MAY 2022

12 May 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan het IJ: pre concert talk

Talk with the pianists Lucas & Arthur Jussen & the percussionists Alexej Gerassimez & Emil Kuyumcuyan on their double bill with music by Gerassimez alongside the Sonata for Two Pianos & Two percussionists by Bela Bartók.

13 May 19.30 hrs TivoliVredenburg: introduction to AVORTROSVrijdagconcert

Thea Derks, TivoliVredenburg 13 May 2022

The Radio Pilharmonic Orchestra plays the Dutch premiere of Der Zorn Gottes by Sofia Gubaidulina. On the programme further Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concert with the violinist Valeriy Sokolov, and La Mer Debussy.

19 May 11.30 hrs. & 19.15 hrs. Muziekgebouw aan het IJ: public rehearsal & pre concert talk about MARS I Jennifer Walshe

Jennifer Walshe composed this new piece for Klangforum Wien with the support of AMMODO. I will talk with Walshe before the public rehearsal & before the world premiere in the evening.

APRIL 2022

1 April 19.30 TivoliVredenburg: introducion AvroTrosVrijdagconcert

Artist in residence Maria Milstein plays Tzigane Ravel and the brand new violin concerto Planète verte, planète bleue that Max Knigge composed for her. I will interview Knigge, and hope to speak with Milstein too.

Max Knigge & Thea Derks 1 April 2022

7 April 19.15 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: concert introduction Afromodernism

The Austrian Ensemble Modern features composers of colour, centred around Alvin Singleton. He was a member of the Society of Black Composers who contested the concept of classical music having always been a white project, while contributions by musicians of colour have been documented since the 12th century. The programme will be conducted by Taiwanese conductor Lin Liao.

21 April 19.15 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: concert introduction ‘The Vision of De Leeuw’

The Flemish ensemble Het Collectief present a selection of arrangements of music from the fin-de-siècle made by Reinbert de Leeuw, Arnold Schoenberg and others.

22 April 18.45 : 3rd part of my beginners course on modern music in Amare, The Hague

In this last lecture I will zoom in on timbre, an important aspect of music that underwent many changes during the 20th century. In the ensuing concert the Residentie Orchestra will play a brand new One Minute Symphony by Charles Baumstark (who has agreed to come & tell sth about his new work.)

MARCH 2022

3 March 9.30 am, International School for Philosphy, Leusden: lecture on Sofia Gubaidulina & Galina Ustvolskaya

The lecture forms part of the course ‘Philophy and Art in Russia’ that takes place from 28 February through Friday 4 March.

8 March 12.00 am Lecture on women composers in Musis & Stadstheater Arnhem

In this luncheon lecture I will present female composers from Hildegard of Bingen through Sofia Gubaidulina and Cecilie Ore. The lunch is included in the entrance fee.

18 March 18.45 pm 2nd part of my beginners course on modern music in Amare, The Hague

In this lecture I will zoom in on the changes in harmony that took place in the course of the 20th century. In the concert Residentie Orchestra will play the world premiere of a suite from Ithaca, the opera Otto Ketting composed for the opening of the new Opera House in Amsterdam in 1986. Also a brand new One Symphony by Esther Wu will be premiered.

31 March 19.15 pm Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ concert introduction Bach & Britten

In this programme Amsterdam Sinfonietta combines piano concertos by J.S. Bach with British music by William Walton and Thomas Adès, whose Shanty – Over the Sea will have its Dutch premiere. Solist is Beatrice Rana.


13 January 19.15 hrs Muziekegbouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk with Kate Moore on Isabella

Kate Moore dedicated her full lenght concert Isabella to the Italian poet Isabella di Morra (1520 – 1545/46), who lived a short and tragic life. Locked up in the family castle she wrote poems until she was killed by her own brothers.

Cancelled on 19 December because of new corona measures.

20 January Muziekegbouw, and 21 January Concertgebouw: introduction to concert of Concertgebouw Orchestra ‘Made in Amercia’

Dutch premiere of Violin Concerto John Adams, with soloist Leila Josefowicz and works by Julia Perry and Charles Ives.

Cancelled 19 December because of new corona measures


2 December 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk with Maxim Shalygin & Rob van den Broek

Maxim Shalgying composed Severade a for Cello Octet Amsterdam, cellist Maya Fridman and a scound sculpture by Rob van den Broek that functions as an extension of the 9 acoustic cellos. I interviewed Shalygin about it for my blog.

Update 26 November: concert was cancelled due to new covid-19 measures

9 December 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk with Meriç Artaç  on The Arrival of Mr. Z

With this new opera Meriç Artaç concludes her 2-year residency with the festival Dag in de Branding. Composer Meriç Artaç is inspired in her work by real people she observes on the street. For The Arrival of Mr. Z. she invented five different musical characters based on these encounters.

Update 26 November: concert was cancelled due to new covid-19 measures

november 2021

4 November 16.30-18.00 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Public rehearsal Bosch Requiem

Each year the festival November Music opens with a newly composed Bosch Requiem, this time it was composed by Hawar Tawfiq. Before the rehearsal I will speak with Tawfiq and conductor Ed Spanjaard.

Ed Spanjaard – Thea Derks – Hawar Tawfiq Muziekgebouw 4 November 2021

4 November 19.15-19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk about Bosch Requiem

Prior to the world premiere ot Bosch Requiem des fleurs et des nuages by philharmonie zuid I will speak with composer Hawar Tawfiq and baritone Thomas Oliemans.

Ed Spanjaard praised Tawfiq for writing interesting parts for each individual musician.
The rehearsal of Tawfiq’s Requiem moved many people deeply.

6 November, 13.00-13,45 and 15.00-15.45 Eratofestival Meppel: lecture on female composers

In the atmospheric living room of Hans & Wiebe Bosma I will speak about composers who are still too seldom heard – illustrated lavishly with fragments from their music. Read more about in in my blog.

After my lecture Wiebe Bosma geave me this wonderful bouquet

13 November, 19.15-20.15 hrs Amare, The Hague: first lecture of 3-part course on modern music

The newly opened culture house Amare houses both the Royal Conservatoire and Residentie Orkest. They have invited me to give a 3-course series about modern music, starting on 13 November, when Residentie Orkest joins forces with Slagwerk Den Haag for the world premiere of Afrique, Richard Rijnvos.

In this first lecture I will therefore zoom in on the development of rhyhtm in the 20th and 21st centuries. Rijnvos has agreed to a short interview at the end of my lecture. The concert starts at 20.30 hrs.

24 November 20.00hrs Ereprijs Orkest: after talk Re-Generation – Personal Cultures

For this programme, ereprijs have asked 5 composers to write a new piece, reflecting on their background and development, and thus connect genres and generations. After the premieres of the 5 new compositions, I will interview the composers: Ned McGowan; Jasna Veličković; Oğuz Büyükberber; Ted Hearne and Christopher Trapani.

Jasna Velickovic; Ned McGowan; Thea Derks; Ted Hearne; Christopher Trapani; Oguz Büyükberber

It was a very diverse programme, and we had quite a lively & well attended aftertalk.


6 October 16.00-17.30 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: public rehearsal Arianna

Florian Magnus Maier composed Aranna for Le nuove musiche, inspired by the lost opera of Monteverdi of which only the lament survived. After the rehearsal I will moderate a talk with Florian about his opera and its link with the original.

7 October 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk about Arianna

I will speak with Florian Magnus Maier and director Sybrand van der Werf.

It was quite a lively talk, for a Foyerdeck filled to capacity.

Sybrand van der Werf, Thea Derks, Florian Magnus Maier Muziekgebouw 7 October 2021

14 October 20.00 hrs, Huis de Pinto Amsterdam: lecture on my biography Reinbert de Leeuw: mens of melodie

September 2021

10 September, 21.30 hrs TivoliVredenburg: aftertalk with nominees Gaudeamus

After the performance of works by the four nominees for the Gaudeamus Award 2021 I will introduce them in a talk on stage. 

Our lively talk ended with a wonderful surprise; it was filmed by Mark Tober.

19 September, Huis 73 Den Bosch 11.30-13.00 lecture on music from 1950

As part of the upcoming November Music Festival the organisation staged a series of 4 lectures for its visitors. I have been asked to shine a light on composers of the avant-garde from the fifties onward,

I had a wonderful audience that responded quite lively to my talk and asked very relveant questions. A great kick-off of the festival.

30 September, Uilenburgersjoel Amsterdam: cd-presentation duo Renée Bekkers and Jacobien Rozemond

Violinist Jacobien Rozemond and accordeonist Renée Bekkers present their cd Vox. I will interview Gerard Beljon and Willem Jeths about their contribution to the repertoire. Jeths was inspired by his opera Ritratto

August 2021

20-22 August: Oranjewoudfestival Proeftuin

On three consecutive days I will moderate the performances in ‘Proeftuin’, the open air stage of this exciting festival, showcasing both young talents and established musicians.

In spite of the corona measures the festival and my talks with the musicians drew a crowd.

Andrei Korobeinikov told a nice anecdote about his name before playing a sneak preview with cellist Johannes Moser

28 August 17.00 hrs Pleintheater: Nieuwe Noten AmsterdamThis new music series presents Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit for stahlcello and overtone singing by Miranda Driessen. Prior to the performance I will have a short talk with the composer.

This new music series presents Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit for stahlcello and overtone singing by Miranda Driessen. Prior to the performance I will have a short talk with the composer.

June 2021

25 June, Theater Flint Amersfoort 18.45 + 20.45 hrs pre concert talk This is not a Fairytale

After many cancellations, finally 2 performances of this lied cycle by Anne Maartje Lemereis will be performed for a live audience. Due to the corona restrictions only 50 people are allowed in the hall. At 7.45 pm I will have a pre concert talk with composer Anne Maartje Lemereis and director Kenza Koutchoukali, at 8.45 I will speak with Lemereis only.

Both introductions were quite lively, with Lemereis and Koutchoukali having different views on the feminist character of ‘This is not a Fairytale’ in the first, and a spontaneous contribution from Rob van den Broek in the second talk. He built the the racks with medicine vials that are both used musically and dramatically.

Kenza Koutchoukali Thea Anne Maartje Lemereis 2 klein

February 2021

11 February Huis De Pinto Amsterdam 20.00 hrs: talk about #Reinbertbio

The historic Huis De Pinto in the centre of Amsterdam invites biographers of people who lived in Amsterdam. Reinbert de Leeuw lived here all his live, at different addresses. I will illuminate my lecture with musical fragments, photos and videos.  

Rescheduled for 8 April due to corona; rescheduled for 10 June, then again rescheduled for 14 October.

January 2021

22 January Theater Flint Amersfoort 19.45 hrs: This is (not) a Fairy-Tale

Pre concert talk with composer Anne-Maartje Lemereis and director Kenza Koutchoukali who realized this small-scale song cycle about a woman who is desillusioned because the adagium ‘and they lived happily ever after…’ never came true. Let’s hope in January more than 30 people can see this wonderful production!

Rescheduled for 25 June due to corona

December 2020

2 December, Odeon Zwolle 18.45 hrs: This is not a Fairytale

Pre concert talk with composer Anne-Maartje Lemereis and director Kenza Koutchoukali about this small-scale song cycle about a woman who is desillusioned because the adagium ‘and they lived happily ever after…’ never came true.

With only 30 visitors allowed because of the corona measures, the hall was sold out. Almost all visitors also attended my talk with composer and director. Though we had to keep our distance, it was a very lively introduction, with beautiful insights into the character of Stella, who finally decides to trust her own instincts rather than look for happiness elsewhere. The performance was intimate and intense.

Kenza Katchoukali – Thea Derks – Anne-Maartje Lemereis, Odeon 2 Dec 2020

November 2020

15 November, Amsterdam, 15.00 hrs: interview with Miranda Driessen

Pre concert talk with composer Miranda Driessen about Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit for Stalhcello and overtone singing that she composed for the German sound artist Jan Heinke. The concert forms part of the series ‘Nieuwe Noten’ (New Notes) hosted by Fie Schouten and Aspasia Nasopoulou.

Cancelled because of new corona-measures

October 2020

16 October, 19.15 hrs, Flint Theatre Amersfoort: This is not a Fairy-Tale

Pre concert talk with composer Anne-Maartje Lemereis about her music theatre piece This is (not) a Fairy-Tale about a girl who needs magic to face the world. But does she…? I’ll ask Lemereis why she chose this theme, and how she has shaped it musically. Fingers crossed this talk will survive the severe corona measuses….

Update 14 October. Unfortunately Flint Theatre just cancelled all concerts due to the new corona-measures.

September 2020

From March onwards all my pre concert talks and concert introductions were cancelled and most organisations still refrain from organizing pre concert talks, at least until 31 December. However, a few organizers are brave. So here goes:

6 September, 16,30 hrs, Zael Meppel: interview with Wim Stoppelenburg on his new oratorio Erasmus 

Wim Stoppelenburg was born in Gouda, as was Erasmus, one of the founders of humanism. His message of tolerance has lost nothing of its urgence and appeal today. Stoppelenburg composed an oratorio for choir, orchestra and solo voices, and I’ll ask him about his affinity with Erasmus and about how he has conceived the music.

Adriaan Meij had organized a perfectly corona-proof event, the cosy hall was completely sold out, and the talk with Wim was very lively, and together with his daugther Charlotte he performed some fragments from the oratorio. A great kick-off for the new season!

Thea + Wim in gesprek poging 2

16 September Lokaal42 Helmond 21.00 hrs: presentation of 3rd edition Reinbertbio & Slotakkoord: Reinbert de Leeuw 2014-2020

In February 2020 Reinbert de Leeuw died, shortly afterwards I finished the 3rd edition of my biography, with two extra chapters covering his final years. These were published separately under the title Slotakkoord: Reinbert de Leeuw 2014-2020.

Lokaal42 was filled to capacity and, as earlier in January, the audience was really engaged, making it into a memorable evening. Visitor Roel Hofman took this picture of 9me and organizer Wim Maasakkers. In the background you see Reinbert de Leeuw’s coffin begin carried to his grave, the image with which I concluded my lecture.


25 September 19.15 hrs, Schouwburg Hengelo: This is (not) a Fairy-Tale

Anne-Maartje Lemereis composed This is (not) a Fairy-Tale in 2019, about a girl who needs magic to face the world. But does she…? In a pre concert talk I’ll ask Lemereis why she chose this theme, and how she has shaped it musically.

Unfortunately this pre concert talk was cancelled at the last moment.


Update 14 March: due to the Corona-virus all concerts and festivals have been cancelled up to 1 June. This means that my concert introductions will be scrapped, too. Such a terrible shame!

April, May, June 2020

9 April 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: pre concert talk ‘Hungarian Rhapsody’ Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Olivier Patey & Quatuor Danel

7 + 8 May 19.15 hrs. Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Spiegel im Spiegel, Amsterdam Sinfonietta + Nederlands Kamerkoor

Pre concert talk

21 May, 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: ‘Arianna’, Florian Magnus Maier + Le nuove musiche

Pre concert talk and public rehearsal of Maier’s new work.

March 2020

7 March, 10.30-12.30 CKE Eindhoven : lecture on modern music ‘Een os op het dak’

The lecture is organized by COMA, in the form of the festival ‘Peper in je oor’, a full day of new music with and for amateurs – exactly the intended audience for my book. Eindhovens Dagblad interviewed me about my crash course.

In spite of the Corona-virus the CKE Eindhoven was brimming with people young and old who wanted to know more about modern music. My class was even attended by a baby in a buggy, who listened quietly, sometimes joining in with the music fragments I played. 

Coma Eindhoven 7-3-2020 foto John Thomas
Participants of my lecture, the lady with the bun is the grandmother of the baby, who is not in the picture. Photo taken by John Thomas

7 March 19.30-20.00 hrs Nieuwe Kerk: pre concert talk with Anna Thorvaldsdottir

The talk forms part of the festival Dag in de Branding, in which the New European Ensemble features the Icelandic composer in two portrait concerts, on Saturday 7 and on Sunday 8 February.

From Eindhoven I drove straight on to The Hague, for my interview with Anna Thorvalsdsottir. Unfortunately she was indisposed (in connection with the Corona-virus) and had to cancel her trip. Instead I spoke to Emlyn Stam, violist and artistic leader of the New European Ensemble. At my request he demonstrated some bowing techniques Thorvaldsdottir uses in her work, especially in ‘Entropic Arrows’, that was premiered on Sunday 8 March.

Emlyn Stam + Thea Derks, De Nieuwe Kerk Den Haag, 7 March 2020

21 & 23 March, 19.30-20.00 hrs Concertgebouw: introduction Turangalila-Symphony Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Update 12 March: all concerts in the Netherlands have been cancelled until 31 March because of the Corona-virus.

Olivier Messiaen composed his large-scale Turangalîla-Symphonie between 1946-1948, on a commission by Serge Koussevitzky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Interesting is his use of the ondes-martenot, that will be played by Nathalie Forget. I hope to speak to her during my introduction.

February 2020

7 February, Korzo Theater 15.30-16.30: introduction to music from 1900 to the present ‘Een os op het dak’

This mini-course is organized by the festival Dag in de Branding and forms part of its new year’s reception. Free for all, but please send an email to to confirm your presence.

Some 25 people had come, and they were really dedicated and actively participated in my talk. Rob Hogeslag took a picture.

Thea Derks foto Rob Hogeslag in Korzo 7-2-2020
Thea Derks, Korzo Theater The Hague, 7 Feb 2020 (c) Rob Hogeslag

12 + 19 February Muziekgebouw Eindhoven 21.00: Een os op het dak, 2-part mini course on contemporary music

16 February TivoliVredenburg 14.15: concert introduction to Antwerp Symponhy Orchestra / Tan Dun

The famed Chinese/American composer Tan Dun conducts the orchestra in classics by Smetana, Takemitsu and Britten, alongside his own Water Concerto. I will speak with soloist BeiBei Wang.

Sadly, 2 days before this concert Reinbert de Leeuw died, TivoliVredenbug designed a moving tribute

Reinbert TivoliVredenburg
Tribute to Reinbert de Leeuw, TivoliVredenburg 14 Feb 2020 (c) Astrid in ‘t Veld)

During the introduction soloist BeiBei Wang gave a spirited illustration of the water percussion she was playing, and the concert was a huge succes. The concert opened with a new piece, composed by Tan Dun on the plane from New York, in honour of the victims of the coronavirus in Wuhan. All in all it was a moving and exhilarating afternoon! 

January 2020

10 January 19.30 hrs TivoliVredenburg, introduction to AVROTROSVrijdagconcert 

Originally Vasily Petrenko would conduct the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in a new work by Sofia Gubaidulina. Unfortunately this had to be postponed. Instead they will perform Prokofiev’s Suite opus 46 from The Prodigal Son. Further on the programme: Haydn Cello Concerto in C with cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, and Strauss Also sprach Zarathustra.


15 January, 21.00 hrs lecture ‘Een os op het dak’, Lokaal42 Helmond

Located in the centre of Helmond, Lokaal42 presents an array of cultural events each month. I will give a lecture on contemporary music from 1900 to now, based on my book ‘An Ox on the Roof. Entrance free.

A lot of people turned up for my lecture in the the cosy bar, many of whom had studied at the conservatoire. From the start there was a lively discussion on almost any topic I raised, the enthusiastic participation of the audience was really was heartwarming!

Thea + Os Lokaal42-min

18 + 20 January 19.30 hrs, introduction to concert Netherlands Philharmonic Concert

Concert with the renowned 2nd Percussion Concerto by James McMillan, featuring Dominique Vleeshouwers. He was recently awarded the prestigious Dutch Music Award, that will be handed to him after the concert by Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister of Culture.

An enormous crowd had turned up for the introduction, and as a surprise Dominique showed up for a mini-interview. He admitted being nervous because of the award ceremony after his performance, but he did great, and gave a wonderful thank you speach, stressing the importance of the arts, mildly prodding the Minister to better subsidise them. 

Met Dominique Vleeshouwers met Nederlandse Muziekprijs
Dircectly after the ceremony I posed with Dominique Vleeshouwers and the little sculpture that goes with the prize

30 January 19.30 hrs TivoliVredenburg: introduction to Cappella Napolitana & Giovanni Sollima

As part of the famed Festival of Early Music this concert presents Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater alongside music by Vinci, Leo and cellist Sollima himself. – And the good news is: Sollima will be my guest at the introduction, and will play some fragments on his cello!

Sollima turned out to be a loquacious and enthusiast guest, not only fervently advocating the music of Leonardo Leo, but also the Southern regions of Italy: ‘We have great music, great food and the landscape is magnificent, do come and visit!’ He also played some fragments from Leo and his own concerto ‘Fecit Neap. 17…’
The two concerti were fabulous, and after the break we were treated to a deeply  moving and intimate ‘Satbat Mater’ by Pergolesi. 

Thea + Giovanni Sollima tijdens introductie - foto Netty Welsma
Thea Derks + Giovanni Sollima, TivoliVredenburg 30 Jan 2020, Photo taken by Netty Wels

December 2019

8 December 15.00 hrs Oranjekerk Amsterdam: concert Kamerkoor Amphion The Heart of Europe

For our programme ‘The Heart of Europe’ the artistic committee selected works by such diverse composers as Dvorák, Janácek, Ligeti and Haydn. I managed to sneak two women composers into the repertoire: Dobrinka Tabakova and Aleksandra Popovska.

Popovska was born in Macedonia, but now lives in The Hague. We sang her arrangement of Ani mori nuse, an Albanian folk song. Popovska herself was present, and we thanked her with a bouquet and an encore of her wonderful piece. The audience loved it – and so did we, singers!Na afloop met Aleksandra Popovska

12 December, 19.15 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, introduction to Ives Ensemble

The ever adventurous Ives Ensemble presents a very diverse concert, with music ranging from Webern to John Cage and from Alvin Lucier to Franco Donatoni and Dick Raaymakers.

Central to the concert is the Amsterdam premiere of From Scratch I ‘Plain Dust’ by Willem Boogman. He shaped his composition after a film by Alexandra Roozen in which she focussed on the sound of pencils scratching on paper. I will talk with artistic leader John Snijders, Roozen and Boogman.

It was a very lively talk, followed by a really exciting concert, with Snijders playing cacti and other plants. The ensemble gave an intense interpretation of Boogman’s From Scrarch I: Plain Dust, whose crispy sound wonderfully matched both Roozen’s art and Cage’s cacti.

Alexandra Roozen, Wim Boogman, Thea Derks, John Snijders, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 12 December 2019

13 December, 19.00 hrs. Introduction to concert featuring Dutch women composers, Conservatory of Amsterdam

This is the last of a 3-part concert series Elisaveta Agrafenina organized as part of her master studies. She was inspired my thesis about the (in)visibility of women in the music world and asked me to share my personal experiences with the audience.

It was a wonderful evening, with a lot of beautiful music, performed by students.

Elisaveta houdt Os omhoog
Elisaveta Agrafenina also asked me to tell something about my book  ‘An Ox on the Roof’, on music from 1900 onwards, in which I included many women composers.

November 2019

7 November, 4.30-5.30 pm Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Public rehearsal, aftertalk and  concert introduction to Ensemble Modern

The German Ensemble Modern presents two world premieres, composed for them by Zeynep Gedizlioglu and Iris ter Schiphorst. A rehearsal of Assange – Fragmente einer Unzeit by Ter Schiphorst is open for the public from 4.30-5 pm. From 5.10-5.30 I will speak with conductor Enno Poppe and Ter Schiphorst. Both rehearsal and aftertalk are free for all.

From 7.15-7.45 I will also moderate the concert introduction, in which I will speak with Iris ter Schiphorst and Zeynep Gedizlioglu. I interviewed Ter Schiphorst on her new piece. 

Both public rehearsal and concert drew a lot of visitors, and the premieres by ter Schiphorst and Gedizlioğlu got a very enthusistic reception.

Iris ter Schiphorst - Thea - Enno Poppe nagesprek over Assange - Fragmente einer Unzeit
Iris ter Schiphorst, Thea Derks, Enno Poppe during after talk on Assange – Fragmente einer Unzeit (c) Co Broerse

8 November, 7.30 pm AVTOTROSVrijdagconcert: world premiere by Joost Kleppe for Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and Groot Omroepkoor

The Dutch composer Joost Kleppe was commissioned to write a new work for the combined forces of Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and Groot Omroepkoor. For Spirit of Mustafa he found inspiration in the poetry of the Persion poet Rumi. In my introduction I’ll talk to him about the background and form of this new work.

The premiere was a huge success, as was my introduction with Joost Kleppe. He even brought his melodica to play some music examples, unfortunately not on the picture…

Joost Thea
Joost Kleppe _ Thea Derks discussing Spirit of Mustafa, picture Astrid in ‘t Veld

14 November 7 pm, Oosterpoort Groningen, 16 November 7 pm De Lawei, Drachten: concert introduction to Noord Nederlands Orkest: Dancing on the Volcano

Under the title ‘Dancing on the Volcano’ the North Netherlands Orchestra will perform 3 popular works: Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faun; Bruch Violin Concerto and Rimsky-Korsakow Sheherazade. The concert will be conducted by Kerem Hasan, the soloist is Akiko Suwanai.

There was so much interest for the concert I couldn’t have dinner in the Oosterpoort restaurant… The introduction drew a crowd too, and was very animated. My friend Hans Peeters caught me, and the audience directly after my talk. There was even a dog attending!

Audience leaving
Thea met Os Oosterpoort 14-11-2019 Foto Hans Peeters

16 November De Lawei: a packed house for my introduction. Interestingly I launched a liveley dispute about language/dialect when I linked Frisia to my home province of Limburg. All in good spirits though. Wonderful audience, wonderful hall, great concert!

De Lawei, Drachten, 16 November 2019 (c) Ger van den Beuken

22 November 7.30 pm, introduction AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, ROctet, works for string octet by Míchans, Shostakovich, Bach and Mendelssohn.

Carlos Míchans composed Divertimento for eight strings Variations on a Tamil Lyric in 2000, it’s inspired by spiritual music from the Tamils. On the programme too, the famous Octet for Strings by Mendelssohn, Two Pieces for String Octet by Shostakovich and arrangements of Bach’s Kunst der Fuge for string quartet/octet.

During my introduction I spoke with violinist Joris van Rijn, who played some fragments of music, and with Carlos Micháns, who sang the Tamil Lyric on which he had based his piece.

Joris + Thea Herz 3
Thea + Joris van Rijn, illustrating the screechy sounds in Shostakovich (photo Manon Tuynman)

October 2019

3 October, 7.15 pm Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Musikfabrik plays Georges Aperghis

Thea + Georges Aperghis A
Thea Derks + Georges Aperghis MGIJ 3 Oct 2019

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.

11 October 7.15 pm Concertgebouw, introduction to Thomas Adès

Thea + Thomas Adès na concert 10-10-2019 A

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.

It was a very lively introduction and the concert was a huge success. Afterwards I congratulated Adès in the famed Conductor’s Room in Concertgebouw. His partner took te picture above.

12 October 7.40, TivoliVredenburg, introduction to première Mathilde Wantenaar

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.

Foto Astrid in 't Veld A
Mathilde Wantenaar and Thea Derks, TivoliVredenburg 12 October 2019, photo by Astrid in ‘t Veld, programmer of AVROTROSVrijdagconcert

We only had 10 minutes, but Mathilde Wantenaar managed to give a vivid impression on her new piece anyway. As if we’d planned it, our outfits matched perfectly. – Heartwarming was the audience’s enthusiastic response to Wantenaar’s new piece. One critic even wrote it outshone Music for Ensemble and Orchestra by Steve Reich!  – Which was indeed somewhat disappointing.

September 2019

1 September 10-12 am Janskerk Utrecht: panel discussion about the future of Dutch Ensemble culture

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. 

4 September, 7.30 pm, TivoliVredenburg: talk with the nominees of Gaudeamus Music Week 2019

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.

Thea + Remy Siu - Kelley Sheehan - Scott Rubin - Nick Morrish - Stefan Maier 4-9-2019 Gaudeamus (c) Co Broerse
Thea + Remy Siu – Kelley Sheehan – Scott Rubin – Nick Morrish – Stefan Maier 4 Sept 2019 Gaudeamus (c) Co Broerse

19 September, 7.15 pm Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Cappella Amsterdam ‘Love Letters’

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!!
Peteris Vasks + Thea met Os.jpg

22 September, 2.15 pm, TivoliVredenburg: introduction to Residentie Orkest

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. Thea Vredenburg

28 September 11.15 am, Universiteits Theater Amsterdam: hosting a discussion on Hanss Eisler

Thea + Kate Honey aan tafel klein

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.

August 2019

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, and the local magazine pisted a positive review.

Tsoupaki tweet over Fireside Chat Huize Gaudeamus 29-8-2019

30 August 10.00-12 am, Janskerk Utrecht: debate about ensemble culture

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.

June 2019

1 June 6-6.30 pm introduction to ‘8’ Michael Gordon at Oranjewoudfestival

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.

May 2019 

10 + 16 May,7.15 pm introduction Amsterdam Sinfonietta + Aleksander Melnikov, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

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.

Thea Derks + Katia Tchemberdji MGIJ 16 May 2019

12 May 2.15 pm TivoliVredenburg, Noord Nederlands Orkest + cellist Henriette Krijgh

The North Netherlands Orchestra performs Moldau by Smetana, Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C (initially Lalo was planned here).

17 May, 8.15 pm, Ogterop Meppel: opening concert Erato Festival 

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’

Lezing bij familie Bosma 19-5

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 vogelvluchtThe lectures form part of the Erato Festival.

20 May, 7.30 pm, Canada National Arts Centre Orchestra

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.

30 May, 1.45 pm and 31 May, 6.15 pm Oranjewoudfestival, lecture Een os op het dak: moderne muziek in vogelvlucht

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.

Os compressed min

30 May 4.45 pm Oranjewoud ‘How to play the triangle’ with Tatiana Koleva

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.

April 2019

2 April, 14.00-15.15 hrs: Explore the score, new Piano Concerto Pastiche by Vladimir Martynov for Ralph ban Raat & Noord Nederlands Orkest, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam

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.

Ralph van Raat, Thea Derks, Vladimir Martynov, Valeria Gorokhovskaya (interpreter) Muziekgebouw 2 April 2019 (picture by Jolanthe Muliar

5 April, 19.15 hrs. Oosterpoort Groningen: Noord Nederlands Orkest with Piano Concerto Pastiche Vladimir Martynov, played by Ralph van Raat

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.

Van Raat forgot all about our introduction, but Vanessa did turn up and revealed the concept behind her composition.

6 April, 13.15 hrs. Concertgebouw Amsterdam: NTRZaterdagMatinee, talk with Mayke Nas on her new piece for Asko|Schönberg

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.

March 2019

1 March 19.30 hrs introduction to Radio Philharmonic Orchestra / Markus Stenz in AVROTROSVrijdagoncert

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’.

Carolin Widmann foto 2 TV 1-3-2019
Thea Derks + Carolin Widmann, TivoliVredenburg 1 March 2019

10 March 20.00 hrs lecture ‘Een os op het dak’ Nieuwe Huysconcerten Zaandam

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! IMG-3494

16 March, 15.30 hrs crash course on contemporary music Broekhuis Enschede

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.

Audience at Broekhuis, 16 March 2019 (c) Robert van der Meulen

February 2019

14 February, 7.15 pm introduction to Cappella Amsterdam ‘Time & the Bell’

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.

Thea Derks + Liisa Hirsch MGIJ 14-2-2019
Thea Derks + Liisa Hirsch, MGIJ 14 February 2019

15 February 7.30 pm introduction to philharmonie zuidnederland with NL premiere Stefano Bollani

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.

Thea Derks + Stefano Bollani 15-2-2019 TivoliVredenburg
Thea Derks + Stefano Bollani 15February 2019TivoliVredenburg

17 February 23.00-24.00 hrs interview in Vrije Geluiden, VPRO Radio 4

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.

Aad van Nieuwerk + Thea Derks, Vrije Geluiden VPRO Radio4, 17 February 2019

18 February 20.00 hrs Huis de Pinto Amsterdam: concert lecture ‘Een os op het dak’ with pianist Marcel Worms

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.

Thea + Marcel Worms Huis de Pinto 18-2-2109
Marcel Worms + Thea Derks, Huis de Pinto 18 February 2109

28 February 19.15 hrs introduction to ‘Rückblick’ by György Kurtág, Ensemble Musikfabrik

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.

Marco Blaauw + Thea 28-2-2019 MGIJ
Marco Blaauw + Thea Derks 28 Feb Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

January 2019

6 January, 20.00 TivoliVredenburg: after concert talk with Rozalie Hirs on Dreams of Airs

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.

Thea Derks + Rozalie Hirs, Hertz, TivoliVredenburg 6 January 2019

18 January 19.15 Concertgebouw Amsterdam: introduction to concert RCO / George Benjamin

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.

25 January 7.15 pm, TivoliVredenburg: introduction to RFO / Edo de Waart with ao Henriëtte Bosmans

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.

thea 2 foto erik verbrugh

28 January 3 pm bookstore Scheltema Amsterdam: live talk on ‘Een os op het dak’ for programme ‘Springvossen’ AmsterdamFM

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:

December 2018

6 December, 19.15 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introduction Amsterdam Sinfonietta + Marc-André Hamelin

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.

8 December, 19.15 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introduction Amsterdam Sinfonietta + Marc-André Hamelin

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.

Candida Thompson + Marc-André Hamelin 8-12
Candida Thompson + Thea Derks + Marc-André Hamelin 8 December Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

November 2018

1 November CCAmstel: aftertalk with Meric Artac & Ingrid Askvik on Madam Koo

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.

Meric Artac Thea Derks Ingrid Askvik 1 November CC Amstel
Meric Artac – Thea Derks- Ingrid Askvik, 1 November CC Amstel

6 November 15.00-17.30 Grand Theatre Groningen Soundsof music: crash course on modern music

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.

Thea Derks, crash course modern music in Grand Theatre Groningen 6 November 2018

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.

Gavin Bryars & Thea Derks, Groningen 6 November 2018

8 November, 13.00 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Public rehearsal Klangforum Wien

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.

8 November, 19.15, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introduction to concert Klangforum Wien

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.

Thea + Jan vd Putte 8-11-2018 MGIJ
Thea Derks + Jan vd Putte 8 November 2018 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

9 November 14.00-17.30, Verkadefabriek Den Bosch: symposium about spiritual music

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.

Joep Franssens - Anthony Fiumara - Thea tijdens symposium spirituele muziek
Joep Franssens – Anthony Fiumara – Thea during Symposium on spiritual music, 9 November 2018 Verkadefabriek Den Bosch

10 November 11.30 Willem Twee Concertzaal Den Bosch: pre concert talk with Rebecca Saunders

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.

Thea + Rebecca Saunders 10-11-2018 Willem II Concertzaal
Thea Derks + Rebecca Saunders 10 November Concert Hall Willem II Den Bosch

15 November, 19.15 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Ensemble Resonanz with NL première Aperghis

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.

Tobias Rempe + Thea Derks MGIJ 15-11-2018 NL première Migrants Aperghis
Tobias Rempe + Thea Derks MGIJ 15 Nov 2018

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.

24 November, 16.30-17.00, Theater aan het Spui, Den Haag: talk about contemporary music with Wim Boerman, Saskia Lankhoorn & Henk Heuvelmans

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).

20181124 Thea + Wim Boerman + Saskia Lankhoorn + Henk Heuvelmans Reinbert op achtergrond
Henk Heuvelmans – Saskia Lankhoorn – Thea Derks – Wim Boerman & Reinbert ist auch dabei…

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.

29 November, 19.15, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Lantern Lectures Klas Torstensson by Norbotten NEO

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 + Thea Derks MGIJ 29-11-2018
Christian Karlsen + Thea Derks MGIJ 29 Nov 2018

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. \

30 November 19.30 Jacobikerk Utrecht: New work by Nana Forte in AVROTROSVrijdagconcertN

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 my blog.

Thea + Nana Forte Jacobikerk 28-11-2018
Thea Derks + Nana Forte Jacobikerk 28 November 2018

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.

October 2018

2 October 12.00-13.30 hrs: Public rehearsal “Harriet” by Hilda Paredes, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

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.

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.

3 October 19.15-19.45 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introcuction to Harriet, Hilda Paredes

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.

Hilda Paredes Thea Derks Claron McFadden MGIJ 3 Oct 2018
Hilda Paredes Thea Derks Claron McFadden MGIJ 3 Oct 2018

4 October 19.15-19,45 hrs Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introduction to “The Visions of Gubaidulina” by New European Ensemble.

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. 

Thea Derks + Katherine Dain MGIJ 4 Oct 2018

6 October 13.40-14.05 hrs Concertgebouw Amsterdam: talk with Calliope Tsoupaki on her new composition for NTR ZaterdagMatinee

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. 

Calliope Tsoupaki + Thea Derks Concertgebouw 6 Oct 2018

10 October, 15.15 hrs. Concertzender actueel: talk about ‘Een os op het dak’

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).

Concertzender Actueel 10-10-2018 met Stef Lokin
Concertzender Actueel, 10 October 2018, with Stef Lokin

September 2018

5 September 19.15-19.45 hrs. TivoliVredenburg Main Hall: pre concert talk with nominees

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.

5-9-2018 foto Herre Vermeer
Raphaël Languillat; Sebastian Hilli; Lawrence Dunn; Thea Derk; Matthias Krüger; William Kuo; Williamn Dougherty (c) Herre Vermeer

7 September 14.30-16.30 hrs, Club 9 TivoliVredenburg, lecture on contemporary music

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

os gaudeamus verkleind

13 September, 19.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: presentation “Een os op het dak”

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. Richard Ayres - Thea - Michel Khalifa MGIJ 13-9-2018

The book can be ordered here

August 2018

30 August 15.30-18.00 hrs, Huize Gaudeamus Biltoven, lecture on contemporary music

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. 

June 2018

1 June, Oranjewoudfestival opening night, talk with Vanessa Lann 

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.

Vanessa Lann + Thea Derks, returning from talk in pavilion on the water, Oranjewoudfestival 1 June 2018

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.

2 June, 13.00 hrs – 17.45 hrs: host of Proeftuin (experimental ground), with concerts by various musicians

9 June, 13.00 hrs – 17.45 hrs: of Proeftuin, short concerts by various musicians

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.

Thea + Jean-Guihen Queyras Proeftuin Oranjewoud 9 juni 2018
Thea Derks + Jean-Guihen Queyras Proeftuin Oranjewoud 9 June 2018

9 June, Night of the Park, 21.30 hrs – 22.00 hrs: talk with Sarah Kirkland about Unremembered, that will be performed at midnight

13 June, 19.45 hrs. – 20.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: introduction to Hyena Georg Friedrich Haas, written for & performed by Mollena Lee Williams

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.

GF Haas - Thea - Mollena Williams-Haas MGIJ 13-6-2018
Thea Derks, Georg Friedrich Haas, Mollena Williams-Haas, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 13 June 2018

May 2018

2 May, introduction Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam, Sinfonietta: Song of the Flying Horses

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.

Thea Derks + Daniel Bard MGIJ 2-5-2018
Thea Derks + Daniel Bard MGIJ 2 May 2018

3 May, after talk Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Ragazze Quartet, Mayke Nas: Radio Russia

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. Still uit video - kopie

13 May, introduction TivoliVredenburg: Gelders Concert & Alexander Melnikov

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. 

TivoliVredenburg 13-5-2018 inleiding Gelders Orkest Russisch programma.jpg

April 2018

9 April, introduction TivoliVredenburg: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Gražynitė-Tyla

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. Thea voorbereidend op inleiding TV 9-4-2018 foto

14 April, 8.15 pm Papegaaikerk Amsterdam: concert chamber choir Amphion

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.

Indra Rise + Thea Derks Papegaaikerk A'dam 14-4-2018 (2)
Indra Rise + Thea Derks Papegaaikerk A’dam 14-4-2018

21 April, 7.30 pm Korzo The Hague: (Un)heard Music Festival, Jonathan Dove

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 :-

March 2018

8 March, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Silbersee presents Stimmung Karlheinz Stockhausen

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.

Thea Derks + Kathinka Pasveer MGIJ 8-3-2018 foto Co Broerse
Thea Derks + Kathinka Pasveer, 8 March 2018 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, photo Co Broerse

Here’s an interview I had with Karlheinz Stockhausen on Himmels-Tür in 2006.

15 March and 16 March: Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Amsterdam Sinfonietta, NL premiere Greater Antiphons Arvo Pärt. 

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.

Thea + Nicolas
Thea Derks + Nicolas Altstaedt Muziekgebouw 15 March 2-18, photo by Willem de Bordes

30 March, 19.30 AVROTROSVrijdagconcert TivoliVredenburg: Radio Filharmonisch Orkest & Groot Omroepkoor / Markus Stenz: Organ Concerto Haydn & Mozart Mass in C

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.

TivoliVredenburg 30 March 2018

The concert drew a large audience, also for my introduction. The performance was livey and fresh.

February 2018

1 February 19.15-22.00 Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Quarteto Quiroga & Cappella Amsterdam première La porte de l’enfer Sánchez-Verdú

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.

16 February, 16.00-17.00 Nieuwe Kerk, Den Haag ‘Tussen luier & afwas’, lecture about the (in)visibility of women composers

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.

Corné Ran + Thea Derks in Library The Hague after my lecture – und Clara ist auch dabei

January 2018

11 January 11.00-13.45 public rehearsal La porte de l’enfer Sánchez-Verdú Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

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.

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’. 

Nagesprek met José Maria Sánchez-Verdú - Lodewijk van Ree - Helena Poggio - Cíbran Sierra MGIJ 11-1-2018-min
José Maria Sánchez-Verdú; Thea Derks; Lodewijk van Ree; Helena Poggio; Cíbran Sierra MGIJ 11-1-2018

21 January 14.15-17.00 Gelders Orkest & Liza Ferschtman: American programme with Serenade Leonard Bernstein

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.

Thea Derks, TivoliVredenburg 21 January 2018

26 January 20.15-23.00 Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra & Kristian Bezuidenhout: piano concertos CPE Bach & WA Mozart

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.

December 2017

14 December 16.30-18.00 Public rehearsal Die schönen Augen der Frühlichtsnacht Aribert Reimann Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

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.

14 December 19.15-1945: pre concert talk about Die Schönen Augen der Frühlichtsnacht Aribert Reimann Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ

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. 

Thea + Aribert Reimann MGIJ 14-12-2017

November 2017

3 November 20.15 Ludwig in AVROTROSVrijdagconcert: The ‘real American Sound’

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. 

Thea inleiding 'Real American Music' TV 3-11-2014

10 November, 20.15 Groot Omroepkoor & Radio Filharmonisch Orkest: Lili Boulanger Du fond de l’abime & Schubert Stabat Mater

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.

15 November 13.30 hrs Public rehearsal Together Remember to Dance Dobrinka Tabakova, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam.

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.

Candy Dobrinka Thea Arthur Lucas na afloop nagesprek 15-11-2017

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. 

Thea Derks + Dobrinka Tabakova MGIJ 22-11-2017
Thea Derks + Dobrinka Tabakova MGIJ 22-11-2017

23 November 20.15 hrs. Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ: Musikfabrik plays 4 Dutch premières.

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 🙂

Thea Derks + Enno Poppe MGIJ 23-11-2017
Thea Derks + Enno Poppe MGIJ 23-11-2017

October 2017

12 October 20.00 hrs, Oosterpoort Groningen: Noord Nederlands Orkest plays Canto ostinato in arrangement for orchestra by Anthony Fiumara

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.

Anthony Fiumara & Thea Derks, Oosterpoort 12 Oct 2017

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. 

13 October 20.00, Harmonie Leeuwarden: Noord Nederlands Orkest plays Canto ostinato in arrangement for orchestra by Anthony Fiumara

This concert also starts at 9 pm, my introduction (without Fiumara) starts at 8 pm.

I wrote a preview (in Dutch).

21 Oktober 19.30 uur, Jacobikerk Utrecht: Groot Omroepkoor ‘Bernstein & his surroundings’ 

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.

Thea Derks introducing ‘Bernstein and surroundings’, Jacobikerk 21 October 2017

26 October ‘Radical Loners’, Ustvolskaya & Goeyvaerts by Spectra Ensemble, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

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.

Filip Rathé + Thea Derks MGIJ 26-10-2017
Filip Rathé + Thea Derks Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ 26 October 2017

September 2017

Gaudeamus opening concert 6 September 

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.

Gaudeamus 6-9-2017 Ivan Vukosavljevic - Aart Strootman - Chaz Underriner - Thea Derks - Ethan Braun - Sky MacKlay (c) Herre Vermeer
Gaudeamus 6-9-2017 Ivan Vukosavljevic – Aart Strootman – Chaz Underriner – Thea Derks – Ethan Braun (hidden) – Sky MacKlay (c) Herre Vermeer

On Sunday 10 September the winner was announced: Aart Strooman. You read my evaluation of the festival here.

AVROTROS Vrijdagconcert 22 September 

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.

Thea met Rob Zuidam foto Dirk Verbrugh
Thea Derks & Rob Zuidam, TivoliVredenburg, 22 September 2017 photo Dirk Verbrugh

Juni 2017

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.

Aart Strootman - Thea - Maarten van Veen 3-6-2017
Aart Strootman – Thea Derks – Maarten van Veen, Oranjewoudfestival 3-6-2017

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.

Thea in de bus 4-6-2017
Inleiding in de bus, Oranjewoudfestival 4-6-2017

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.

Thea Marien Huba
Thea Derks – Marien Jongewaard – Huba de Graaff, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, 23-6-2017

I wrote a preview for my blog (in English).

Mei 2017

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.

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. 

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. 

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. The compositions will be premièred two days laterm on Thursday 9 February at 20.15 hrs.

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. 

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.
  • 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.


1 Response to Agenda

  1. Pingback: Richard Rijnvos: ‘Alles moet onderhoudend & laagdrempelig zijn’ | Contemporary Classical – Thea Derks

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