The last twenty-three years has seen Matangi grow into one of the most prominent and versatile ensembles in the Dutch music landscape and on the international stage. Its four members are all independent and distinctive musicians, but what binds them is an unbridled creative curiosity: for new music styles, and for as yet unknown repertoire and unexpected collaborations with other art forms, from cabaret to dance.
The quartet has never limited itself to one style of music since its foundation in 1999 at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and the Rotterdam Conservatory. It has always embarked on new adventures, from classical to jazz and from dance to pop.
The Matangis have shared the stage with top classical musicians such as Maarten Koningsberger, Tania Kross, Paolo Giacometti, Severin von Eckardstein and Quatuor Ébène, and they have also ventured into crossover projects, including with comedians Herman van Veen and Youp van 't Hek, with bandoneon player Carel Kraayenhof, with jazz trumpeter Eric Vloeimans and pianist Martin Fondse, jazz pianist Michiel Braam, DJ Kypski, jazz vocalists Mathilde Santing and Ruben Hein and singer-songwriters Lori Lieberman and Tom McRae. With such pioneering forays outside of classical music, Matangi knows how to enthuse new audiences for the string quartet.
The quartet has appeared at numerous festivals, including the Delft Chamber Music Festival, the Grachtenfestival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the International Conservatoire Festival in St Petersburg, North Sea Jazz and the Liberation Festival Utrecht.
With their own annual (Un)heard Music Festival in The Hague, the Matangi Quartet surprises listeners with music that they have often never heard. They shine a spotlight on works that are rarely if ever heard in Dutch concert venues, and they also make connections with more well-known repertoire.
In 2002 the quartet was awarded the prestigious Kersjes van de Groenekan Prize, which is awarded annually to exceptional talent in Dutch chamber music.
All four musicians perform on instruments of Dutch workmanship. The cello and first violin have been provided on loan by the Dutch National Musical Instrument Foundation.
Matangi has released several CDs with Challenge Records International, Matangi Music, and Deutsche Grammophon. Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad wrote about their most recent CD, Canto Ostinato, Strings Attached (2020): “Matangi is emerging as the ideal interpreter. Anyone who has heard this quartet’s performance of Beethoven's through-composed Fourteenth String Quartet knows that these strings can weave a hypnotic long arc of tension. They also manage to evoke the addictive enchantment of Canto Ostinato.”