Fantasticus play baroque music on historical instruments. When Fantasticus perform it is an act of creation that gives old music an immediacy and a relevance to today’s listeners. Fantasticus believe in connecting with their audiences and see each concert as a joint journey of discovery, passing peaks of intensity and intimacy along the way. Knowledge of the style, skill with instruments and a passion to tell the story are trademarks of a Fantasticus performance.
Fantasticus are based in Amsterdam, and since 2010 have been performing in important halls and festivals around Europe. They have also recorded a number of highly praised disks with Resonus Classics. The BBC likened Fantasticus to ‘the young Andrew Manze and his collaborators’ and dubbed them ‘a white-hot addition to the early music scene’. The recording ‘Tartini & Veracini’ received a rare 5-star review in Dutch national newspaper, De Volkskrant. A world-premiere recording of the complete Op.12 quartets by Louis-Gabriel Guillemain was released in August 2018 and features world-renowned traverso player, Wilbert Hazelzet, as a special guest. Gramophone magazine praised this recording as a “top-drawer offering”.
The name of the ensemble refers to their biggest source of inspiration – the mysterious and virtuosic music from the middle of the 17th century known as the ‘stylus fantasticus’. Buxtehude and Biber feature prominently in their repertoire, as does music for violin and viola da gamba in general.
Rie Kimura – Baroque Violin
Rie Kimura is a baroque violinist from Japan. She won the 2010 Premio Bonporti Baroque Violin Competition in Italy where she was also awarded the public prize. Her solo violin playing has been praised for it’s “strong personality imbued with expression and rhetoric,” (The Strad) while her outstanding skills as a chamber musician mean that she is a violinist very much in demand. Alongside Fantasticus, of which she is a founder member, Rie plays regularly with the likes of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan, Apollo Ensemble and De Nederlandse Bachvereniging. Her first solo recording, “Tartini & Veracini” was released in June 2015 receiving a rare 5-star review from Dutch national newspaper, De Volkskrant.
Rie Studied baroque violin with Lucy van Dael at the Amsterdam Conservatory where she graduated “cum laude”. She has won numerous prizes throughout her career including the top prize in the 2008 Yamanashi Early Music Competition (Japan) and various ensemble prizes at the Bruges and Amsterdam Early Music Competitions.
More recently she performs as a duo partner of harpsichordist and fortepianist Pieter-Jan Belder with whom she recorded the complete violin sonatas of C.P.E. Bach. This recording was received with great acclaim in Holland as well as abroad – De Volkskrant included the CD in their selection of the 50 best CD productions of 2017. New recordings of violin sonatas by J.S. Bach as well as Mozart are scheduled, again with Pieter-Jan Belder.
Robert Smith – Viola da gamba
Robert Smith is an English baroque cellist and viola da gambist. In 2012 he won the Bach-Abel Viola da Gamba Competition in Köthen, taking the 1st Prize, Audience Prize and Special Prize. His performance of a heavy-metal transcription was especially noted. Robert’s ensemble, Fantasticus, has received wide critical acclaim for its recent recordings of stylus fantasticus and French baroque music. In 2013 his playing was described by The Strad as, “Intensely expresive, highly dramatic.” In 2014 Robert released his first solo recording of music for viola da gamba, ‘Tickle the Minikin’. The recording received many enthusiastic reviews and was BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice in August 2014. His 2017 CD, The Excellency of Hand, is a discovery of English viola da gamba duos together with gamba-virtuoso Paolo Pandolfo. In August 2017 Robert released of one of the first ever recordings of Telemann’s newly discovered Fantasias for solo viola da gamba, which The Observer reviewed as “playing of exceptional quality”. The BBC Music Magazine awarded it a full 5 stars for both performance and recording. A live concert recording of the Telemann Fantasias was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show on 31st December 2017.
Robert studied Viola de Gamba with Mieneke van der Velden (Amsterdam) and Paolo Pandolfo (Basel). He also studied baroque cello with Wouter Möller, Jaap ter Linden and Viola da Hoog. He was principal cellist for the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2005/6. Robert now plays with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and the ensemble Fantasticus, amongst many others, from his base in Amsterdam.