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 turned 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.

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).

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 oner or more movements are presented. I’ll speak with conductor Christian Karlsen

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

The Dutch Radio Choir sings the world première of Te Deum Laudamus by Nana Forte. 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 hope to speak to Nana Forte.

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 here.

The hall was quite full, and the audience was quite stunned by the myriad of technical issues the ensemble and singers had to clear. Many people thankted me for my ‘enlightening’ after talk with Paredes, Kamps and Lacornerie. Several bought tickets for the première on the spot.

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

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.

Entrance is free on reservation.

A huge crowed came to Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and listened breathlessly while Cappella Amsterdam & Cuarteto Quiroga rehearsed ‘La porte de l’enfer’. The piece is played in an extremely quiet dynamic, which led people to ask me whether the composer had any consideration for them. So I posed this question during my aftertalk with Sanchéz-Verdú; Lodewijk van der Ree; Helena Poggio and Cíbran Sierra. ‘Listeners must do some effort’, the composer maintained, ‘to discern what is in the shadows’. 

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.

Entrance is free, but please reserve tickets here.

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 22-11-201723 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, you can listen to it here.

March 2017

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

The Noord Nederlands Orkest presents the world première of La lucerna del mondo; Adagio by the Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis, aka JacobTV. The concert forms part of the radio series AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, and will be broadcast live on Radio 4. On the programme, too are works by Roussel, Poulenc – Pianoconcerto with the soloist Louis Lortie – and Debussy.

Jacob TV and conductor Antony Hermus will be my guests.

It was a very lively introduction and the audience really enjoyed JacobTV’s new piece.

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

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

In 2014 cultural centre Zael was the first to invite me to present my biography Reinbert de Leeuw: mens of melodie. It was a really pleasant evening with a very attentive and participating audience.

Now organizer Adriaan Meij has asked me to come and present a bird’s-eye-view of contemporary music, starting ca 1900 and ending in the present. One of the composers I’ll talk about is JacobTV, one of the best-known composers from northern Holland.

In 2014 Adriaan’s son Salomon video-interviewed me about my book, you can view it via this link.

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

The lecture was a great success. People had come from all over Holland (The Hague, Amsterdam, Nieuwegein) to participate in my lecture. Very lively and inspiring, with a very interactive audience.

The critic of Meppeler Courant honoured it with a 5* review.

Meppeler Courant 20-3-2017

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

The Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman presents a concert with two of her favourite works: the string octets by George Enescu and Felix Mendelssohn. She will also première a new octet from the young Dutch composer Mathilde Wantenaar. During my introduction I’ll talk with Ferschtman and Wantenaar.

Both Ferschtman & Wantenaar proved to be very eloquent speakers, it was a lively and enlightening introduction to a memorable concert. Wantenaar’s Octet was beautifully crafted and held its own in the monunental surroudings of Mendelssohn & Enecsu. And what a performance! Liza Ferschtman and her seven friends played with such intensity and superb craftsmanship that it almost made me weep. Absolutely stunning!

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

February 2017

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

Talk with Carola Bauckholt and Christina Kubisch about their new compositions for Nieuw Ensemble, commissioned by Muziekgebouw and AMMODO. Kubisch wrote two new works: Seven Magnetic Places and Wien Landstraße; Bauckholt composed Point of Presence. 

The introduction is followed by a public rehearsal. Entrance to both events is free, but please reserve tickets via this link. The compositions will be premièred two days laterm on Thursday 9 February at 20.15 hrs., info and tickets here.

8 February: some 250 people attended the talk and rehearsal, both were a huge success. 

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

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

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

Introduction to concert of recorder quintet Seldom Sene, that plays music by Greek composers. I’ll talk to Aspasia Nasopoulou and the players about her piece Ten Dipoles that she composed for recorders and aerophones designed by Horst Rickels and Ernst Dullemond. On the programme is also her award-winning Lelia Doura and a new work that Thanasis Deligiannis composed at the request of Orgelpark.

The audience was very grateful for our introduction to the aerophones, and the concert was a great success. ‘Ten Dipoles’ sounded terrific in the ample acoustics of the Orgelpark. 

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

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

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

Introduction to concert of Het Collectief and Psallentes, who are playing works by Hildegard von Bingen and Galina Ustvolskaya. I’ll talk to pianist Thomas Dieltjens, leader of the ensemble Het Collectief, and Hendrik Vanden Abeele, founder and leader of the choir Psallentes. Free for those who have a concert ticket.

In spite of terrible weather a crowd turned up for the introduction and the concert. The talk with Dieltjens and Vanden Abeele was really inspiring. I wrote a review of the concert, you read it here

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

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

January 2017

10 January 16.30 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

Introduction to public rehearsal Riflesso sul’arco Richard Rijnvos with Ives Ensemble in the Main Hall. I’ll talk with Rijnvos about his new piece, and after the rehearsal there is room for questions from the audience. Entrance free, but please reserve tickets through this link.

Update 11 January.
A crowd had gathered for the public rehearsal. I spoke with Richard Rijnvos about his new piece, and the musicians of the Ives Ensemble illustrated some extended techniques and other features. It was a huge success!

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

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

12 January 19.15 hours, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

Pre concert talk with composer Richard Rijnvos & pianist John Snijders about the concert of the Ives Ensemble with a.o. the world première of Riflesso sul’arco, that Rijnvos composed as a companion piece’ to go with Swinging Music of Kazimierz Serocki.

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

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

21 January 19.00 hrs Oosterpoort Groningen

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

Oosterpoort 21-1-2017 (c) Tineke Algra

Oosterpoort 21-1-2017 (c) Tineke Algra

My pre concert talk attracted such a crowd (some 250 people), that it had to be transferred to the Small Hall. Both my introduction and the concert were a huge success.

December 2016

2 December 19.30 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

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


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

9 December 19.30 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
AVROTROSVrijdagconcert, Ensemble from Radio Philharmonisch Orchestra: Ketting: The Curious Music that I Hear; Mahler/Simon: Fourth Symphony
Pre concert talk with conductor Karel Deseure

12 December 21.45 hrs, Ostade A’dam
Meet & greet with composer Meriç Artaç and director Ingrid Askvik after performance of their new production Zonderland


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

18 December 14.15 hrs, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
Russian National Orchestra / Michail Pletnev: Shostakovich Festival Overture; Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto with Seong-Jin Cho; Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
Pre concert talk
This was a memorable concert, with Pletnev giving the orchestra and the pianist free reign, often just leading them with a nod of his head. Seong-Jin Cho played by heart, with impeccable technique and dynamics. And what a lush sound from strings, winds, harp player and percussion section. Such remarkable orchestral soloists, among them flutist Maxim Rubtsov. The hall went beserk and the orchestra played an encore.

Thea inleiding TV 18-12-2016.JPG

Introducing the concert also to people behind my back…

November 2016

17 & 18 November 19.15 hrs, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Amsterdam Sinfonietta The American Four Seasons Philip Glass, pre concert talk with Isabelle van Keulen & Willem de Bordes


24 November, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam
Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang 

  • 16.45 hrs: Introduction to solitary, a piece David Lang composed for Cappella Amsterdam, that will be premièred that evening. My guests are conductor Daniel Reuss, mezzosoprano Inga Schneider and tenor Adriaan De Koster. Entrance is free, but please reserve your ticket via this link.
  • daniel-reuss-thea-mgij-24-11-2016

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

    17.30-18.00 hrs: public rehearsal of solitary. I’ll moderate. Also free on reservation.

  • 19.15 hrs: Cappella Amsterdam Again and Again David Lang, pre concert talk, free for those who have a concert ticket.