Nymphes et Monstres

About Us

The Amsterdam-based collective Nymphes et Monstres was founded by four musicians with a passion for French Baroque music, and a strong drive to bring this music closer to modern-day audiences. With a strong emphasis on a historical approach to emotional expression, we have made extra-musical material (such as declamation and movement) an integral part of our performances, with the goal of making the emotions expressed in the music more familiar to our contemporary viewers.

Despite being deeply rooted in historical performance practice, we aim at a performance style that is modern on a very deep level, reaching beyond the circle of traditional concert-goers and usual concert venues. We believe that the French Baroque repertoire, as it is usually performed today, is often very difficult for audiences to grasp, thus becoming a niche for connoisseurs. The unique performance style we have created is not only intended to break this boundary, but also to show that new and old can be made inextricable from one another rather than imposing them superficially on each other.

Our first steps were made in a collaboration with MAPA - the Haarlem based Moving Academy for Performing Arts - where we began developing the movement and staging style that has become a staple of our unique performances. Since then, we have performed in major venues such as the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Utrecht Early Music Fringe Festival, and the MAfestival Brugge, along with several concert tours in the UK. We are proud that audiences, including those not accustomed to baroque music, have always found our performances both engaging and exciting.

Our soprano, Kat, has used our work as a case study for her Master's research, which was focused on historical gesture and declamation as a tool for musical expression. Under the coaching of Prof. Jed Wentz, she has managed to further our understanding of how we can bring our beloved repertoire closer to our audience.

Meet the Ensemble

Flute icon Dorota Matejova
Dorota Matejová

Dorota is our traverso player, currently based in Den Haag and originally from Slovakia. Interested in a broader perspective on art, she followed her love for the traverso and moved to Amsterdam a few years ago to study with Prof. Jed Wentz, completing her bachelor studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Dorota has also recently completed her Master's degree at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague with Kate Clark and Wilbert Hazelzet, receiving a summa cum laude for her Master's recital.

Besides music, Dorota has a passion for movement and physical performance, and she has been working and training over the past few years under the guidance of Virág Dezso (artistic director of Studio MAPA Nederland). In spring 2017, she co-created her first physical music-theatre performance, Sounds behind the Closed Window, based on her own poetry. Dorota is the inspiration and driving force behind the incorporation of movement in our performances.

Cello icon Yotam Haran
Yotam Haran

Our cellist, Yotam, is currently based in Tel Aviv. He completed his Bachelor's on Cello with Zvi Plesser and Michal Korman in Jerusalem, then moving to the Netherlands to pursue studies in historically informed performance. He studied with Prof. Viola de Hoog at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, completing his Master's, and later continued taking lessons with Dr. Job ter Haar. For a short period, he also studied historical acting with Prof. Jed Wentz, taking part in the Amsterdam Historical Acting Collective's sessions.

Yotam has been a member of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra since 2010, and was a member of the Zeehelden Quartet, with which he took part in the Evolution of the String Quartet program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (with a full scholarship). His favorite repertoire is French music, from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, though he often enjoys performing other music as well, including with contemporary singer-songwriter Orel Tzafarov.

Lute icon Punto Bawono
Punto Bawono

Punto, our ever-curious lutenist, is currently specializing in the baroque lute with Paul Beier at the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado (Milan, Italy). He completed his bachelor studies on theorbo, lute, and baroque guitar with Mike Fentross and Joachim Held at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague.

Punto has played in master classes for many renowned musicians, including Hopkinson Smith, Peter Croton, Michael Chance, Emma Kirkby and David Miller. He also received coaching on historical performance practice and chamber music from specialists such as Ryo Terakado, Frank de Bruine, Lucia Swarts, Wilbert Hazelzet, Lorenzo Ghielmi, and Susan Williams. He performs regularly as a soloist, accompanist and basso continuo player, and he is very much appreciated not only for his fantastic musicianship, but also for his endless knowledge.

Singer icon Kat Carson
Kat Carson

Our soprano, Kat, is English by origin and currently based in Amsterdam. She specialises in Early music, with a passion for the Baroque repertoire, and has worked extensively in the UK and the Netherlands. After graduating with a first class degree from Sussex University, she moved to Amsterdam and completed her Master in Music Performance at FONTYS Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. Her thesis was based on interdisciplinary work focused on a combination of Historical Gesture and Modern Movement, an approach that is central to many of Nymphes et Monstres' performances.

Kat has worked with various ensembles, from The Sixteen and Musica Secreta (whose CD ‘Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter’ she also sang on) to the Galician Group Resonet. She has also performed in some of the largest venues in the UK and the Netherlands, from the Royal Albert Hall to Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht, as well as on both British Radio (radio 3) and Dutch radio (radio 4) on multiple occasions.