Black Opals are a Spanish project, born in Madrid in 2016. Formed by violinist Alma Olite, violist Ana Valero, cellist Elva Trullén and pianist Louiza Hamadi, the quartet performs on a regular basis since 2017. Seeking for an exciting experience for the audience, Black Opals dives in the research of the existing repertoire for the ensemble, and at the same time in the development of new original arrangements. As a result, they offer a unique concert program, a journey through time, that brings classical music closer to a bigger audience.
Violinist Alma Olite presented herself for the first time to an audience at the age of eight years.
Since then, she has been performing concerts as a soloist and chamber music player in several countries of Europe, Latin America and in Canada.
Before entering the prestigious Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid to study with Zakhar Bron and his assistant Yuri Volguin (2005-2011), she studied under the direction of Valeri Gazarian. During her studies in Madrid, Alma was awarded by the Queen Sofía of Spain as the most distinguished student of Zakhar Bron’s Chair. As well she was the 1st violinist of the Albeniz Quartet, which was awarded as the most distinguished string quartet for 3 years, in the Chairs of Rainer Schmidt, Alasdair Tait, and Heime Müller. They also had the opportunity to work intensively with all the members of the Alban Berg Quartet, Belcea Quartet and also with Walter Levin, Menahem Pressler, and Ferenc Rados among others.
Alma finished her studies with a Master Specialized in Soloist Performance at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zürich, with Zakhar Bron (2011-2013).
Participating in National and International violin competitions, she obtained the 1st Prize at Vila de Salou Competition, 1st Prize at Teodoro Ballo Competition, 2nd Prize at Juventudes Musicales de España and the Bronze Medal at the International Wieniawski-Lipinski Competition, among others.
During the years 2013 and 2014, Alma was a member of the Jubilee Quartet based in London. They won the 2nd prize at the Karol Szymanowski International Quartet Competition in Poland. The quartet made many tours around Europe and Canada (with two remarkable concerts in the Wigmore Hall). They had their studies in the Instituto de Cámara of Madrid with Prof. Günter Pichler and the Hochschule für Musik in Basel with Prof. Rainer Schmidt. They were selected as “Quartet in Residence” in Aldeburgh they participated in the prestigious MISQA (McGill International String Quartet Academy) in Canada.
Alma is a passionate performer of 20th century’s music. It is also important to her to bring contemporary pieces to the public, having played works by Kaija Saariaho, Tomás Marco, David del Puerto, Javier Soler, Edward Nesbit… She has performed the world premiere of “Nosferatu”, a violin solo piece dedicated to her by the composer Antonio Ballestín.
She regularly collaborates with the Orquesta de Cadaqués and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid (Teatro Real) and with the social projects “Musethica”, “Live Music Now” and “Fondation Résonnance”. She has done recordings for the BBC, TVE, RNE, and Telemadrid. Between 2006 and 2010 she enjoyed the scholarship for artists at the Residencia de Estudiantes of Madrid.
Award-winning violist Ana Valero offers chamber music concerts on a regular basis, having performed in countries like Russia, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Croatia, Sweden, and Italy. Currently, she combines her performing career with her viola teacher position at the International School of The Hague and her collaboration with orchestras like Sinfonia Rotterdam and Camerata Amsterdam.
Born in Huesca, Spain, she started her musical education at the age of six. In 2008, she graduated from Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Aragon (Zaragoza, Spain) under the guidance of Alan Kovacs, and Casals Quartet, obtaining the highest grades in Viola and Chamber Music. She obtained her Master’s degree in The Netherlands, having studied under Julia Dinerstein and Mikhail Kugel. In 2015, she coursed an additional year at The Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Mikhail Zemtsov. She has also taken master classes with Lawrence Power, Maxim Risanov, Alexander Zemtsov, Lawrence Dutton, Hariolf Schlichtig, and Gordan Nikolic among others.
Since 2009, she obtained awards in several international competitions; like the first prize at the International Competition Anemos in Rome in 2011, first prize at the International Music Competition in Belgrade in 2014, the absolute prize at Don Vicenzo Vitti International Competition in Italy in 2014 and 2nd prize at London Grand Prize Virtuoso in 2015 among others.
Since 2016, she plays a Dupont bow, courtesy of Dutch Foundation Eigenmuziekinstrument.
Owning a great personality in her performances, cellist Elva Trullén has developed a versatile and broad career. She has worked as the First cellist at symphonic orchestra Oviedo Filarmonía, she has taught at prestigious schools such as Orfeón Donostiarra, and she has shared the stage with big names of the international scene.
Her musical education begins at the age of 8 at Conservatorio Profesional de Zaragoza. During this period, she receives several prizes in national competitions. After graduating from middle school with the maximum scores, she begins her higher education at the Basque Land Conservatory, Musikene, where she studied with the acclaimed cellist Asier Polo. She has also received advice from prominent personalities such as Damián Martínez, Álvaro Campos, Almudena Cano, Eldar Nebolsin, Claudio Bohórquez, László Fenyö, Andrés Back, Ruslana Prokopenko, Karsten Dovers y el Cuarteto Casals, among others. During this period she is accepted at the Spanish Young Orchestra, JONDE, and at the Tours Young Orchestra. These two programs meant a profound growth in both her orchestral and chamber music development.
After her graduation in 2005, she begins her professional career as a cello teacher in prestigious Orfeón Donostiarra school and as a cellist in Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi. She also offers numerous cello and piano recitals with the foundation Juventudes Musicales, and participates in many prestigious festivals such as La Quincena Musical de San Sebastián, 365 Jazz Bilbao, Festival de Música Antigua de Zenarruza, Ciclo de Música Contemporánea de Málaga, Temporada de Música de Cámara Euskalduna Jauregia, Festival Internacional de Música de Cámara de Calatayud, Música Artea de Bermeo, Quincena Musical de Primavera de Arrasate y Musikaste
During this period, she gives intensive cello lessons during the International Masterclasses Curso Internacional de Música de Vitoria-Gasteiz in Basque Land. She also teaches orchestral repertoire at the Basque Young Orchestra, E.G.O.
In 2011, she enters the Fundaçao Orchestra Estúdio Guimaraes, in Portugal, within the project European Capital of the Culture 2012, working both as Tutti and co-principal. During this period, she works with great conductors and shares the stage with some of the first names on the international scene, such as José Carreras, Uthe Lemper, Guy Braunstein, Joana Carneiro, Francesco La Vecchia, Victoria Mullova, Natalie Clein y Wim Mertens.
Along with her career, she counts with the premieres of works by Gabriel Erkoreka, Ramón Lazcano and Luca Belcastro and new recordings of famous composers like Fernando C. Lapa, Nuno Côrte Real, António Pino Vargas y David Chesky.
Remarkable and of great influence in her career is her activity as a principal cellist during 2013 and 2014 at the Oviedo Filarmonía orchestra. In this period, she achieves a significant experience performing symphonic music, opera productions, zarzuela, and ballet. With the same orchestra, she participates as a soloist at the ceremony of Premios Líricos Teatro Campoamor, along with notable personalities like Ainhoa Arteta, and other performances with masters like Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, David Giménez, and Marzio Conti.
Born in 1988 in Algeria, she has lived in Madrid since her childhood and began her music and piano studies at the age of four with her mother, Marina Hamadi Manukovskaya (concert pianist and piano teacher). From 2004 to 2006 she studied with Professor Nino Kereselidze in Madrid.
In 2006 she entered the Conservatory of Aragon (Zaragoza) in the class of Professor Miguel Angel Ortega. During those years she received master classes from Josep Maria Colom, Dominique Weber, Elisabeth Leonskaya, Kennedy Moretti, Begoña Uriarte, Blanca Uribe, Ralf Nattkemper, András Hamary, Kalle Randalu, Almudena Cano and the Casals Quartet. In 2010 she graduated with the highest honours.
In 2010 she integrated the Reina Sofia School of Music in Madrid in the Banco Santander Foundation class with Professor Dimitri Bashkirov. She received a full tuition scholarship from Madrid’s Education Council and the Albéniz Foundation.
In 2012 she joined the list of artists of the Davidsbuendler Association (project for high musical proficiency, whose honorary chairman is Maestro Aldo Ciccolini).
Her activity as a performer started at a very young age, performing at the age of 8 as a soloist at the Conde Duque Auditorium in Madrid. Since then she has performed regularly throughout Spain and in other countries. Some highlights of these performances include the Zaragoza Auditorium, the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, the Steinway Haus in Munich and her appearances as a soloist with an orchestra at the National Auditorium in Madrid or the Palacio de los Deportes of the Community of Madrid (in an event that attracted more than 12,000 people). In 2012, she was accompanied by the National Orchestra of Algeria and the Opera Orchestra of Beijing, under the baton of Yu Feng. In 2013 she made her debut with the National Orchestra of Tunisia.
She is a laureate of the National “Teodoro Ballo” Chamber Music Competition, the Vila de Capdepera International Piano Competition (Mallorca), the Ciudad de Linares “Marisa Montiel” National Competition, the International “Eugenia Verdet” Piano Competition In Barcelona, the Münchner Klavierpodium International Competition in Germany or the Ibiza International Competition.