Helena Druwé, violin
I was born in Ghent, Belgium, and started playing the violin at the age of 6. My interest in authentic performance practice was also stimulated when I started studying at the Antwerp Conservatorium in 1998. This is how I ended up in the class of Johannes Leertouwer, and I also studied Baroque violin and chamber music with Midori C. Seiler and Jos van Immerseel. I made several appearances at the “Abbaye aux Dames” festival in Saintes (France) where, playing in the Orchestre Jeune Atlantique, I got to know Philippe Herreweghe, Fabio Biondi and Christophe Coin (cellist in Quatuor Mosaïques).
I then ended up in Amsterdam, where I attained my bachelor’s and master’s diploma cum laude at the Amsterdam Conservatorium, firstly in Johannes Leertouwer’s class and later with Ilya Grubert. I also spent a year being taught by Ilan Gronich at the University of the Arts in Berlin and for some years was involved in the “Musik und Jugend” academy, having lessons from the teachers such as Gerhard Schulz, Reiner Kussmaul and Thomas Brandis.
I am proud to have been a member of a professional string quartet since 2007, although my personal ideal is to combine this with a part-time orchestral position. I have held a part-time position in the first violin section of the Gelders Orchestra since 2014. I also play regularly, on a freelance basis, with orchestras such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and others.
As a student, I was a member of the European Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, conducted by some extraordinarily inspirational figures including Claudio Abbado, Ivan Fischer and Franz Welser-Möst. Playing in a string quartet is like coming home for me. We have known each other for so many years and have done and lived through so much together, as well as playing the most beautiful music together! I feel free when I’m playing with the quartet, and that includes every aspect of the work. We can map out our own route and I really enjoy that.
I play a violin made by the Parisian maker J. B. Vuillaume (from 1829), which is on loan to me from the Dutch National Musical Instrument Foundation.