In this concert Amsterdam Sinfonietta presents the Dutch premiere of Night of the Flying Horses & How slow the wind from Three Songs for soprano & string orchestra by Osvaldo Golijov. He composed it in 2002, and addresses the fate of Jews & Gypsies in the mid-20th century. It opens with a yiddisch lullybay that metamorphoses into a dense and dark doina (a slow, gypsy, rubato genre), featuring the lowest string of the violas. Soloist is Christianne Stotijn, who will also sing Iván Fischer’s Eine Deutsch-Jiddische Kantate. On the programme also the NL premiere of Ulysses Awakes for viola and strings by the British composer John Woolrich, with Daniel Bard on the viola.
In my introduction (7.15-7.45) I’ll speak with Daniel Bard and Willem de Bordes, artistic programmer of Amsterdam Sinfonietta .
Mayke Nas, Dutch Composer Laureate addresses the positon of composers in the face of oppression – whatever guise this may take. Together with the Ragazze Quartet and the actor Noël S. Keulen she transforms the hall into a radio studio. String quartets by Shostakovich & Gubaidulina are interspersed with news items, pieces of talk shows and other historical recordings. For the occasion Mayke Nas wrote a new string quartet herself.
21.45, Foyerdeck 1: I’ll moderate an after talk with Mayke Nas, the Ragazze Quartet and Noël S. Keulen. The audience is invited to participate as well.
Under the baton of Nikolay Alexeyev the Gelders Orkest will present an all Russian concert, with Rimski-Korsakov’s Great Russian Easter Overture, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances and the First Piano Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich. Soloist is the renowned pianist Alexander Melnikov.
My introduction takes place in the Main Hall from 14.15-14.45, the concert starts at 15.00 hrs.
The Lithuanian Mirga Gražynitė-Tyla became chief conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2016, when she was only 30 years old. She now brings her orchestra to Utrecht in a programme not only featuring works from the canon such as Debussy’s La Mer and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but also music from the Lithuanian composer Raminta Šerkšnytė . She composed Fires in 2010 for a Beethoven cycle of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra.
My introduction to the concert starts at 7.30 pm. Hope to see you there!
In spite of the unfortunate planning of the concert (Monday evening) a crowd turned up for my introduction, and I got a very positive response. Someone sent a picture of just before I started.
This will be my first concert as a mezzosoprano in the amateur chamber choir Amphion. We’ll sing music from around the Baltic Sea, and it won’t surprise you I managed to sneak some women composers in 🙂 We’re singing works by the Estonian Ester Mägi, the Swedish Karin Rehnqvist, and the Latvian Indra Riše. Rišewill personally attend the concert! I will provide short introductions to the composers during the concert.
The concert drew a crowd of some 90 visitors, and the Latvian composer Indra Rise had travelled all the way from Riga to hear us perform two of her works. Her lively, tuneful music struck a chord both both with the choir and the audience, that cheered her loudly.
The enterprising Matangi Quartet organizes a 2-day festival with seldom heard music by the British composer Jonathan Dove. On Saturday 21, you can eat together with Dove and the performers at 6 pm, and from 7.30 pm I’ll interview him in interaction with the audience. So, grab your chance to ask Jonathan Dove all the questions you ever had, but didn’t dare to ask!
Saturday 21 April turned out to be a really hot day, but in spite of this quite some people had found their way to Korzo, and to my talk with Jonathan Dove. He was the ideal partner, and we had a very lively talk. As for questions from the audience – one was about Dove’s ‘Piet Mondriaan-socks’ 🙂
In 1968 Karlheinz Stockhausen composed his 70 minute-long Stimmung for 6 singers and tuning tape. The mixed vocal group – 3 male, 3 female singers – creates a kaleidoscopic layering of overtone frequencies on a single chord. The Dutch music theatre group Silbersee transforms Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ into a ‘cathedral of sound’, to highlight the ritual aspect of this rarely performed composition.
On the programme, too are works by Anthony Fiumara and Seung-Won Oh.
At 7.15 pm I’ll talk with Fiumara, Seung-Won Oh and Stockhausen’s long time partner Kathinka Pasveer on Foyerdeck 1.
A crowd turned up for the introduction, and Kathinka Pasveer proved to be a very eloquent guest, also the concert was a great success.
Here’s an interview I had with Karlheinz Stockhausen on Himmels-Tür in 2006.
Arvo Pärt recently created Greater Antiphons for string orchestra. Amsterdam Sinfonietta will play its Dutch premiere. Also on the programme Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony 110A (arr Barshai) and The protecting Veil by John Tavener for cello and string orchestra. The British composer was inspired for this ‘lyrical icon’ by a legend about the Virgin Mary. Soloist is the upcoming cellist Nicolas Altstaedt.
In my pre concert talk at 19.15 on Foyerdeck 1 I will talk to Nicolas Altstaedt and Willem de Bordes, artistic leader of Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
The concert was almost sold out and both concert and introduction were a great success.
For this concert Mayke Nas was commissioned to write a new piece or organ and symphony orchestra, but she was too busy to reach the deadline, so instead Haydn is played. My introduction is from 7.30-8 pm. The concert is broadcast live on Radio 4.
The concert drew a large audience, also for my introduction. The performance was livey and fresh.
This concert forms part of the String quartet Biennale, and features the world première of La porte de l’enfer by the Spanish composer José Maria Sánchez-Verdú.
I’ll interview Sánchez-Verdú about his new composition from 19.15-19.45 on Foyer Deck I Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ.
The brand new Februari Festival (14-18 February, The Hague) is dedicated to Mendelssohn & Schumann. Refreshingly the event will not only present music by Felix and Robert, but also by Fanny and Clara. In my Friday lecture I’ll zoom in on the (in)visibility of female composers, illustrating my talk with music samples.
The lecture was attended well and got a very enthusiastic response from the audience. Many asked to be sent the music samples I played. Shame Fanny & Clara were not featured in the concert later that evening, though.
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ commissioned the Spanish composer José Maria Sánchéz-Verdú to write a new work for Quarteto Quiroga & Cappella Amsterdam. He named it La porte de l’enfer, inspired by both the sculpture of that name by Rodin, and by Dante’s Inferno.
The performers will rehearse the new piece from 11.00-12.30 am; from 12.34-13.15 I will speak with Sánchez-Verdú about the background of this work.
Entrance is free on reservation.
A huge crowed came to Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and listened breathlessly while Cappella Amsterdam & Cuarteto Quiroga rehearsed ‘La porte de l’enfer’. The piece is played in an extremely quiet dynamic, which led people to ask me whether the composer had any consideration for them. So I posed this question during my aftertalk with Sanchéz-Verdú; Lodewijk van der Ree; Helena Poggio and Cíbran Sierra. ‘Listeners must do some effort’, the composer maintained, ‘to discern what is in the shadows’.
In a tribute to Leonard Bernstein whose centennial is celebrated this year, the Gelders Orkest brings an all-American programme. Bernstein’s Serenade for violin & orchestra is performed together with the renowned violinist Liza Ferschtman.
Under the baton of Christian Vásquez the orchestra will play three more American classics: An American in Paris George Gershwin; The Unanswered Question Charles Ives and Aron Copland’s Suite from his famed ballet Billy the Kid.
From 14.15-14.45 I’ll introduce the concert in the Main Hall of TivoliVredenburg. The concert starts at 15.00 hrs.
A huge crowd turned up, and my introduction was received with great enthusiasm. Also the concert was a great success, thanks to the lively interpretation of Gelders Orkest and immaculate performance of Liza Ferschtman.
The South-African pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout will play Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Piano Concerto in d, Wq. 17 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto nr. 24 in c, KV 491 in the Main Hall of Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
Bezuidenhout will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from behind his piano. On the programme there’s also Mozart’s Symphony nr. 29 in A, KV 201.
After the concert I’ll speak with Kristian Bezuidenhout for the Friends of the RCO.
My talk with Kristian was quite lively and serious, yet interspersed with a lot of humour.
This day a brand new work of the German composer Aribert Reimann (1936) will be premièred: “Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht” Sechs Lieder von Theodor Kirchner nach Gedichten von Heinrich Heine für Sopran und Streichquartett bearbeitet und verbunden mit sieben Bagatellen.
He composed it at the request of Muziekgeboua aan ‘t IJ, with help of Ammodo. I will interview Aribert Reimann from 16.30 to 17.00 hrs, and then his piece will be rehearsed from 17.15.00-18.00 hrs. by the soprana Mojca Erdmann and the Kuss Quartet.
Entrance is free, but please reserve tickets here.
Before the world première of Die schönen Augen der Frühlingsnacht I will speak again with Aribert Reimann about this new composition. From 20.15-22.30 the Kuss Quartet and soprano Mojca Erdmann wil première this cycle.
Both the public rehearsal and the concert were a huge success, and Aribert Reimann proved to be a really engaging speaker.
This is the second concert in the tribute to Leonard Bernstein, who would have turned 100 in 2018. Ensemble Ludwig plays his antiwar-song So pretty and his piano arrangement of Copland’s El Salon Mexico, played by Ralph van Raat.
I’ll introduce the concert from 18.30-20.00 hrs. on the main stage of TivoliVredenburg.
6 November 2017: The introduction and the concert both went very well. Ludwig made good use of the possibilities of lighting and of playing pieces without pause and in different stage settings. Though the audience wasn’t large, this was compensated for by its enthusiastic response.
Seldom heard, yet of such intense power that it grabs you by the throat: Du fond de l’abime by Lili Boulanger. She composed this setting of Psalm 130 ‘From the depths I call out to Thee’ a year before she passed away, at the tender age of 24.
This powerful work is flanked by Schubert’s Stabat Mater and Symphony nr. 3: The Camp Meeting by Charles Ives.
From 19.30-20.00 I’ll introduce the concert on the main stage of TivoliVredenburg.
From 14.45-15.15 I’ll speak about this new piece withcomposer Tabakova, pianists Lucas & Arthur Jussen & Candida Thompson, artistic leader of Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Both rehearsal and aftertalk are free for everyone.
The hall was packed, and the rehearsal was really exciting, with the composer giving directions and conversing with the musicians.
Willem de Bordes, artistic coordinator of Amsterdam Sinfonietta sent this picture.
16 November 20.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam: Snaren, toetsen en stokken. Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Slagwerk Den Haag & Piano duo Lucas & Arthur Jussen present the world première of Together Remember to Dance which Dobrinka Tabakova composed at the request of Amsterdam Sinfonietta with support from AMMODO.
Further on the programme: Bartók’s iconic piece Music for Strings, percussion and celesta; Bach’s Concert for two piano’s BWV 1060; Luccicare Ron Ford & Lullaby Andrzej Panufnik.
19.15-19.45: In the pre concert talk I’ll speak with Tabakova about her new composition,
22 November: The concert will be repeated in Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, and again I’ll do the pre concert talk from 19.15-19.45.
This time also Lucas & Arthur Jussen and Willem de Bordes, artistic coordinator of Amsterdam Sinfonietta will take part, but the focus will still be on Tabakova.
The introduction was quite lively, with all of my guests turning up late, but then participating with all their heart. Patricia Werner Leanse took a photo of myself and Tabakova.
The German ensemble for new music Musikfabrik is a regular guest at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ. In this programme they will be conducted by Enno Poppe, whose new solo piece Filz will receive its Dutch première by violist Axel Porath. On the programme are three more NL premières: String Jack Michael Beil; Lessons in Darkness Eivind Buene & Têtes Misato Mochizuki,.
19.15-19.45 Foyerdeck 1: I’ll interview Enno Poppe about this programme.
It was a very lively introduction, with Enno’s redhead perfectly matching my jacket 🙂
Canto ostinato is a composition by Simeon ten Holt. Written for four pianos, it becameso popular it was and is performed in an endless variety of arrangements. The Dutch composer Anthony Fiuamara made a versio for symphony orchestra, that will be performed by Noord Nederlands Orkest, conducted by Porcelijn. The concert starts at 9 pm.
At 8 pm I’ll give a pre concert talk, in which I’ll also aks Fiumara about his arrangement.
A hundred (!) people turned up for my pre concert talk, listenening attentively and responding enthusiastically to my introduction and talk with Anthony Fiumara. The concert itself was a huge success, as well.
This concert also starts at 9 pm, my introduction (without Fiumara) starts at 8 pm.
The American conductor, pianist and composerLeonard Bernstein would have turned 100 in 2018. The AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert features a lot of his music in the season 2017-18.
On Saturday (!) 21 October the Dutch Radio Choir will give an a cappella concert, singing his Missa brevis. On the programme there’s also music by Carter, Charles Ives and Morten Lauridsen.
At 7.30 pm I’ll give a pre concert talk.
The concert was sold out and also a lot of people attended my introduction. My info about the proper pronunciation of Bernstein’s name was an instant hit. Many still say ‘Bernsteen’, but when addressed like that he’d respond: ‘Do you say Albert Eensteen, too?’ Conductor Klaas Stok referred to it when announcing the pieces, admitting he’d always said ‘Bernsteen’ too. The Groot Omroepkoor sang really well, with a homogeneous sound and perfect pitch.
The Russian Galina Ustvolskaya and the Belgian Karel Goeyvaerts were both unique and one of a kind. The Russian composed in isolation, creating relentless, hammering pieces when inspired by the Holy Ghost. Goeyvaerts set out a serialist, but later developed a new and communicative style that culminated in his utopian opera Aquarius. The Spectra Ensemble plays ‘Zum Wassermann’ from this opera.
At 7.15 pm. I’ll speak with conductor Filip Rathé about Goeyvaerts, whose music is not often peformed, and is little known in the Netherlands.
Filip Rathé proved to be an enthusiastic talker, who provided wonderful insights in Goeyvaerts’ composition.
On 6 September the renowned Gaudeamus Music Week opened, with a concert by Asko|Schönberg. Five composers had been selected to compete for the Gaudeamus Award 2017. I spoke with them before the opening concert in TivoliVredenburg.
On Sunday 10 September the winner was announced: Aart Strooman. You read my evaluation of the festival here.
Two weeks later, the new season of the radio series AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert opened with a world première by Rob Zuidam, Rude Circles. It was inspired by the stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury, and was composed for & premièred by the Dutch Radio Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of chief-conductor Markus Stenz.
In my concert introduction I interviewed Zuidam about his new piece.
3+4 juni: Oranjewoudfestival
Op 3 juni sprak ik met gitarist/componist Aart Strootman en pianist Martin van Veen over hun bijdragen aan het Oranjewoudfestival.
De dag erna verzorgde ik, eveneens voor het Oranjewoudfestival, mijn eerste inleiding in een bus ooit… Deze voerde ons naar De zingende zonderling, een bijzonder optreden van LUDWIG in de ‘natuurkathedraal’ van Louis Le Roy.
Ook over dit aansprekende Friese festival schreef ik een voorbeschouwing.
22 en 23 juni: Holland Festival: The Naked Shit Songs
In the Holland Festival I gave two pre concert talks and a meet & greet on the new opera The Naked Shit Songs by Huba de Graaff. The Naked Shit Songs is the musical reflection of a typed-out interview of Theo van Gogh with the British artists Gilbert & George. The first night I talked with Huba de Graaff, the second one director Marien Jongewaard joined us for the meet & greet afterwards.
I wrote a preview for my blog (in English).
Op 16 mei gaf ik een lezing over mijn biografie Reinbert de Leeuw, mens of melodie voor de Nederlandse Vereniging van Muziekbibliothecarissen in Deventer. Het was een bijzonder geanimeerde bijeenkomst, Mijn verslag vind je hier.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has a long standing tradition of performing Bach’s Passions in the period before Easter. Since 2009 these are alternated with newly composed works. The Scottish composer James MacMillan launched the new tradition that same year with his St. John Passion.
For 2017 two composers were commissioned to write an alternative Passion. The Serbian-Swedish Djuro Zivkovic based his Mystical Sacrifice for tenor, choir and orchestra on texts from the Slavonic orthodox rite. He told me how different the orthodox view of Christ’s suffering is: where Westerners concentrate on his death, the Easterners see him as a living person, focussing rather more on the resurrection after his execution.
The Azeri-German Franghiz Ali-Zadeh sought inspiration in the poetry of Nasimi Imadeddin, a Sufi preacher, poet, theologian and more, who was brutally executed in Aleppo in 1417. In her Nasimi-Passion for baritone, choir and orchestra Ali-Zadeh integrated elements from the Azeri Mersyie-tradition and quotes from the chorale ‘O Hilf, Christ, Gottes Sohn’ from Bach’s St. John Passion.
Both pieces had a great impact on the audience, that responded with minutes-long ovations in the Main Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
The concert of Sunday 9 April was broadcast live on Radio 4, you can listen to it here.
The Noord Nederlands Orkest presents the world première of La lucerna del mondo; Adagio by the Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis, aka JacobTV. The concert forms part of the radio series AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, and will be broadcast live on Radio 4. On the programme, too are works by Roussel, Poulenc – Pianoconcerto with the soloist Louis Lortie – and Debussy.
Jacob TV and conductor Antony Hermus will be my guests.
It was a very lively introduction and the audience really enjoyed JacobTV’s new piece.
In 2014 cultural centre Zael was the first to invite me to present my biography Reinbert de Leeuw: mens of melodie. It was a really pleasant evening with a very attentive and participating audience.
Now organizer Adriaan Meij has asked me to come and present a bird’s-eye-view of contemporary music, starting ca 1900 and ending in the present. One of the composers I’ll talk about is JacobTV, one of the best-known composers from northern Holland.
In 2014 Adriaan’s son Salomon video-interviewed me about my book, you can view it via this link.
The lecture was a great success. People had come from all over Holland (The Hague, Amsterdam, Nieuwegein) to participate in my lecture. Very lively and inspiring, with a very interactive audience.
The critic of Meppeler Courant honoured it with a 5* review.
The Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman presents a concert with two of her favourite works: the string octets by George Enescu and Felix Mendelssohn. She will also première a new octet from the young Dutch composer Mathilde Wantenaar. During my introduction I’ll talk with Ferschtman and Wantenaar.
Both Ferschtman & Wantenaar proved to be very eloquent speakers, it was a lively and enlightening introduction to a memorable concert. Wantenaar’s Octet was beautifully crafted and held its own in the monunental surroudings of Mendelssohn & Enecsu. And what a performance! Liza Ferschtman and her seven friends played with such intensity and superb craftsmanship that it almost made me weep. Absolutely stunning!
Talk with Carola Bauckholt and Christina Kubisch about their new compositions for Nieuw Ensemble, commissioned by Muziekgebouw and AMMODO. Kubisch wrote two new works: Seven Magnetic Places and Wien Landstraße; Bauckholt composed Point of Presence.
The introduction is followed by a public rehearsal. Entrance to both events is free, but please reserve tickets via this link. The compositions will be premièred two days laterm on Thursday 9 February at 20.15 hrs., info and tickets here.
8 February: some 250 people attended the talk and rehearsal, both were a huge success.
Introduction to concert of recorder quintet Seldom Sene, that plays music by Greek composers. I’ll talk to Aspasia Nasopoulou and the players about her piece Ten Dipoles that she composed for recorders and aerophones designed by Horst Rickels and Ernst Dullemond. On the programme is also her award-winning Lelia Doura and a new work that Thanasis Deligiannis composed at the request of Orgelpark.
The audience was very grateful for our introduction to the aerophones, and the concert was a great success. ‘Ten Dipoles’ sounded terrific in the ample acoustics of the Orgelpark.
Introduction to concert of Het Collectief and Psallentes, who are playing works by Hildegard von Bingen and Galina Ustvolskaya. I’ll talk to pianist Thomas Dieltjens, leader of the ensemble Het Collectief, and Hendrik Vanden Abeele, founder and leader of the choir Psallentes. Free for those who have a concert ticket.
In spite of terrible weather a crowd turned up for the introduction and the concert. The talk with Dieltjens and Vanden Abeele was really inspiring. I wrote a review of the concert, you read it here.
Introduction to public rehearsal Riflesso sul’arco Richard Rijnvos with Ives Ensemble in the Main Hall. I’ll talk with Rijnvos about his new piece, and after the rehearsal there is room for questions from the audience. Entrance free, but please reserve tickets through this link.
Update 11 January.
A crowd had gathered for the public rehearsal. I spoke with Richard Rijnvos about his new piece, and the musicians of the Ives Ensemble illustrated some extended techniques and other features. It was a huge success!
Pre concert talk with composer Richard Rijnvos & pianist John Snijders about the concert of the Ives Ensemble with a.o. the world première of Riflesso sul’arco, that Rijnvos composed as a companion piece’ to go with Swinging Music of Kazimierz Serocki.
Pre concert talk on concert of Noord Nederlands Orkest / Hans Leenders, celebrating the 80th birthday of both Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
My pre concert talk attracted such a crowd (some 250 people), that it had to be transferred to the Small Hall. Both my introduction and the concert were a huge success.
9 December 19.30 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, Ensemble from Radio Philharmonisch Orchestra: Ketting: The Curious Music that I Hear; Mahler/Simon: Fourth Symphony
Pre concert talk with conductor Karel Deseure
12 December 21.45 hrs, Ostade A’dam
Meet & greet with composer Meriç Artaç and director Ingrid Askvik after performance of their new production Zonderland
18 December 14.15 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
Russian National Orchestra / Michail Pletnev: Shostakovich Festival Overture; Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto with Seong-Jin Cho; Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
Pre concert talk
This was a memorable concert, with Pletnev giving the orchestra and the pianist free reign, often just leading them with a nod of his head. Seong-Jin Cho played by heart, with impeccable technique and dynamics. And what a lush sound from strings, winds, harp player and percussion section. Such remarkable orchestral soloists, among them flutist Maxim Rubtsov. The hall went beserk and the orchestra played an encore.
17 & 18 November 19.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Amsterdam Sinfonietta The American Four Seasons Philip Glass, pre concert talk with Isabelle van Keulen & Willem de Bordes
24 November, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang
- 16.45 hrs: Introduction to solitary, a piece David Lang composed for Cappella Amsterdam, that will be premièred that evening. My guests are conductor Daniel Reuss, mezzosoprano Inga Schneider and tenor Adriaan De Koster. Entrance is free, but please reserve your ticket via this link.
17.30-18.00 hrs: public rehearsal of solitary. I’ll moderate. Also free on reservation.
- 19.15 hrs: Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang, pre concert talk, free for those who have a concert ticket.