''Harp next level'' - jury Dutch Classical Talent 2023

Joost Willemze (1996) is one of the leading Dutch harpists. At age 16 he was awarded the first prize in the national finals of the Princess Christina Competition in The Hague. In 2017 he won the International Harp Competition in Porto and one year later the Italian competition Suoni d'Arpa. In 2022 he recorded his debut cd with AVROTROS Klassiek. In 2023 he made a tour of the main concert halls in The Netherlands and won the prestigious Dutch Classical Talent Award, the jury praised his playing as 'harp next level'. This summer he won the 'Grachtenfestivalprijs', making him Artist in Residence at the 2024 edition of the Grachtenfestival, the largest classical music festival in The Netherlands. Recently he made his solo debut with the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Debussy's 'Danses Sacrée et profane' at the main stage of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In March this year he will record a cd with the Italian label TACTUS, covering works by Italian composers. The Dutch newspaper NRC recently named him a rising star for 2024.

Joost has played the harp since he was seven years old. In 2008 he started studying at the Academie Muzikaal Talent with Erika Waardenburg and Edward Witsenburg. Recently he obtained his Master's degree from the Amsterdam Conservatory with excellence.

Joost has won numerous prizes and awards at the International Harp Competition in Wales, the Gerswhin Competition in New York, the Concours Godefroid in Tournai, the Reinl Wettbewerb in Munich, the Bertold Hummel Competition in Würzburg and the Korea International Harp Competition in Seoul.

Joost performs extensively throughout the Netherlands and abroad. Recent performances include concerts at the Schiermonikoogfestival, the Dutch Harp Festival, the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam and items on radio. He also performed at the Italian ministeries of Culture and Education in Rome and at the Rio Harp Festival in Brazil. Joost has been a soloist in several televised concerts, performing the Dittersdorf harp concerto with the Dutch Youth Orchestra and the Ginastera concerto with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra. He also played a recital on Portuguese radio Antena 2, live from the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.

As an orchestra musician he regularly plays with the Dutch National Youth Orchestra (NJO). Since 2022 he is a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO). He also gained experience playing with the Netherlands Philarmonic Orchestra (NedPho) and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR). Joost is also an enthustiastic chamber music player, one of the highlights being a performance with star violinist Renaud Capuçon at the Konzerthaus Berlin.

Apart from his musical education Joost studied Greek and Latin at the Accademia Vivarium Novum in Rome, immersing himself in the world of antiquity. He then pursued his studies of the Classics at Leiden University. He is especially fascinated by ancient poetry and Greek mythology, topics he succesfully interweaved in his recent concert program ORPHEUS, focusing on the story of the Greek poet Orpheus and his beloved Eurydice. Joost is also very passionate about language learning and aims to present his future concerts in a great variety of languages.