Winner of 2013 Usedomer Musikpreis, Berlin Counterpoint has rapidly established itself in Europe as well as other parts of the world. Through their strong musical ideals, well-thought-out programming and above all, their intense desire to communicate through music, they are considered one of the premier ensembles of its kind. Their goal is not only to make classical music accessible to all audiences, but also to show how important this language is in the world today.
The members have been performing worldwide as individuals, but joined together to find something more fulfilling, where the importance truly lies in the joy inherent in the music, and in communicating that joy to their audiences.
Between them, these six musicians hold passports from Romania, France, the Netherlands, Britain, the United States and Turkey. Each nationality brings an inherently different way to approach music, and Berlin Counterpoint takes all these influences to develop a style all its own. The reference to Berlin in the ensemble’s name is not just due to the coincidence of their meeting there, but to the fact that Berlin is one of the few places where such a meeting of creative minds from such various backgrounds is not only likely, but extremely fruitful. It is the modern, energetic and creative Berlin they represent, and like the city is itself, a truly multicultural ensemble. Their sparkling sound, homogeneous virtuosity and adventurous yet thoughtful interpretations is very much owed to this meeting of different cultural and musical backgrounds.
Berlin Counterpoint’s ever-growing repertoire, spanning from baroque era to contemporary music, includes traditional works for wind quintet and piano, as well as members’ own arrangements and other new works commissioned from young composers. The group performs in varying constellations, from duo to sextet, and is open to collaborations with guest artists.
Since its conception in 2007, Berlin Counterpoint has received great acclaim for its appearances at many prestigious venues such as the Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Istanbul Music Festival, Palau de la Música Valencia, and the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonic as well as tours to Brazil and Mexico. Its highly praised debut CD (2013 Genuin Label) was not only extremely well received by the audiences and critics, but also brought them a nomination for Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
This season, Berlin Counterpoint will be making its USA debut tour, including concerts in New Orleans and New York City.
Born in 1981 in Romania to a Hungarian mother and Romanian father, Aaron Dan “is now considered one of the most promising flutists of his generation” (Romanian Global News). Winner of the 2005 Belgrade International Flute Competition, Aaron left home at the age of 14 to pursue his studies at Budapest’s Béla Bartók Conservatory, before winning a place at the Universität der Künste, Berlin. In 2003, Aaron moved to Paris to learn the French tradition of flute playing with Pierre-Yves Artaud. Making several important European debuts during this period, Aaron's musical mastery was solidified under the tutelage of Benoit Fromanger.
Now balancing his love for solo performance with that of chamber music, he has performed several hundred concerts throughout Europe with Trio Dan. Aaron also works as a composer, arranger and moderator, and has performed concerti with orchestras such as Camerata Belgrade, Preussisches Kammerorchester Prenzlau, Philharmonia of the Nations, Oberberg Symphony Orchestra, and the /OFF/ Paris.
Aaron Dan has also performed concerts with solo flute and loop machine throughout Europe and has been guest artist of several music festivals, such as Young Euro Classics Berlin and Brandenburgischer Musiksommer. His work of around 100 compositions includes a children's opera, orchestral pieces for a children's theatre, vocal works, and chamber music, as well as several arrangements for Berlin Counterpoint from Händel to Stravinsky.
Born in Nice in 1989, oboist Olivier Stankiewicz studied oboe and music theory at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris where he was awarded First Prize at the 2012 International Oboe Competition in Japan and named a “classical revelation” by the French association ADAMI in 2013. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2016 and is currently Professor of Oboe at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2015, Olivier was appointed principal oboe of the London Symphony Orchestra and won First Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in Leipzig and New York.
Engagements this season include recitals at Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings, and the Louvre in collaborations with Alasdair Beatson and the Doric and Castalian String Quartets. Olivier appears as soloist this season with the Orchestre de Lille and takes part in the Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival with Renaud Capuçon. Committed to new music, he also premieres a new commission by Laurent Durupt in Paris and London.
Recent career highlights include debut concerts in the US at Merkin Concert Hall and Morgan Library (New York), the Isabella Gardner Museum (Boston), Wigmore Hall (London) and Festspiele Mecklenburg- Vorpommern (Germany). As a soloist, Olivier has performed with the Orchestre National du Capitole Toulouse, London Symphony Orchestra, French National Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonietta, and Barcelona Wind Symphony.
Olivier Stankiewicz was principal oboe of the ONCT between 2011-2015 and has been invited as guest principal with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Philadelphia Symphony. and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. Chamber collaborators include Alvise Siniva (Duo Widmung), Thomas Dunford (theorbo), Jean Rondeau (harpsichord), the Amadeus Ensemble, Richard Uttley (piano), and Yan Levionnois (cello). Olivier was a founding member of the WARN!NG Collective, a group that frequently commission new works, experimenting with sound painting, improvisation and innovative performance experiences.
Since his highly praised 2009 solo debut at Berlin’s Philharmonie, Sacha Rattle has become an established soloist. Noted for his immense sensitivity, warm character and unique sound, his career has developed rapidly with performances throughout Europe, including festival appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Spannungen Festival, Gidon Kremer’s Kammermusikfest, Lockenhaus and Italy's AnimaMundi Festival. He made his Asian debut in 2011 as soloist with the Taiwan National Symphony Orchestra, performing works by Copland and Debussy.
Sacha is also a much sought-after chamber musician, having collaborated with artists such as Isabelle Faust, Lars Vogt, Katia and Marielle Labèque, François Leleux, Pascal Moragues, Guy Braustein and Peter Donohoe. He performs regularly in recital with duo partner Zeynep Özsuca. Sacha is also a founding member of the wind quintet and piano sextet, Berlin Counterpoint, an award winning ensemble which has been performing worldwide since 2010.
In 2005, Sacha received his Performance Diploma at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under Professor Richard Hawkins, and then moved to Berlin to study with Karl-Heinz Steffens at Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’, Berlin, completing his studies with Wenzel Fuchs and Ralf Forster in 2010.
2019/20 seasons highlights include his Wigmore Hall debut, Prussia Cove OCM and tour, concerts with O/Modernt, USA debut tour with Berlin Counterpoint, a residency with the Linien Ensemble in Madrid, double concerto with Peter Donohoe and guest principal with Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Joost started playing bassoon aged 15 and entered the junior department at the Royal College for Music in The Hague 2 years later. After completing the undergraduate course at the same college with professor Johan Steinmann he studied for an additional 2 years at the Music College “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin with professor Klaus Thunemann.
In his student years Joost was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and later the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, both as a bassoonist and contra bassoonist. As a freelancer he played with many orchestras and ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. After a 4 year period as a member of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Joost changed his second bassoon job for the same position in the London Symphony Orchestra where he has held this position since 2007.
As a chamber musician Joost played in the Delft and Oxford Chamber Music festivals, collaborated in ensembles from Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He played many concerts with bassoonist Bram van Sambeek, with whom he also recorded Sophia Gubaidulina’s Duo for two bassoons on Van Sambeek’s cd “Kaleidoscope”.
Joost is a bassoon professor at the Royal College of Music in London and gives master classes in many other music colleges. He also takes part in a range of outreach and discovery projects from the London Symphony Orchestra.
Born in the north of France, horn player Lionel Speciale studied at the Paris Conservatoire with André Cazalet, then continued his studies with Marie Luise Neunecker in the University of Music “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. During that time, as well as playing with the French National Youth Orchestra, Lionel took part in the Academy of both the Lucerne and Verbier festival orchestras.
After winning the position of principal horn in the Komische Oper Berlin, Lionel is now high horn in the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Deeply passionate by chamber music, he won the First Prize of the Tomasi Wind Quintet Competition with the Quintette Alma and is regularly invited to perform in famous chamber music festivals around the world. He is now a member of the Berlin Counterpoint ensemble.
As a guest artist, Lionel Speciale is regularly invited by major german orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, both Berlin and German Radio Symphony Orchestras, the Staatsoper Berlin, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and abroad in the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, the Malaysian Symphony, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among many others.
Turkish pianist Zeynep Özsuca has performed worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist. Born in Ankara, she began piano lessons at the age of four and continued her studies at Ankara Conservatory of Hacettepe University. After winning Istanbul Symphony’s Young Soloists Competition in 2001, Zeynep moved to the United States to complete a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory under Prof. Peter Takács. She then majored in accompaniment and vocal coaching at Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin with Prof. Alexander Vitlin and graduated with an MA in 2013. Zeynep currently lives in London and pursues her career as a concert pianist and repetiteur.
Zeynep has worked with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Simon Halsey, Sir Simon Rattle, and Sir Antonio Pappano, and acted as rehearsal pianist for singers Magdalena Kozená, Rolando Villazón, Gerald Finley, Annette Dasch, Michael Schade, to name a few. She has been working as a repetiteur and orchestra member with renowned opera companies and orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Staatsoper Berlin, Aixen- Provence Music Festival, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
As a chamber musician, Zeynep has performed on prestigious stages including the Berlin Philharmonie, Palau de la Musica Valencia, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and Queen Elizabeth Hall, as well as live radio broadcasts on Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio, RBB Kulturradio (Germany), RNE (Spain), BBC 3 and 4(UK), and co-hosted the BBC Young Musician Podcast. She also regularly appears in concert with her duo partners, saxophonist Jess Gillam and clarinetist Sacha Rattle, as well as her wind and piano sextet Berlin Counterpoint. Zeynep has a close working relationship with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she has acted as an accompanist, music director of opera scenes, and currently as lecturer of the Opera Skills course.