About the Octet

Cello Octet Amsterdam is a unique and multifaceted ensemble that has become a household name both nationally and internationally.

Currently, the octet consists of Claire Bleumer, Esther Torrenga, Genevieve Verhage, Alistair Sung, Rares Mihailescu, René van Munster, Sanne Bijker and Sanne van der Horst.

Cello Octet Amsterdam is an adventurous collective of cellists that stands for new music and interdisciplinary performances. In the contemporary music world, the Octet has become a household name through collaborations with composers such as Philip Glass, Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Theo Loevendie, Mauricio Kagel, Michael Gordon and Kate Moore. Arvo Pärt, on hearing the premiere of his first piece for the Octet said, “The Octet is a treasure, I discovered this ensemble 10 years too late.”


Beyond being a tight-knit, world-class chamber music ensemble, Cello Octet Amsterdam is also comfortable exploring other roles. The Octet is equally at home performing as pioneering theatre performers in Cello Warriors (co-production with children’s theatre company, Oorkaan), or as a rock band in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Cello Band.


Cello Octet Amsterdam is committed to the belief that musicians are at the heart of society and have a responsibility to contribute to social and political discussions. As a result, the Octet regularly enters into collaborations with composers, theatre-makers, choreographers and social organizations as a means of exploring broader themes and ideas. Instant Happiness and Instant Love (co-productions with Via Berlin), dealt with topics including consumer society and human trafficking while more recently, the Octet has been focussing on themes of diversity and migration.


Cello Octet Amsterdam has performed on stages and festivals across Europe, the United States, Central and South America, Asia and the Middle East.


“…this ensemble is a treasure indeed, a fine example to the world of music… Everywhere I play: Brazil, Japan, the US, people want to talk to me about the Cello Octet…” (Yo-Yo Ma)


Cello Octet Amsterdam is supported by Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst

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