Damask, a vocal quartet
based in the Netherlands, unites four musicians of five nationalities: American-Dutch soprano Katharine Dain, French mezzo-soprano Marine Fribourg, English tenor Guy Cutting, and Canadian baritone Drew Santini. Since 2014, Damask has been giving voice to the stunning but neglected repertoire for vocal quartet, from the piano-accompanied chamber works of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Haydn to music of the 20th and 21st centuries (a cappella and with various instruments) by Milhaud, Messiaen, Stravinsky, Schönberg, Ned Rorem, and David Lang, among others.
In late 2018 Damask released its first full album, titled "O schöne Nacht," featuring luscious 19th-century quartets of Brahms, Herzogenberg, and Jenner and piano pieces by Kirchner, recorded with French pianist Flore Merlin on a Streicher instrument original to the period. The recording was a collaboration with award-winning producer Frerik de Jong of 7 Mountain Records and has been universally praised: “a perfectly executed, imaginative recital … which certainly leaves us wanting (much) more” (OpusKlassiek); “a remarkable fusion of timbres and palpable collaborative energy” (ON Magazine).
The name Damask refers to a luxurious woven textile motif developed in 14th-century Damascus (present-day Syria), a vibrant meeting point of several major international trade routes where materials, ideas, cultures, and art/design practices were freely exchanged. The resulting damask motif, still in use today, is a fitting metaphor for the ensemble, which weaves together different repertoires, cultural traditions, and musical personalities into a strong and beautiful whole.
O schöne Nacht has won the Choc de Classica! We’re delighted that our work on our first album has been rewarded with this prestigious French award. Click here to read the full review of the disc in French or English translation.
On November 30th, 2018, our first full album was released on 7 Mountain Records: O schöne Nacht, a recording of Brahms and contemporaries. Learn more about the recording and order your copy HERE.
The album has been receiving glowing press coverage: “Praise to Damask, who with the French pianist Flore Merlin have ensured a perfectly executed, imaginative recital, recorded flawlessly by Frerik de Jong, which certainly leaves us wanting (much) more.” Read more of what reviewers think of the album.