Esther Steenbergen is internationally renowned both as soloist and ensemble player and is recognized for her fresh approach to the repertoire. She works as a soloist, in ensembles and as an accompanist of singers and instrumentalists. Occasionally she takes part in theater productions. She works on a regular base with baritone Maarten Koningsberger, violinist Theodora Geraets and mezzo soprano Tania Kross. She forms a trio with bass player Eric Calmes and percussionist Enrique Firpi, crossing the classical repertoire with Latin jazz and folklore.
Esther Steenbergen won the first prize at a major international competition and was then overcome by doubts about life as a classical guitarist. She started her journey, sometimes desperately, other times with great pleasure, along many twisted and unusual paths.
She studied musicology, art and culture management, produced radio programs and concert series and, for a while, even worked at an employment agency for stage artists. One day, seated behind a large desk in an office building she realized it was not what she had planned. She fled the building, picked up her guitar again and has traveled the world as a concert musician ever since.
Esther Steenbergen feels equally at home playing classical, contemporary or Latin American music and is celebrated in her work as a soloist and accompanist to singers and instrumentalists.
Amsterdams Gitaartrio, Helenus de Rijke, Olga Franssen, Rudolf Koelman, Maarten Koningsberger, Edith Leerkens, Bart Schneeman, Kees Hülsman, Lucia Swarts, Dominique Citroen, Kim Young Hee, Tania Kross, Mattijs van de Woerd, Niels Meliefste, Geert Chatrou, Bram van Sambeek, Gavriel Lipkind, Katharina Gowers, Amihai Grosz, Marijje van Straalen, Herman van Kogelenberg, Lavinia Meijer, Theodora Geraets, Arco Mandemaker, Isabella Scholte,
theater Orkater, Hein Franssen, Porgy Franssen, Eduard van Regteren Altena, Roef Ragas, Saskia Temmink, Aat Ceelen, Nadia David, Niek Idelenburg, Jacqueline Janssen, Mark Omvlee, Willem de Vries, Karin Jönsthövel, Wiebe Pier Cnossen, Henk Knöps, Wim Konink, Hanneke Hoogerwerf, Hummelinck & Stuurman, Theo Nijland, Daniël Samkalden, Han Römer, Hester Groenleer, Nando Russo, Christiaan van Hemert. Crossover: Eric Calmes, Enrique Firpi, Gustavo Pazos Conde, Roël Calister, Claus Tofft, Eric Vaarzon Morel, Theo de Jong, Theodor Milkov, Oene van Geel, Randal Corsen, Peter Lunow, Rob Dirksen, Nico van der Linden, Jurre Hogervorst
Esther Steenbergen usually plays instruments made by her husband, the well-known luthier, Otto Vowinkel from Amsterdam.
meesters op de gitaar
Since 1998 Esther Steenbergen is producing Meesters op de gitaar, the international guitar series in Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
The former organizer wanted to quit because of a declining public interest. It seemed important to Esther that a venue like Het Concertgebouw would have a guitar series. “Then I’ll do it”, she said and from that moment on, she was, next to being a guitarist, an organizer as well.
Esther Steenbergen studied musicology at the University of Utrecht and classical guitar with Hubert Käppel at the Musikhochschule in Cologne (Germany). She took lessons with the Czech guitarist Pavel Steidl and participated in master classes with Manuel Barrueco and Leo Brouwer from Cuba. While still a student, she won the first prize at the International Music Competition Maria Canals in Barcelona (Spain).