BiSS QUARTET

The Quartet

BiSS, or Boho International Strings Soloists, emerged from Boho Strings, the Belgium-based innovative string orchestra, which sees classical music as a source for societal self-reflection and change. BiSS consists of Boho Strings 4 section leaders.

They perform regularly at venues across Belgium. As quartet in residence at the Southampton Summer Strings Festival in Southampton, NY, they also take an active interest in education. This coming summer, BiSS will undertake a concert tour in greater New York following their residency at the Southampton Summer Strings Festival.

BiSS is known for the eclecticism of its programs and the diversity of its concerts, while continually trying to change the traditional classical concert idea.

Pieter Jansen

Pieter Jansen (b.1983) began violin classes at the age of 7 with Koen Rens at the Academy of Music of Turnhout. He continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp under Guido De Neve. He was conferred with a Master’s degree summa cum laude. In January 2006, he was awarded the ‘Oranjebeurs’ scholarship.

He has participated in master classes with violinists such as Charles-André Linale, Raphael Oleg, Albrecht Breuinger and Renaud Capuçon.

Pieter is concertmaster of BOHO Strings, Casco Phil, Volksopera and the Jef Neve Chamber Orchestra and is regularly invited to perform with the Symphony Orchestra of the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie, the national orchestra of Lille, the Flemish Symphony Orchestra and Le Concert Olympique.
Pieter is also a keen chamber musician. Since specialising in chamber music with the Artemis Quartet at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, he has participated in masterclasses with the Artis Quartet, the Skampa Quartet, Heine Müller, Ralf Gothoni and Andras Keller.

Pieter has won several chamber music competitions: Promotie Vlaamse Muziek en Musicus (2003), Gouden Vleugels (2009) and Supernova (2014). A former member of ARSIS4 and Tana Quartet, he now plays with Trio Khaldei, BiSS Quartet and Quatuor Romantique.

He is very much in demand in the field of contemporary music. Since 2006 Pieter has been first violin in Spectra, in 2016 he joined Ensemble Multilatérale in Paris and he is regularly invited by Hermes, Notabu and Ictus. 

Pieter has already played in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia at numerous festivals and concert halls such as: Musica Strasbourg, World Music Days in Sydney, the Traiettorie Festival in Parma, the festivals of Aix-en Provence and Avignon, Wigmore Hall in London, the Louvre Auditorium in Paris, the Venice Biennial, the Donostia Festival in San Sebastian, the Ravello Festival in Naples, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires...

Pieter Jansen plays a violin by Marcus Snoeck made in Brussels in 1742 and a bow by Eugène Sartory.

Jessica Tortorice

Jessica Tortorice, a native of Southampton, NY, is widely regarded as a versatile violinist, both as orchestral player and chamber musician. She studied at the Juilliard School Pre-college division, the Royal College of Music in London for undergraduate performance studies, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, where she obtained her masters degree in performance. Among her teachers are Daniel Phillips, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Lewis Kaplan, Lisanne Soeterbroek and Marek Kowalski. She has also performed in masterclasses for Itzhak Perlman, Jamie Laredo, Pinchas Zukerman, and Gordon Nikolitch.

Upon graduating from the Aaron Copland School she won the assistant principal second violin position with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and subsequently the concertmaster position with Skagit Opera. Jessica has been a substitute player at Virginia Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic and English National Opera. Most recently she joined the ranks of the New York Philharmonic for their summer concert series, and she performs regularly with the orchestras of La Monnaie Opera (Brussels), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liege, Belgian National Orchestra, and Brussels Philharmonic. Now based in Belgium, she is a permanent member of the chamber string orchestra BOHO Players.

During her years in London, Jessica toured frequently with her former quartet, the Norris Quartet. At the Aaron Copland School of Music, she was one of the founding members of the new music ensemble InnoVox. When first moving to Belgium she was member of the quartet Arel Ensemble. Currently, she is second violinist in the string quartet, BiSS (boho international string soloists quartet).

Jessica is the artistic director of the very successful Southampton Strings Festival, which offers dedicated string teaching to young students each August, set in the beautiful Hamptons.

Jessica currently plays on a beautiful Joseph Gagliano from the 1700s.

Maxime Desert

Born in 1981, Maxime Desert began playing the violin at the Conservatoire de Valenciennes at the age of 7. After a gold medal at the Douai Conservatory, he turned to the viola and received the Excellence and Chamber Music Prize at the Conservatoire National de Région de Rueil-Malmaison in 2005, in Françoise Gneri's class. He also benefited from the advice of Tasso Adamopoulos and Pierre-Henri Xuereb. 

In 2005, he entered the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels in the class of Thérèse-Marie Gilissen where he obtained his Master's degree with great distinction in June 2010. He then pursued his pedagogical training and June 2011 received his Aggregation of Higher Secondary Education with Distinction. 

He has also benefited from the advice of great masters such as the Jerusalem Quartet, Alfred Brendel, Gabor Takacs, Andrés Keller, David Alberman, Nicholas Kirchen, Natalia Prischepenko, Eberhard Feltz, and others.

From 2010 to 2019, he was part of the Tana Quartet, giving many concerts and participating in renowned festivals such as Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, Darmstadt, Clef de Soleil, Festival Debussy, Villa Médicis, and Les Musicales de Chalosse.

He is a laureate of the Verbier Festival Chamber Music Academy in 2012 and HSBC laureate of the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2013 with the Tana Quartet.

His recordings of the complete quartets of Jacques Lenot, Steve Reich and Philip Glass have been praised by the press and rewarded with a special prize from the Charles Cros Accademy and with a CHOC CLASSICA award. As a pioneer in contemporary creation, the Tana Quartet has been awarded the Fuga Prize of the Union of Belgian Composers and the Octave de la musique in the contemporary music category. The Quartet has also collaborated with many composers including Yann Robin, Raphaël Cendo, Franck Bedrossian, Yves Chauris, Ondrëj Adamek, Karol Beffa, Nicolas Bacri, Philippe Boesmans, and others.

As part of the Academy of Contemporary Music of the Aix en Provence Festival 2011, he was invited to create the Trio for voice, viola and piano "Mes Heures de Fièvre" by Karol Beffa. In 2017, he played Rothko Chapel by Morton Feldman at Royaumont Abbey with the ensemble Les Métaboles.

In 2019, Maxime joined BiSS Quartet (boho international strings soloists).

As a freelance musician, Maxime Desert collaborates with various orchestras such as the orchestra of La Monnaie in Brussels, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège, the Brussels Chamber Orchestra, and is a member and principal violist of Boho Strings and Multilateral ensembles in Paris.

Maxime Desert play a viola of François Lejeune of 1764.

Francis Mourey

Francis Mourey's passion about music comes from his early childhood. Beginning the cello at 7 in the Conservatoire National de Région de Besançon, he quickly entered the Conservatoire National de Région de Dijon, studying under Laurent Lagarde. At the age of 17 he was awarded the Diplôme d’Études Musicales with highest honours and, a year later, the Diplôme de Perfectionnement with distinction. In 2003 he was accepted into the Royal Conservatory of Brussels to study with Marie Hallynck and in 2008 was awarded a bachelor’s degree with first class honours. He continued with postgraduate studies under France Springuel in the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, graduating with distinction in 2009.

In 2003, he was the unanimous winner of the Raynaud-Zufluh prize, and in 2009 was awarded first prize in the international Servais competition.

During his training, Francis Mourey received lessons from Mark Drobinsky, Edmond Baert, Guy Danel, Lluis Claret, Michel Strauss, Alexander Kniazev, and Petr Prause.
Curious about all the aspects of his art, he also studied conducting under Jean-Sébastien Béreau, organ under Jean-Pierre Leguay and composition under Guy Leclercq.

Francis Mourey plays in many ensembles, from large orchestras like the Belgian National Orchestra and the Brussels Philharmonic, to more specific ensembles such as Boho Strings or Les Métamorphoses Orchestra. He also performs as soloist with various orchestras, under the direction of Martin Yates, Jean-Sébastien Béreau, Raphaël Feye…

However, the main part of his activity is dedicated to Chamber Music. A member of Trio Khaldei, BiSS Quartet, and the cello octet "La Cheville Affolée", he also plays in duo with pianist Aude Vallée. With these ensembles, he regularly performs in the main Belgian halls such as Bozar (Brussels), Brugge Concertgebouw, DeSingel (Antwerp); and abroad: in France, Netherlands , Slovenia, the Baltic countries, Singapore…
He has also made several recordings with these ensembles for Canvas, Klara, Musiq3 and the label Paraty.

Francis Mourey is very invested in teaching, which is a unique moment of musical exchange with the musicians of tomorrow. He is teaching assistant at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels in the cello and chamber music departments.
 He plays a cello made by Tanguy Fraval in 2014.