Pamela Smits is the founder and Artistic Director of the Foundation Vriendenconcerten since 2013. She is the driving force and “heart and soul” of the concert series in the Zuiderkerk. With her expertise and versatile (international) career, she knows what it takes to perform on stage at the highest level. Playing music is her passion and she is happy to share it with her musical friends. She invites top musicians to perform at seven concerts per year and with their excellence and enthusiasm they create an intimate ambience in which they engage the audience.
Commissioned by the Board of the Foundation Vriendenconcerten, she gives shape to the concert series in the Zuiderkerk. Having served as a guest pianist and programmer for 2 years, Tobias Borsboom stays with us to support Pamela in his role of the Artistic Advisor.
Canadian born Dutch cellist Pamela Smits has received wide acclaim for her phenomenal command of technique, expression and her distinctive musical presence and charisma. She enjoys a varied career, which combines appearances as a cello soloist, chamber musician and educator. “Smits’s technical wizardry is nothing short of amazing, but it’s secured in service to an equally instinctive musicality”-American Fanfare. Her extensive repertoire reflects her broad musical interests and encompasses works from the Baroque and Romantic periods to contemporary music.
She has toured extensively throughout Europe and elsewhere, performing in the United States, South America, the Antilles, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Israel and Finland, and played recitals in the kleine zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Meistersaal in Berlin and at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. As a soloist she has appeared with orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, performing cello concertos by C.Ph.E. Bach, Beethoven's Tripleconcerto, Boccherini,van Gompel, Gulda, Händel for 2 cellos, Haydn, Hans Kox, Schumann, Tchaikovsky’s Rococovariations and Vivaldi for violin&cello.
She has several world-premières to her name. In 2013 she gave the world-premiere of the 2nd cello solo sonata by Hans Kox dedicated to her, and in 2014 the world premiere of the Requiem ‘Infinite Compassion’ by Dutch composer Frank van Gompel for cello solo, choir and orchestra, specially written for her.
“The Sonata, dedicated to her, fits her like a glove: musical extremes that demand great technical skill.. The soulful playing of Smits inexorably impresses that despair upon the listener...The last movement provides ample scope to Smits’ intuitive almost improvising way of playing.” -Haarlems Dagblad, the Netherlands.
In 2010 she was invited for three seasons by the Posthuis Theater in Heerenveen (Nl) to create her own annual series of 7 concerts, the ‘Pamela Smits and Friends Concerts’ where she performed with acclaimed artists like violinist Isabelle van Keulen and trumpettist Peter Masseurs and organized masterclasses. She regularly gives recitals, such as with German pianist Sabine Simon, with whom she has been collaborating for almost 25 years, performing in joint recitals in various tours together in the USA, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. She has been collaborating intensively with Dutch pianist Tobias Borsboom ever since 2017. Their playing was immediately met with great enthusiasm by the press and public : “ They enchanted with their playing ..There two poets of the keys and strings had found each other” . -Westdeutsche Zeitung, Germany.
She has recorded several CDs; All time Favourites with pianist Maarten den Hengst, Die Todesfrau by Hans Kox with flautist Abbie de Quant and the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Felix Austria and The French Cello with Sabine Simon. She recorded a CD with Tobias Borsboom, scheduled for release in 2021 to include pieces by Liszt, Bartók, Popper and Kodály Sonata for Solo Cello.
An avid chamber musician, Ms. Smits has collaborated with acclaimed artists such as the Miami String Quartet, clarinettist Michael Collins, pianists Paolo Giacometti and Jee Won Oh, violinists Isabelle van Keulen, Jaime Laredo, Lucian Leonard Raiciof, Elisabeth Perry and Daniel Rowland, and she is the founding cellist of the Pentachord Ensemble; with violinist Emi Ohi Resnick, violist Mikhail Zemtsov, double bass player Quirijn van Regteren Altena and pianist Maarten den Hengst; and the Voyager Trio, with saxophonist Arno Bornkamp and pianist Tobias Borsboom.
In 2008 she taught a masterclass as a demonstration via a high speed internet connection in collaboration with Internet2, INHolland and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. She has given masterclasses in Germany, the United States and the Netherlands, such as at Duke University, Newark Academy in New York (USA), the NRC Café in Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Akademie für Tonkunst in Darmstadt, and was for 4 seasons the cello and chamber music teacher of the summercourse at the Landesmusikakademie Hessen in Schlitz (Germany). Having taught since the age of 16, she also served as a teaching assistant to Jirí Prchal at the Stedelijk Conservatory Leeuwarden for three years. From 1994 to 1997, she was the principal cellist of the New World Symphony directed by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Ms. Smits studied with Czech cellist Jiří Prchal at Stedelijk Conservatory Leeuwarden, with Jean Decroos (principal cellist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the time) at Sweelinck Conservatory Amsterdam, and with Janos Starker at Indiana University, Bloomington (USA). She participated in summer courses and masterclasses given by Anner Bylsma, Lynn Harrell, Steven Isserlis, Paul Tortelier, Miloš Sádlo, Ivan Monighetti, Saša Večtomov Ivan Monighetti, Natalia Gutman and the renowned pianist/teacher György Sebök in Ernen, Switzerland.
About pianist Tobias Borsboom...
"I am a romantic, as a pianist and as a person. I know the desire to wander, always curious, with an open look for the unknown" - Tobias Borsboom.
Tobias Borsboom distinguishes himself as one of the Netherlands' most notable young pianists with his refined pianistic qualities and poetic, colourful interpretations, performing extensively both as a soloist and in other capacities.
In 2015 he made his debut in all the major concert halls of the Netherlands as a soloist in Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F with the Dutch Student Orchestra conducted by Quentin Clare. With violinist Piotr Jasiurkowski he played the Masters on Tour series of The International Holland Music Sessions (2013-2014), and in 2015, after being nominated twice, he won the prestigious Dutch Classical Talent Award for his solo performance as well as the audience award with his duo partner Piotr Jasiurkowski.
Tobias Borsboom has been successful at several other competitions. With Piotr Jasiurkowski he won the audience award and the Who's Next Award at the Almere Chamber Music Competition (NL, 2015) and he was awarded first prize at the Grand Dominique (NL, 2012). Additionally, he was a prize winner at the Young Pianist Foundation Piano Competition (3rd prize and prize for best interpretation of a Dutch work, NL, 2010), the Concertgebouw Entree Kamermuziek Concours (NL, 2006) and the Prinses Christina Concours (NL, 2005).
He performed as a soloist with orchestra playing concertos by Beethoven, Schumann, Poulenc, Grieg en Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and performed in concerts in Poland, Germany, Indonesia and Japan. With pianoduo partner Yukiko Hasegawa he recently got chosen as one of the Shizuoka Masters “Shizuoka no meishutachi” in Japan.
“Romantic voyager who really makes you ponder.
In the universe of pianist Tobias Borsboom, notes evoke many words and images. And as all good art should do, Borsboom's story not only makes you listen, but also makes you think. "-NRC Newspaper (NL)
He is a highly sought after pianist on many concert platforms such as the International Holland Music Sessions, the Storioni Festival, the Peter de Grote Festival and the Inernational chamber Music Festival Utrecht. His solo recitals reveal his interest in contemporary music and his debut album Wanderer (Label 7 Mountains 2017) has received great acclaim in the press and media.
“ ..we find ourselves in the imaginary and diverse world that does justice to the great pianistic qualities of Borsboom. (..) he does whatever he wants with it, associations and connections appear as if by magic. Isn’t that synonymous with sorcery?” – Opus Klassiek (NL)
In 2013, Tobias Borsboom completed his Master's degree at the Conservatoire of Amsterdam, where he studied with Jan Wijn. He has taken lessons with such renowned pianists as Paolo Giacometti, Maria João Pires, Klaus Hellwig, Jan Boguslaw Strobel, Georg Friedrich Schenck and Geoffrey Douglas Madge.
Tobias Borsboom performs regularly at many festivals, and concert venues in The Netherlands, and abroad. Additionally, he performs regularly in various theatre productions, both for adults and for children, of which the latest is a music theatre production called “The Schubertians & The Housewarming 1826”.
Along with his busy concert life, he serves on the faculty of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (Conservatorium Amsterdam)