches at Academy of Music and Performing Arts Tilburg, the Netherlands since 2004.

Prisma String Trio 

Janneke van Prooijen, violin - Elisabeth Smalt, viola - Michiel Weidner, cello

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Photo Ronald Knapp

Prisma covers 7 centuries of string trio music. Virtuoso, passionate and stylish, Prisma combines the tightness of a string quartet with the flair of three esteemed musicians who effortlessly find each other.

Since its founding in 2002, Prisma has met with great enthusiasm among a wide audience. The trio can be heard on countless stages such as the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, De Doelen, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. They toured in France and played in festivals like Grachtenfestival and November Music and on radio and TV.

Prisma programs inventively and searches its own way. Firmly anchored in the classical string playing tradition the trio performs music from all over the world and from all times; old and new music sound next to each other as if it was meant this way. Quality, inspiration and contact with their audience come first. The trio members like to introduce the works with a short story that appeals to both the experienced and the less informed listener.

Prisma highlights unknown jewels from the string trio repertoire, as - recently - the phenomenal Trio à cordes by Florent Schmitt that has been undeservedly forgotten since it was written. In addition, Prisma makes arrangements and often presents in the middle of a concert 'unexpected little gifts', musical miniatures, giving even more color to the programme.

Prisma regularly performs with guests, such as writer A.L. Snijders, pianist Riko Fukuda, clarinettist Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer and pianola player Max “Weltemax” Lakeman. Every two years the trio performs a programme of new music with the Hollands Vocaal Ensemble Amsterdam.

In the 20 years of its existence, the trio has built an excellent reputation in terms of community participation. It develops interactive projects such as À la Carte, Casino Royale, Bow & Brush, Intimate Letters and the Graphic Score Project, based on the conviction that easy acces and high-quality music can really go together. In Splendor Amsterdam, Prisma presents its own series of 'Test Tube Concerts', in which the trio literally engages in conversation with its audience.

The Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina was extremely enthusiastic about Prisma's interpretation of her string trio. Her response encourages Prisma to actively engage in contemporary music and to ask contemporary composers to write for them. With support of the Performing Arts Fund, Gaudeamus and the John Kasander Foundation, works were created by Arnold Marinissen, Albert van Veenendaal, Steven Kamperman, Gerard Beljon and Morris Kliphuis. 

TV and Radio reported extensively on the release of Prisma’s first album Voyage in 2013. It was awarded an honourable 10 out of 10 by the leading Dutch music magazine Luister. On the tracklist are works ranging from 1500 to 2013.

Prisma’s newest La Muse was released by Cobra Records in 2021. It features works of Florent Schmitt and Darius Milhaud. It was voted Album of the year 2021 by NativeDSD, worldwide platform for high quality releases.

Contact © Wittgenstein Project 2022