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Biography of the Ensemble

Ensemble Più: 20 years of discovering chamber music treasures

Ensemble Più has a special interest in discovering music which is seldom performed in the current concert repertoire, or which has even remained unpublished and thus rarely heard since its composition. Also, the combination of one woodwind plus string trio is a relatively unusual challenge for composers of chamber music. However, the quartet places great value on authenticity in its perfomances and has therefore, since its foundation, always been on the lookout for appropriate rarities in the music literature.

The result of tireless exploration and industrious rehearsal is the group’s repertoire, which has been developing continuously over the past 20 years. It spans the years from the early classical period (Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of Johann Sebastian) to modern composers such as Isang Yun (died in Berlin in 1999) and Malcolm Arnold (died in Norfolk in 2006). It includes the main works from all the musical periods written for oboe or English horn, volin, viola and cello. Special emphasis is given to two composers who are very much underrated today: Louis Massonneau, a Frenchman born and educated at the court of Kassel (1766 - 1848), and Gordon Jacob, an Englishman (1895 – 1984).

In this age of musical „internationality“, the members of Ensemble Più may be the more remarkable because of the regional and family bonds which connect them. All four live and work in the Ruhr region, all are orchestra musicians, and some of them also teach. The violinist Eva Gosling (member of the Essen Philharmonic until 2003) is married to the oboist and English hornist Andreas Gosling (solo English hornist of the Essen Philharmonic since 1998). She is also the sister of Martin Börner (viola section leader for the Niederrheinische Sinfoniker since 1992), and their family music-making included friend and cellist Markus Beul (Dortmund Philharmonic) from an early age.

These four instrumentalists founded their quartet in 1994 and had their first concert two years later in Sylt, where they now perform regularly. Alongside their many concerts in the Rhein-Ruhr area, they have accepted engagements, for example, in 2006 in Bamberg (rose garden of the Neue Residenz), in 2007 in Fürth (Schloss Burgfarmbach), and in 2008 in Kassel (Hessischer Rundfunk broadcasting in the Ballhaus). In addition to their wide-ranging concert activities, Ensemble Più has recently released two cds with the German label audite: in 2004, „Gordon Jacob: Works for Oboe and Strings“ , and in 2005, „Louis Massonneau: Oboe Quartets“, each featuring three works, the latter as an SACD.

The critical reception of Ensemble Più’s performances and recordings has been unanimously enthusiastic, using terms such as „musical lightfootedness“ (Stereoplay, 2004), „the oboe tone has a classical, unintrusive beauty“ (Fonoforum, 2006), and the Massonneau quartets are „ear-flattering gems“ (Rohrblatt, 2005). This sort of applause will inspire the artists on their continuing search for undiscovered musical treasures: after all, the Italian „piu“ means „more“!

Audio excerpts from the debut CDs
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