Ilka van der Plas

Ilka van der Plas, Violin

I started playing the violin at the age of 6, following the Suzuki method. When I was 9, I was admitted to the special preparatory class at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where I had lessons from Qui van Woerdekom. I went on to study at the same Conservatoire with Jaring Walta and Peter Brunt, gaining my bachelor’s and master’s diplomas. While still a student there, I won prizes at the Princess Christina Competition and I was a finalist in the Davina van Wely Competition, as well as a semi-finalist in the National Violin Competition Oskar Back. I took part in masterclasses led by Herman Krebbers, Mauricio Fuks, Philippe Graffin and others.

I gained orchestral experience with the Viotta Youth Orchestra, the Atheneum Chamber Orchestra and the Dutch National Youth Orchestra, being leader of the first two of these for a few years. After this, and alongside a lot of quartet playing, I deputised in a range of orchestras including Amsterdam Sinfonietta, the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. During the 2007-2008 season, I was a participant in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Academy, where the conductors included Mariss Jansons, Bernard Haitink, André Previn and Daniele Gatti. Since then, I have been a regular deputising player and I’ve visited every continent with the orchestra.

I’ve performed concert tours in Switzerland, Greece and the United Arab Emirates as a soloist.

I have been first violinist with the EnAccord String Quartet since it was founded in 1998. My personal high point in recent years was the chance to study with the Alban Berg Quartet, where we learned such a great deal not just as a quartet but also personally. Competitions have also played a huge part in how we have developed. I’ve been playing in the quartet since I was 15 and wouldn’t have wanted to miss a minute of it! I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the quartet and hope that I’ll be able to continue playing with this delightful quartet for many years to come.