The German Musikfabrik plays a portrait concerts of the Greek/French composer Georges Aperghis, whose can’t be pigeonholed. It veers from absurd humour to compositions in which he addresses topical themes. For his new piece Intermezzi he interviewed all the musicians of the ensemble to enquire what they would like to play.
I will speak with flutist Helen Bledsoe, clarinettist Carl Rosman and trumpeter Marco Blaauw.
It was a really lively introduction with the 3 musicians, and surprise guest Georges Aperghis himself. A soft spoken man with an innate sense of humour. The ensemble played immaculately, the music was enchanting.
The British composer, pianist and conductor will conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a suite from his own opera Powder her Face about the ‘Dirty Duchess’, Margaret Campbell and the one act opera The Stronger by Gerald Barry. He also conducts ballet music by Debussy and Poulenc.
The young composer Mathilde Wantenaar composed a new piece for the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Prélude à une nuit américaine. The title refers to its slighly American flavour – Wantenaar’s composition is forms the upbeat to works by Steve Reich and Johna Adams. I’ll interview Wantenaar about her new composition.
Together with Fonds Podiumkunsten the Early Music Festival organized a debate about the once flourishing ensemble culture in the Netherlands. Supposedly Holland has lost its pioneering position to other countries now. The discussion veered into many directions, but the outcome was mainly positive.
Henk Heuvelmans, director of Gaudeamus, concluded the music world needs an engaging advocate to generate more love and respect for the musical landscape. To my honest opinion Heuvelmans would himself the ideal respresentative!
The debate was streamed live on Facebook, and can be viewed via this link.
Anna van Kooij made the picture underneath. (l-r Alban Wesley, bassoonist Calefax; Willemijn Mooij, director Nederlandse Bachvereeniging; Thea Derks; Stef Coninx, Kunstenpunt Flanders, photo Anna van Kooij)
There’s also a short filmed impression:
Again 5 persons (4 male, 1 female) have been nominated for the much coveted Gaudeamus Music Award for young composers. I’ll will speak with the five nominees about their music, their motivations and about their hopes and expectations.
It was a very lively introduction, though I only had 6 minutes per person…. Co Broerse shot this beautiful picture.
The Latvian conductor Krista Auvere got carte blanche from Cappella Amsterdam to stage a concert, and chose music around the immortal theme of love. I will speak with Krists Auznieks, who was commissioned by Auvere to compose Song of Myself, which will witness its world première.
But lo and behold, Peteris Vasks was my surprise guest for the introduction! He’s a wonderful person and a great composer. And he even bought my Ox!!
Under the baton of Nicholas Collon the Residentie Orkest will perform a romantic programme, featuring works by Ravel, Strauss and Tchaikovsky, whose First Piano Concerto will be played by Kirill Gerstein – in the version as intended by Tchaikovsky in 1979.
In spite of the synny weather, TivoliVredenburg was packed. I played the two different openings to the audience – most of whom didn’t hear the difference. It was fun. Gerstein got a stormy applause and signed his cd-recording in the interval.
The Hanns Eisler Foundation organized a 2-day symposium to put this activist composer back on the map in Holland. He promoted the communist cause by mixing classical and popular elements into his own style. What’s his importance today and (how) has he been (or is he still) an inspiration for new generations?
I had a very inspiring talk with Kate Honey, a true heir of Hanns Eisler. She is an activist composer who fights climate change.
29 August: 8 pm Fireside chat with Calliope Tsoupaki, Huize Gaudeamus, Bilthoven
Informal talk with Componist des Vaderlands (Composer laureate) Callliope Tsoupaki about her work ethic, her music, her views upon Dutch musical life and more.
Huize Gaudeamus was filled to capacity, and four of the five nominees for the Gaudeamus Award had turned up as well. Therefore we conducted our talk in English. It was a great success, and Tsoupaki posted an enthusiastic tweet.
Under the titel ‘Ensemble culture, where to go?’ the festival of Early Music and Fonds Podiumkunsten jointly organize a debate about past, present and future of the once renowned ensemble culture in the Netherlands. This has lost much of its glow over the past decade, and the organizers wonder if the Netherlands can regain their pioneering position.
Michael Gordon, one of the three composers who founded the Bang on a Can Festival – and band – in New York, composed ‘8’ for Cello8tet Amsterdam. It was commissioned by November Music, the Amsterdam Cello Biennale and by Oranjewoudfestival. ‘8’ Was premiered in November 2018 and I will not only talk about it but hope the cellists will be willing to play some snippets of this work.
In two consecutive concerts Anthony Marwood will lead Amsterdam Sinfonietta in works by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, George Enescu, Felix Mendelssohn (10) and the world premiere of a new double concerto for violin, piano and strings by Katia Tchemberdji (16). In my pre concert talk I hope to speak with both conductor, soloist and Katia Tchemberdji.
The North Netherlands Orchestra performs Moldau by Smetana, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C (initially Lalo was planned here).
Adriaan Mey, programmer of Zael in Meppel, initiated a large scale music festival in his home town Meppel, featuring stars such as the soprano Miranda van Kralingen and the cellist Maya Fridman. The opening concert will take place in theatre Ogterop, where I will introduce the festival from 8.15-8.30 pm.
19 May, 2.30 pm, and 3.45 pm Eratofestival, lectures on modern music ‘Een os op het dak’
In the intimate setting of private homes in Meppel I will give two short lectures on modern music, based on my book Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht. The lectures form part of the Erato Festival.
To celebrate its 50th birthday, the Canada National Arts Centre Orchestra makes a Euro ja ze hebben op de site ik wel interessant: ik word echt wanhopig pean tour, presenting works by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Claude Vivier – the only Candadian composer on the programme. The Canadian soprano Erin Wall will be the soloist in his mesmerizing Lonely Child, I hope to speak to her during my pre concert van: talk.
In the beautiful and atmospheric villa Oranjewoud I will introduce contemporary music to friends and visitors of Oranjewoudfestival. I will illustrate my lecture with audio and video fragments. Afterwards I will sign my book for anyone interested.
The renowned percussionist Tatiana Koleva always presents adventurous concerts, this named How to play the triangle. It’s an interactive-theatrical concert inspired by the music of Leonard Bernstein and his West Side Story. She asked four composers to arrange songs from this musical, and together with the Youth Percussion Pool she will give two workshops to prepare the audience to participate in the world première. I will speak to Koleva during my introduction.
As part of the Minimal Music Festival the new piano concerto Pastiche by the Russian composer Vladimir Martynov will be premiered by Noord Nederlands Orkest (NNO) and Ralph van Raat on 4 April in Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam. In this public rehearsal I will discuss the score with Martynov and Van Raat. The orchestra will not be present. Free for all, on reservation.
It was a very lively afternoon, with Martynov talking about filosophical concepts pertaining to his music, and Ralph van Raat performing some fragments of Pastiche and of Spaces of Latent Utterance (which he will perform on Sunday 7 April). Afterwards the members of a Russian choir came up to tell us how much they had enjoyed the event. One of them made a picture.
At the request of Ralph van Raat the Russian composer Vladimir Martynov wrote a new piano concerto, which he dubbed ‘Pastiche’, after the opera genre. On the programme is also Future Perfect that Vanessa Lann composed in 2018 for NNO. In my pre concert talk I’ll speak with Vanessa Lann and Ralph van Raat.
NTRZaterdagMatinee organizesa pre concert-concert with a new piece that Mayke Nas will write for Asko|Schönberg. This will be performed first and then we’ll discuss her choices afterwards.
Markus Stenz leads the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in an all English programme, with works by Edward Elgar and the First Symphony of William Walton. On the programme, too is the NL première of In lieblicher Bläue, a ‘poem for violin and orchestra’ that Julian Anderson composed in 2015 for the German violinist Carolin Widmann and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
I not only gave a very successful introduction with Julian Anderson, but also made a reportage for Radio with soloist Carolin Widmann and the composer, with snippets from the rehearsal. The performance was immaculate, the audience was somewhat divided in its appreciation of ‘In lieblichter Bläue’.
In the atmospheric church ‘De Vermaning’ in Zaandam I’ll give a crash course on contemporary music, based on my book Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht. I’ll illustrate my lecture amply with both audio and video samples of the music discussed. Entrance is free, after the lecture you’re asked for a voluntary contribution. And I’ll gladly sign a copy of my book!
A small but very interested audience turned up for my lecture. Some of them had never heard any modern music at all, others were deeply knowledgable. All had many questions, it was a truly interactive evening. Heartwarming!
From day one of its publication ‘Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht’ found its way to many customers of the bookshop Broekhuis in Enschede. I’ll give a crash course on contemporary music in the music department on the second floor, and will sign my book afterwards. Enschede is also the home town of the Nederlandse Reisopera, that will premiere Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music that evening in Wilminktheater. I’ll write a review for Theaterkrant.
A small but very dedicated group of listeners turned up, and the atmosphere was great, with again a lot of interaction and intelligent questions from the audience.
The young conductor Lodewijk van der Ree got carte blanche to programme a concert of his own choice. He made an interesting combination of early and contemporary music, with works by ao Sofia Gubaidulina, Johannes Ockeghem and a brand new work by the Estonian composer Liisa Hirsch. At the introduction I will speak with both Van der Ree and Hirsch.
A crowd had turned up for the introduction. Lodewijk van der Ree explained how he came to choose his programme, and with Liisa Hirsch I discussed her piece ‘Kuma’, inspired by one of the bells of Rostov cathedral. The premiere was a huge success, as was the entire programme. Immaculate performances, beautiful choice os works.
This concert features the Dutch premier of the Concerto Azzurro by Stefano Bollani, who will play the solo part himself. The concert is opened with the overture to Girl Crazy, the musical with which George Gerswhin made his name as a composer. On the programme is further the suite from the popular ballet Romeo & Juliet by Sergey Prokofiev.
Stefano Bollani declined taking part in my pre concert talk because he wanted to concentrate on his concert, but he posed for a (somewhat hazy) snapshot just before I went on stage.
Aad van Nieuwkerk and I will discuss some themes from my book about contemporary music Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht. Since this is a classical radio station, the music itself will play the main role :-).
Already before the broadcast started someone wrote to Aad van Nieuwkerk how much he liked my book. He also had a request: would I please make a Spotify-list to accompany my Ox? Well, I’ve been considering this, and hope to find time to make it one day…
You can listen to the broadcast here.
In the historic Huis de Pinto in the centre of Amsterdam I’ll give a crash course on contemporary music, loosely tracking the chapters in my book ‘Een os op het dak’. Marcel Worms will play musical examples on the pianbon. Always wanted to know more about modern musicfrom 1900 up to now, but were afraid to ask? Do drop by and feel free to ask any question you like. Of course I’ll sign copies of my book afterwards! Want to read it beforehand? You can by it here:
A very interested audience turned up. Both Marcel Worms and the visitors asked questions and shared stories, it was a lovely and lively evening.
György Kurtág hopes to celebrate his 93rd birthday on 19 February. In 1993 he composed a self-portrait concisting of earlier pieces for the unusual combination of rumpet, double bass and keyboard instruments (piano, harpsichord, celesta). He dedicated this to Karlheinz Stockahausen, whois the central composer in the coming Holland Festival. In my introduction I will speak with Marco Blaauw, who worked closely with both Stockhausen and Kurtág.
The introduction with Marco Blaauw (and later on artistic leader Thomas Fichter) was very lively, and the concert was a breathtaking experience.
For a select but very attentive audience, the Belgian Spectra Ensemble & vocalist Nora Fischer gave the Utrecht premier of the poetry/music cycle Dreams of Airs by Rozalie Hirs.
After the concert I spoke with Hirs about her ideas about the relationship between music and poetry and about the binaural beatings that inspired her music. There were also interesting questions and remarks from the audience, one visitor explaining she’d had visions of Alice in Wonderland, another that he’d heard the sound of bomber planes in World War II.
In 2015 the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra premiered Dream of the Song that George Benjamin composed for the orchestra, Bejun Mehta and female singers of Nederlands Kamerkoor. Now Benjamin will conduct a second performance of this acclaimed song cycle. On the programme are also Ravel’s Bolero, the commission Wendingen by Christiaan Richter, and Sol by the Spanish composer Blai Soler. During my introduction I will speak to both Soler and Richter.
Forty years ago Vredenburg was opened in Utrecht, by the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under Edo de Waart. Five years ago the new hall TivoliVredenburg was opened, so there’s enough to celebrate. The Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam will play the Concertino for Piano and Orchestra by Henriëtte Bosmans and Mozart’s Piano Concerto nr. 21. After the interval Brahms’s 3rd Symphony will sound.
Because it’s so seldom performed, I focussed on the Concertino Henriette Bosmans composed in 1928. A century old, it’s still sparkling as if it were composed yesterday. Erik Verbrugh caught me during my introduction.
In the intimate setting of bookstore Scheltema, (Rokin 9 Amsterdam) Robert van Altena will interview me about Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht, my concise introduction to music from 1900 up to now. Entrance free, everybody is welcome!
You can listen to the broadcast here: https://www.amsterdamfm.nl/springvossen-341-cleo-wachter-reinjan-mulder-thea-derks/
Amsterdam Sinfonietta and the Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin present an adventurous programme with music by Maxim Shalygin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alfred Schnittke, and the string orchestra version of Beethoven’s ‘Quartetto serioso’. I’ll speak with Hamelin and with Candida Thompson, concert master and artistic director of the ensemble.
Today a somewhat different programme, in which Shalygin and Stockhausen have been replaced by Haydn and Prokofiev. I’ll speak again with both Hamelin and Thompson.
The Turkish-Dutch composer Meric Artac composed a new opera for Diamantfabriek, Madam Koo. In it she and director Ingrid Askvik address the present feelings of fear and distrust. I talked to them after the first try-out in CC Amstel on 1 November. It was premiered there on 3 November, and will be repeated in November Music Den Bosch and Toneelschuur Haarlem.
I’m kicking off the festival Soundsofmusic Groningen with a crash course on modern music, named after my new publication ‘Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht’. The entrance is free if you hold a ticket for one of the concerts in the festival.
The foyer of Grand Theatre was filled to the last seat, with an audience that was very attentive and involved. It was a great afternoon.
In the evening Gavin Bryars performed Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet in the Main Hall. To his delight he found his name in my book (p.29), and we posed before a poster of the festival.
As part of the AMMODO commissioning scheme for new compositions Jan van de Putte composed a new piece for Klangforum Wien, Cette agitation perpétuelle, cette turbulence sans but. There’s a public rehearsal from 13.00-13.45, after wich I will speak with Van de Putte and conductor Bas Wiegers until 14.15 hrs. Free entrance on reservation.
Read my interview with Van de Putte on Cultuurpers.
Jan van de Putte’s new piece Cette agitation perpétuelle, cette turbulence sans but will be premiered along with works by Beat Furrer and Rebecca Saunders. I’ll speak with conductor Bas Wiegers and with Jan van de Putte.
A crowd tuhevurned up both for the public rehearsal and the concert itself. Jan’s new piece was a great success, many people left the hall with a smile on their face.
In this symposium, curated by the University of Tilburg, November Music addresses the role spiritual music plays in a world that is becoming more and more secularised. From circa 16.30-1700 I will discuss this issue with the composers Joep Franssens and Anthony Fiumara.
Before the Dutch première of Unbreathed I will speak with Rebecca Saunders about this string quartet that was co-commissioned by November Music. Saunders composed it for the Diotima Quartet that gave the first performance earlier this year and will again perform it today. They will also play premières by Clara Ianotti and Misato Mochuzuki.
A select, highly interested group of people came to my pre concert talk with Rebecca Saunders, which we conducted in the intimate atmosphere of a table in the bar of the Willem II concert hall. The interview thus developed into a lively discssion in which the visitors also took part.
The German Ensemble Resonanz performs Janácek’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared Diary along with a new piece by George Aperghis, Migrants. The composer based his highly topical piece on texts by Joseph Conrad and refugees who leave home and hearth to try and find a safe place. I’ll speak with Tobias Rempe, artistic leader of the ensemble, and hope Aperghis will join me, too.
Georges Aperghis couldn’t come to Amsterdam due to private cirumstances, but Tobias proved to be a very lively guest, who enligthened us about his stunning new piece ‘Migrants’, that moved the audience deeply.
Wim Boerman, leader of ensemble de ereprijs will receive the Theo Bruinsprijs for his unrelenting zeal in promoting contemporary music, both with concert audiences and younger audiences. Before the official ceremony at 5, I will discuss the state of modern music with Boerman, Saskia Lankhoorn (curator of Dag in de Branding) and Henk Heuvelmans (director of Gaudeamus).
The discussion was very lively and interesting, yet too short to answer profound questions about the relevance of modern music for society and how to get more commitment from our politicians. E.g. by the ‘new music coalition’ Henk Heuvelmans spoke about.
The Swedish-Dutch composer Klas Torstensson makes us wander through sound landscapes in which pure Scandinavian nature resounds. Today his four-part cycle Lantern Lectures will be performed in its entirety. A unique chance, for usually only one or more movements are presented. I’ll speak with conductor Christian Karlsen & Erik Enström, artistic director of Norrbotten NEO. Opusklassiek published the interview I conducted with Klas Torstensson on the occasion of its first full performance in 2003.
Christian Karlsen enthusiastically promoted the music of his countryman, and Erik Enström enlightened us about Norrbotten NEO, whose 7 members are the only fully employed ensemble players in Sweden. \
The Dutch Radio Choir sings the world première of Te Deum Laudamus by Nana This piece was commissioned by AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, that will broadcast the programme live on Radio 4. Forte’s new work is placed in a context of modern classics such as Alfred Schnittke, György Kurtág and Arvo Pärt. In my introduction I will speak to Nana Forte. I already interviewed her for this blog.
The church was sold out completely and I had a very nice talk with Nana Forte, whose English had picked up considerably after our talk for the live broadcast on Radio 4. The audience loved her piece, and Forte was very happy with its performance by Groot Omroepkoor under Peter Dijkstra.
As part of the AMMODO commissioning scheme for new compositions, the Mexian/British composer Hilda Paredes wrote a new music theatre piece that will be premièred by Muziektheater Transparant on Wednesday 3 October in MGIJ. It will be performed by ensemble Hermes and the singers Claron McFadden and Naomi Beeldens under the direction of Manoj Kamps.
Directly after the rehearsal I will speak with Paredes, drictor Jean Lacornerie and conductor Kamps. The entrance is free, but please reserve your ticket here.
The hall was quite full, and the audience was quite stunned by the myriad of technical issues the ensemble and singers had to clear. Many people thankted me for my ‘enlightening’ after talk with Paredes, Kamps and Lacornerie. Several bought tickets for the première on the spot.
Hilda Paredes based Harriet on the life of Harriet Tubman (ca. 1822 – 1913), the Afro-American freedom fighter who escaped from slavery and saved many fellow-sufferers. I will speak with Paredes about her inspirations and her composition and with Claron McFadden about her views on Tubman.
The Muziekgebouw was sold out, and I had a very lively pre concert talk with Hilda Paredes and Claron McFadden, who shared personal memories of her own background in the United States. She left America in the seventies to come to Holland, because she could no longer endure being discrimated. The première of ‘Harriet’ was an enormous success, the audience kept cheering for minutes on end.
At 87 Sofia Gubaidulina is still going strong. The Russian-German composer is featured with four iconic works from as many decades. I had hoped to speak her in person, but she had to cancel her trip to Amsterdam because of an injury to her back. Soprano Katherine Dain and conductor Jonathan Berman will be my guests instead.
Again a full house for the portrait concert of Sofia Gubaidulina. It was great to find that both Jonathan Berman and Katherine Dain are as big fans of her music as I am.
This season NTRZaterdagMatinee has chosen to put a spotlight on women composers, who have not been all to visible in this series since its foundation in the sixties. Calliope Tsoupaki is one of several composers to be commissioned for a new work.
She composed Salto di Saffo the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the recorder player Erik Bosgraaf and panflute player Matthijs Koene. The piece is autobiographical and reflects on how Tsoupaki’s left her homeland to study with Louis Andriessen in the Netherlands.
Also at this pre concert talk a crowd of some 100 people turned up, to listen to the very spirited reactions to my questions by Calliope Tsoupaki. Her piece was played after the interval and the audience gave a standing ovation. – Not customary when it is not the end of the concert.
Presenter Stef Lokin interviewed me about my recent publication, in a very lively and sunny setting at the studo of Concertzender. You can listen to it via this link (in Dutch).
For the opening night of Gaudeamus Music Week I spoke with the five nominees: Lawrence Dunn; William Kuo; Matthias Krüger; Raphaël Languillat; Sebastian Hilli and William Dougherty. With five minutes each we still managed to enhuse the audience, seated on couches and beanbags. The hall was beautifully lit: modern music is no longer austere but welcoming.
In a two-hour lecture I’ll zoom in on the most important developments in contemporary music, focussing on the past 20 years, in which multimedia, electronics and influences from popular music have become paramount. In how far are these new, and in how far are they rooted in the music of the 20th century?
A crowd turned up for my mini-course at TivoliVredenburg. Afterwards there was a run on my new book, “Een os op het dak: moderne muziek in vogelvlucht”. I had to disappoint some visitors, but anyone can order it here
Prior to the Amsterdam première of The Garden by Richard Ayres, my book on contemporary music from 1900 onwards will be presented to the public. Concert introducer Michel Khalifa will ask me about the how and why of my publication, after which I will present Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht to Richard Ayres.
The pre concert talk attracted a lot of visitors and Khalifa gave a beautiful introduction of me and my book. He asked me a very relevant question: how did you manage to stuff over a 100 years of music history in as many pages? Indeed, this was not an easy task, for I had to kill many darlings. Mission succeeded, judging by the enthusiastic response from the readers.
As a prelude to the Gaudeamus Music Week I’ll give a course on contemporary music for friends of Huize Gaudeams in Bilthoven. I feel honoured to have been invited to lecture in this historic setting, that Walter Maas turned into the centre of the internatonial musical avant-garde shortly after World War II.
Maas also established the Gaudeamus Foundation that to this day organizes the yearly Gaudeamus Music Week and the Gaudeamus Award for composers under 30. My lecture lasts 2 hours, after which you can have dinner and stay on for the evening concert in which the 2018 nominees present themselves.
A select but very interested audience had turned up for my lecture. They were so enthusiastic that they didn’t want me to stop at all… My fiancé started the music/video samples.
On Friday 1 June the Oranjewoudfestival opens with a concert of North Netherlands Orchestra under Benjamin Levy. It will perform ao the world premiere of Future Perfect by Vanessa Lann. I’ll talk to her from 7.35-7.55.
It was a very rainy night, so the spatial setting Lann had envisioned couldn’t take place: the brass players that were planned to perform from the lawn had to be placed in the pavilion. Therefore our concert talk was cut to 15 minutes. It was inspiring anyway, and ‘Future Perfect’ got a warm applause from the audience.
The weather had picked up considerably and many people swarmed out over the festival grounds, while enjoying the short concert previews. Jean-Guihen Queyras spontaneously playes movements from Bach Suites on demand. – By heart! It was a huge success.
The Holland Festival had assured me Haas was not willing to particicipate in my pre concert talk, yet he showed up as a visitor, and spontaneously agreed to be my guest. He gave a spirited insight in his composition, which was an enormous success. Not in the least because of the riveting performance of Mollena Williams-Haas, who tells about her own addiction to alcohol and how she managed to beat it. Un memorable eveing, shame the hall wasn’t sold out.
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.
The hall was sold out and my talks with both Daniel Bard & Willem de Bordes were lively and informative.
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.
A crowd turned up for the meet & greet, which was very lively, with many questions from the audience.
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 venue was almost sold out and I had a great, very attentive audience.
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 – see below :-
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.