Table of Contents
Chamber music as a distillate of human coexistence fascinates us musicians of Atout. What drives us is our desire to put our musical imagination into practice and to seek personal and collective artistic development.
But how does this work in the community?
How can different musical ideas be brought into harmony?
Who sets the tone?
When is tact required?
When has the time come, to change tunes?
... After intensive musical and interpersonal work, a wonderful collective creation has emerged that is both highly individual and unique.
The musical possibilities increase exponentially with each new personality added into the mix. And so does the potential for conflict. The group becomes more colourful and diverse. And that is why for us chamber music does not end with the quartet, but only starts becoming really exciting in the quintet, sextet and octet! This undertaking is very rewarding and becomes a privilege in that it gives rise to a unique and rich repertoire...
„What a wonderful experience to hear ATOUT in Musikverein: finally an ensemble that takes a risk for the sake of music! Strong temperament, wonderful phrasing and beautiful glissandi…“ (Shmuel Ashkenasi)
The Austrian ensemble Atout is dedicated to chamber music in large ensembles. It captivates audiences with its rich, almost orchestral sound and the vibrancy of its chamber music in various formations such as the quintet, sextet and octet.
Since 2011, Atout has performed in renowned venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, Wiener Konzerthaus, Schönberg Center Vienna, RadioKulturhaus, Vienna Chamber Opera, Konzerthaus Klagenfurt and Remise Bludenz. The members of Atout are first-rate musicians of various European origins, all trained in the tradition of the Viennese sound style, the Wiener Klangstil. They have performed as soloists in major venues around the world (e.g. Wiener Musikverein, Carnegie Hall New York, Philharmonie Berlin, Kiev Philharmonic) and are internationally successful as chamber musicians (prizes at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich). They perform in world-renowned orchestras (e.g. Vienna Philharmonic). Since its formation in 2010, the ensemble has maintained an intensive artistic exchange with Prof. Johannes Meissl (Artis Quartett) at the Vienna University of Music. Further impulses have come from Hatto Beyerle (Alban Berg Quartet), Miguel da Silva (Quatuor Ysaye) and Shmuel Ashkenasi (Vermeer Quartet).
In 2012, Atout was awarded both the "Ignaz Pleyel Prize" and the "Josef Windisch Chamber Music Prize". In 2014, Atout was selected for the NASOM programme (New Austrian Sound of Music), a funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs for outstanding Austrian soloists and ensembles. Atout has performed over 150 concerts in Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Hungary and Slovenia. Numerous performances have been broadcast on national and international television and radio, including Yoko Ono's performance "Sky Piece to Jesus Christ". Every year in Vienna’s neighbouring town Klosterneuburg, Atout performs its own concert series, the "Klosterneuburg Chamber Concerts."
“This group is composed exclusively of outstanding individual musicians and in large chamber music ensembles it produces music of the finest quality, not only playing a well-known repertoire. In particular when it comes to extending this repertoire, the contribution that the group makes with regard to current performance practice is highly significant, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Many treasures are yet to be unearthed which, for a variety of reasons, have not yet been recovered from oblivion.”
Johannes Meissl (Artis Quartett, mdw, ECMA, ISA)
„I have heard many chamber groups, the international standard has never been as high as it is today. Yet, very often I find young players sacrificing musical expression to technical perfection. So, it was a wonderful relief to me to hear ATOUT in concert: finally an ensemble that takes a risk for the sake of music! Strong temperament, wonderful phrasing and beautiful glissandi they don’t seem to produce with their fingers, but with their hearts...“
Shmuel Ashkenasi (Vermeer Quartet)
“I have never heard the Sextett version of 'Verklärte Nacht' played so beautifully.”
Univ. Prof. Dr. Peter Kislinger (University of Vienna, Ö1 Radio)
"The captivating performance of the string octets by Enescu and Shostakovich is what stands out most vividly in my memory. And I found it especially delightful that by having dug up a very interesting repertoire (in this case the double quartet by Albrechtsberger), the ensemble, was able to surprise even me as a member of the Vienna String Sextet."
Rudolf Leopold (Vienna String Sextet, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz)
"The stage presence of these young musicians is astonishing. We will still be hearing a lot more from them..."
Wolfgang Herzer (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)
To unite highly skilled musicians in an ensemble for large chamber music programmes, who work together on a regular basis, was the idea of Roland Herret, who founded Atout in 2010. Born in Vienna in 1983, he studied with Juri and Eugenia Polatschek, Josef Hell, Klaus Maetzl and Johannes Meissl in Vienna as well as with Shmuel Ashkenasi in Lübeck. Further impulses he received from Zakhar Bron, Boris Kuschnir and Pierre Amoyal.
In 2013 he joined the Adamas Quartet, with whom he completed various concert tours in Austria and abroad and was awarded the 3rd prize in the international Joseph Haydn chamber music competition in Vienna. He is concert master of the tango orchestra Band-O-Neon and plays with the Strings Inspirations Quintet, a crossover ensemble led by the turkish violinist and composer Serkan Gürkan.
His passion for music he shares as a teacher and is the founder of Musikwoche Grünbach and joined the newly founded Musikwoche Benediktbeuern in 2020.
Chamber music classes
With a lot of passion the musicians of Atout share their love for chamber music with others - a very intense and highly appreciated possibility to enjoy chamber music classes are the music courses in Grünbach and Benediktbeuern, which take place every summer.
Musikwoche Grünbach has become a much-loved meeting point for amateur instrumentalists of all age groups, who want to develop further skills on their instruments and also gain experience in playing chamber music. The musicians of Atout provide coaching which is perfectly coordinated with the needs of the participants.
Chamber music offers a large variety of ensembles: the music classes at Musikwoche Benediktbeuern aims to connect violinists, violists, cellists and guitar players in chamber music groups and hereby discover interesting repertoires.