April 2017

7 April 19.15  hrs, 9 April 13.15 hrs.: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Groot Omroepkoor première new passions by Zivkovic and Ali-Zadeh

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.


Djuro Zivkovic & Thea Derks, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 7 April 2017

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.


Franghiz Ali-Zadeh & Thea Derks, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 7 April 2017

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.

March 2017

10 March, 19.15 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht: world première JacobTV

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.

Thea Derks + Jacob ter Veldhuis TivoliVredenburg 10-3-2017

18 March, 20.00 hrs., Zael in Meppel: lecture on modern music

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.

Now he designed the poster for my lecture. thea-derks-modern-klassiek-18-maart-2017

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.

Meppeler Courant 20-3-2017

23 March, 19.15 hrs., Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Liza Ferschtman & Friends

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!

Thea Derks + Mathilde Wantenaar – muziekgebouw aan het IJ 23 maart 2017 (photo by Myrthe van Dijk)

February 2017

7 February, 12.30 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

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. 

Christina Kubisch, Carola Bauckholt, Thea Derks, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ 7 February 2017. Photography Joost Tholens

Christina Kubisch, Carola Bauckholt, Thea Derks, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 7 February 2017. Photography Joost Tholens

19 February 14.15 hrs, Orgelpark Amsterdam: Recorder Quintet Seldom Sene

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. 

Thea Derks - Aspasia Nasopoulou - Ernst Dullemond, Orgelpark 19 February 2017

Thea Derks – Aspasia Nasopoulou – Ernst Dullemond, Orgelpark 19 February 2017

23 February, 19.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Strong Women

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

Hendrik Vanden Abeele - Thea Derks - Thomas Dieltjens, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ 23 February

Hendrik Vanden Abeele – Thea Derks – Thomas Dieltjens, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 23 February

January 2017

10 January 16.30 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

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!

Thea Derks, Richard Rijnvos, Ives Ensemble, MGIJ 10 January 2017 (c) Martina Simkovicova

Thea Derks, Richard Rijnvos, Ives Ensemble, MGIJ 10 January 2017 (c) Martina Simkovicova

12 January 19.15 hours, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

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.

John Snijders, Thea Derks, Richard Rijnvos MGIJ 12 January 2017 (photo Frans Curvers)

John Snijders, Thea Derks, Richard Rijnvos MGIJ 12 January 2017 (photo Frans Curvers)

21 January 19.00 hrs Oosterpoort Groningen

Pre concert talk on concert of Noord Nederlands Orkest / Hans Leenders, celebrating the  80th birthday of both Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

Oosterpoort 21-1-2017 (c) Tineke Algra

Oosterpoort 21-1-2017 (c) Tineke Algra

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.

December 2016

2 December 19.30 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest: NL première Viola Concerto James MacMillan
Pre concert talk with violist Lawrence Power


Thea Derks interviews Lawrence Power, TivoliVredenburg-2-12-2016 (c) Manon Tuynman

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


Meric Artac, Thea Derks & Ingrid Askvik, Ostade A’dam 12-12-2016

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.

Thea inleiding TV 18-12-2016.JPG

Introducing the concert also to people behind my back…

November 2016

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.
  • daniel-reuss-thea-mgij-24-11-2016

    Daniel Reuss + Thea Derks Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 24 Nov 2016

    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.