CELLO

Hallé Orchestra, Walton Cello Concerto

“Van der Heijden does not often go for in-yer-face expression, but her playing has a lovely soulful tone that suits this piece perfectly. The opening movement came across quite sleepily nostalgic, and the hyperactive scherzo style middle one had a fairy-like quality in the solo (and lightness and grace in the adroit orchestral contributions). But the first solo variation of the third movement (one of two that are like cadenzas in effect) showed that she can deliver a big sound and masses of attack when required. It was playing of remarkable resource and range.”

Robert Beale, The Arts Desk, October 2021 (****)

“New and The Hallé were joined by Laura van der Heijden for William Walton’s Cello Concerto, the piece with which she shot to fame when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2012. It is obviously a work that is close to her. She played beautifully, reveling in the long melodic lines that were such a feature of the first movement in particular. In a pre-concert interview, van der Heijden said that she often thought of music in terms of images, and the beginning of this concerto suggested sunlight reflecting off rippling water, which for me encapsulated it nicely. The second movement was livelier: Walton handled the interplay between orchestra and soloist with a light touch, deftly switching from one mood to another. The finale is in the form of a theme and variations (designated “improvisations” here), of which the second and fourth are solo cadenzas with a purely orchestral section separating them. This gave van der Heijden the opportunity to show off her technical skill before leading the work to its calm and introspective conclusion.”

Peter Connors, Bachtrack, October 2021 (****)

“Laura van der Heijden is described as ‘a very special emerging talent’ and having now witnessed her first-hand demonstrating such adept and expressive playing, that is a description I can definitely endorse … With unfailing support from the Hallé, van der Heijden made one question why the concerto is so neglected. From the first note I was gripped by the soloist’s decidedly assured performance. Striking was her outstanding phrasing and lavish consideration to every note of this intensely romantic work.”

Michael Cookson, Seen and Heard, October 2021


Debut CD “1948” (Russian works for cello and piano), released in 2018

An Imaginative and impressive debut.
“Laura van der Heijden dazzels in both rare and well-known cello sonatas from the Soviet era, says Daniel Jaffé. From the first, richly resinous tone of the cello solo that opens Prokofiev’s Sonata, one senses that this album will be a treat… as these heart-felt and compelling performances by Van der Heijden and Limonov demonstrate, these are not cowed and dutifully conservative works. The Prokofiev, both melodious and neo-classical in form and proportion – like his Second Violin Sonata – is full of coulours and subtle detail which become more apparent over many hearings, each appearing to reveal new emotional vistas…”

Recording of the Month, BBC Music Magazine (March 2018)


Martinu: Cello Concerto No. 1 (Pietri Inkinen and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Bradford St George’s Hall)

“Along came [Martinu’s] Cello Concerto No 1, with Laura van der Heijden setting her stamp on the solo part with an authoritative first entry. She went on to bring out the folky character of her second theme, and duet engagingly, …adding another layer of emotional complexity. Her plangent, lamenting tone was echoed in the poignant, still episode in the midst of the finale’s bustling energy – those dance rhythms again – delivered with panache.”

Classical Music Daily (November, 2019)


Dvorak: Cello Concerto (Alpesh Chauhan and Orkest van het Oosten, Netherlands tour)

“Breathtaking lyricism characterized the adagio of Dvorak’s cello concerto… she has everything within reach to become a cello diva … Van der Heijden produces an honest, full sound from her cello, without needing any kind of theatre in her movements. The nuance that she gives every phrase betrays her ear for the full spectrum of atmospheres hidden in the piece.”

Frederike Berntsen, Trouw, April 2019

“Van der Heijden’s talent is crystal clear… she provided the opening theme with a deep, roaring sound of expressiveness. Her tone was buzzing and whispering.”

NRC, March 2019