Simone van der Giessen was born in Amsterdam and moved to the UK in 2002 to continue her violin studies with Jan Repko at the Royal Northern College of Music. It was in Manchester, that as a founding member of the Navarra String Quartet, chamber music became the centre of her musical life. In 2004 she began studying viola with Predrag Katanic and after graduating in June 2006 with First Class Honours she won the RNCM’s Cecil Aronowitz Prize for viola and performed Walton’s concerto for viola with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra.
With the Navarra quartet, Simone has performed internationally for 16 years. There have been many highlights in her years with the Navarra quartet, a few of them performing in the Sydney Operahouse, playing at the Esterhazy castle, and studying with Ferenc Rados.
They have been awarded the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award, a Borletti- Buitoni Trust Fellowship, a Musica Viva tour and prizes at the Melbourne, Florence and at the Banff International String Quartet Competition.
Simone is now a part of the Elias quartet. This stringquartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. They have recorded the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets with Jonathan Biss, a Britten Quartets disc for Sonimage, a Mendelssohn disc for ASV Gold and most recently Schumann string quartets for Outhere. Their two mixed programme recordings for Wigmore Live were praised unanimously, the first winning a BBC Music Magazine Newcomers award. The final volume of their complete Beethoven Quartet Cycle had just been released. In 2020 they will return to the US with a Beethoven cycle apart from fulfilling a busy concert schedule across Europe.
Outside of the quartet, Simone is in much demand as a chamber musician and is frequently invited to perform with various musicians and ensembles such as the Nash ensemble, Britten Sinfonia, Ensemble 360, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Simone’s biggest influences came from her professors Jan Repko, Predrag Katanic and Chris Rowland at the RNCM and David Takeno at the GSMD. Other musical influences came from studies at festivals and schools like the Cologne Hochschüle and Chamber Studio with the AlbanBerg Quartet, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Thomas Riebl, Gyorgy Kurtag, Eberhard Feltz and Ferenc Rados.