Maxim Shalygin – Blessing

Maxim Shalygin wrote a personal composition for a 25th anniversary. Written for tenor and string quartet, the work will be performed during the party organized by the happy couple…

Tenor Gábor Bálint and the Babylon Quartet will give the premiere. At a later moment, the work will be recorded and released on all main digital distribution channels such as Spotify, iTunes etc. Maxim Shalygin wrote the work on lyrics provided by the couple, a hymn text by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). The couple looks forward to this premiere at their party. The lyrics express their feelings. A composition like this is a treasure for the future, even for children and grandkids…

We bless the Lord, the just, the good,
Who fills our hearts with joy and food:
Who pours his blessings from the skies,
And loads our days with rich supplies. etc.

Micha Hamel – Caruso a Cuba

A new opera by Dutch composer and poet Micha Hamel, Caruso a Cuba is based on the novel ‘Como un mensajero tuyo’ by Cuban author Mayra Montero. The premiere is on March 3rd….

On the evening that the world famous tenor Enrico Caruso sang Aida in Havana, a bomb exploded in the theatre. He fled out into the street and straight into the arms of the Chinese-Cuban Aida Cheng. In his stage make-up and opera costume, the singer surely raised a few eyebrows. Aida Cheng’s stepfather, a powerful Afro-Cuban Lukumi priest – prophesied not only the explosion but also Aida Cheng’s love affair with Caruso and his untimely death. The story is exciting and rich in metaphors and references. Caruso and Aida are, of course, linked to Radamès and Aida from Verdi’s opera, but they are also incarnations of the ancient Yoruba gods Changó and Yemayá. There is a curse on the love between these two gods, who have been searching for centuries for earthly bodies to inhabit.

Hamel composed Caruso a Cuba as a chamber opera to be accompanied by the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. There are eight singers who perform a total of fourteen roles. The colour of the chamber orchestra is enriched with synthesizers, sound effects, a detuned piano and an Aida trumpet.

Musical Director will be Otto Tausk and Stage Director Johannes Erath.

More in the NRC newspaper
Read ‘Micha Hamel on his opera Caruso a Cuba: ‘Caruso is trapped in his star status’ by Thea Derks
Read more
Buy tickets

Dutch Music Days at Sacharov Art Festival

For already more than 15 years, Dutch Music Days get a special place in the program of the Sacharov Art Festival which takes place once in two years in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod. Coming edition will be on June 5-6. The Netherlands Embassy in Russia will visit the performances…   

The opening concert program at the Philharmonic hall includes Saxophone Concerto by Hanna Kulenty (with Evgeny Novikov as soloist) and Morphic Waves by Joey Roukens by Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Peter Biloen.

The program of the second day Night of the Unexpected will be held in the National Center Contemporary ArtsNCCA Arsenal – and include a wide range of Dutch music, including Candy Box by Chiel Meijering, Lipstick and Grab it! by Jacob TV, Cloud Atlas by Douwe Eisenga, P.S. by Dmitry Kourliandski, Karaoke Etudes by Yannis Kyriakides performed by Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Evgeny Novikov (saxophone) and sound-artist Gert-Jan Prins.

More info about the concert on June 5th

Website Philharmony

Night of the Unexpected

Austin Yip

Born in Hong Kong, Austin Yip’s works have been performed worldwide. Places like the United States, Argentina, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia have seen traces of his performance records. His musical creations are very diverse, ranging from orchestral piece to electroacoustic works, from Western orchestral to folk instruments. All the above shows his knowledge and creativity upon different styles of music.

Yip has participated in numerous music festivals, in which he has worked closely with many world-renowned performers and ensembles. Festivals he participated include the ISCM (Beijing), ACL 2017 (Japan), Thailand International Composition Festival (Thailand), London New Wind Festival (UK), ACL (Vietnam), 17th World Saxophone Congress (France), Singapore Saxophone Symposium, ACL (Singapore), International Rostrum of Composers (Czech), Sguardi Sonori (Italy), World Saxophone Congress (Scotland), Intimacy of Creativity, Hong Kong Arts Festival, ISCM (Australia), ACL (Japan), WOCMAT (Taiwan), Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival (Indonesia), Shanghai Conservatory of Music New Music Week, Asian Art & Cultural Workshop (Korea), Asia Culture Forum (Korea), Hong Kong Asian Film Festival etc. Yip has received commissions from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio and Television Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Composers’ Guild, Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, HellHOT! New Music Festival and more.

Yip received his PhD and Master of Philosophy degrees at the University of Hong Kong under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Chan with the support from the University Postgraduate Fellowship and University Postgraduate Studentship. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Music) degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a “high distinction in general scholarship”, and a FTCL in composition. Yip is the holder of CASH Golden Sail Music Award 2017 with his orchestral work “Metamorphosis”, 2018 Chou’s Annual Composition Commission Award, James Kitagawa Memorial Music Scholarship, Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship, Henry Holbrook Scholarship, James King Scholarship, Eisner Prize, Milton C. Witzel Memorial Prize, Rayson Huang Scholarship and CASH Best Commissioned Piece Award.

Yip’s works are published by ABRSM (UK), BabelScores (France), Ablaze Records (US), Navona Records (US), Hugo Production and Hong Kong Composers Guild. He is the chairman of Toolbox Percussion, and is currently a lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Calliope Tsoupaki premiere at Holland Festival

Tragoudi – double concerto for clarinet, trumpet and orchestra by Greek-Dutch composer Calliope Tsoupaki will get its world premiere on 8-9 June in Holland Festival at Theater Carré (Amsterdam). The performers are the outstanding soloists Kinan Azmeh (clarinet) and Eric Vloeimans (trumpet) and the Metropole Orchestra. Tsoupaki’s work is often inspired by traditional music from Greece and the Middle East….   

The Syrian Big Band was the first of its kind in the Arab world and gave big band a voice in Syria. Working with the Metropole Orkest, soloists of the Syrian Big Band – most of them now live in the West – are playing an adventurous programme at Carré, packed with traditional repertoire and own energetic work. Versatile musicians such as ney player Moslem Rahal (who was at the 2016 festival with The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians), singer Dima Orsho, and singer and multiinstrumentalist Ibrahim Keivo are presenting their soulful sounds. Top clarinettist Kinan Azmeh and Dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans are playing the world premiere of a double concerto for clarinet and trumpet: Tragoudi. It will be composed by Greek-Dutch Calliope Tsoupaki, whose work is often inspired by traditional music from Greece and the Middle East. Tragoudi at Donemus Tickets for the concerts

Vanessa Lann premiere at Oranjewoud Festival

The program of the Oranjewoud Festival opens with a spectacular world premiere of ‘Future Perfect’, a site-specific work for symphony orchestra by American-Dutch composer Vanessa Lann. The piece is inspired by the melodies and the instrumentation of Schubert’s eighth symphony, “The Unfinished”. In fact, the whole work is intended to answer the question, “What would Schubert sound like if he wrote his music in 2018, rather than 1822?”…   

In the middle of Future Perfect one can hear fragments of the second movement of Schubert’s Eighth breaking through in the strings, bassoons and horns, while the trumpets and trombones – placed on the left and right sides of the audience – introduce recognizable melodies from other Schubert passages. Only after the first and second movements have been played does the insistent, raw, rock-and-roll repetition of motives in the first and third movements make sense to the listener. Just like in the verb tense “future perfect”, one completed action must occur before another is begun. You understand the beginning only after experiencing the middle.

Future Perfect is written to be premiered in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Oranjewoud woods, above the Prinsenwijk body of water on the Oranjewoud Estate. With the spatial set-up, the groovy repeated rhythms, and the brass and celesta mingling with the sounds of nature, it should be a spectacular and also fun way to celebrate what is sure to be a creative, exciting and surprising festival.

More info about the concert at Oranjewoud

Future Perfect at Donemus

Another work by Vanessa Lann – ‘Rise’ written for two bassoon and amateur-orchestra will be performed on June 2-3 by Martine Reurings, Dick Hanemaayer and Airchestra with conductor Johan Olaf.

More info about Airchestra


Gerard Beljon – Planctus Cygni

On June 9th Collegium Vocale Eindhoven will bring the world premiere of Gerard Beljon’s ‘Planctus Cygni’, commissioned by the ‘Nederlands Gregoriaans Festival’. The Latin lyrics and melody are originally written in approx. 800 AD….   

The original work sings about the fate of a swan who gets lost, ends up at sea, almost drowns, but at the last moment sees the light of the dawn and returns to land. This text appealed to Beljon because he sees a parallel with the current refugee crises.
Many melodies from the composition are from the original song, besides Beljon used elements from the psalm ‘Sion klagt mit Angst und Schermzen’, to symbolize the misery of the swan and of the refugees. The poem Planctus Cygni has a happy end, something we would wish for with the refugees as well.

Jan-Peter de Graaff – De Grens

De Grens (The Border)
The year is 1918: World War I is nearing its end. The German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, arrives at the Dutch border as an exile from his own country, seeking asylum in the Netherlands. However, the Dutch government was not notified in advance of the Kaiser’s arrival and takes its time to decide whether the royal visitor is welcome.

Pending the government’s decision, the Kaiser (mezzo-soprano Eva Kroon) is stuck at the railway station of Eijsden, a small town at the southern border of the Netherlands. At the station, he meets the station manager (soprano Ginette Puylaert), a man whose character, lineage and political views are in complete dissonance with those of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The two gentlemen have a fiery discussion, but despite all the differences, they have one thing in common: a total lack of control over their own situation.

A historical event with a contemporary twist, wrapped into a compact chamber opera: De Grens is an attractive performance of 25 up to 45 minutes that brings new music close to the audience. The length is flexible because the two scenes can be performed separately. Due to its small setup – two singers and five instrumentalists – De Grens can be performed both in concert halls and on less traditional locations, such as industrial buildings or living rooms, and even multiple times on the same day. The chamber opera makes use of unique film material from 1918, supplemented with new footage.

Cast & crew
Eva Kroon and Ginette Puylaert, who play the two male characters, are highly accomplished singers on their way to the top of the opera world, and both participated in young talent projects at the Dutch National Opera. They are accompanied by violinist Pieter van Loenen (Finalist and Audience Prize winner Dutch National Violin Competition 2016) and the ensemble But What About, who together form an active part of the dramaturgy. The ensemble But What About consists of clarinet, accordion, double bass and percussion and won the Grote Kamermuziekprijs 2016 of the conservatories of The Hague and Rotterdam.

The music has been composed by the young Dutch composer Jan-Peter de Graaff, based on a libretto by Yuri Robbers. The performance is directed by Saskia Bonarius. Film images have been shot and mixed with original 1918 footage by Caroline Keman.

The resulting 25-minute chamber opera De Grens premiered in Vught on April 22nd and was met with spectacularly enthusiastic responses. The entire cast & crew of this chamber opera agreed that this project was so special – and the suspense with regard to the Kaiser’s fate so unbearable – that a second scene has been created, making a full-length performance of De Grens last a good 45 minutes.

music: Jan-Peter de Graaff
libretto: Yuri Robbers
director: Saskia Bonarius

Kaiser Wilhelm II: Eva Kroon (mezzo-soprano)
station manager: Ginette Puylaert (soprano)

music performed by: But What About,
featuring on violin: Pieter van Loenen

bass clarinet: Vincent Martig
accordion: Wilco Oomkes
percussion: Antonio Pierna García
double bass: Julián Sarmiento Escobar

film and images: Caroline Keman

Performances confirmed
12-08-2018 Culemborg, NJO Muziekzomer (try-out)
16-08-2018 Amsterdam, Grachtenfestival (try-out 2x) 17:00 & 19:30
17-08-2018 Amsterdam, Grachtenfestival (try-out 2x) 17:00 & 19:30
25-09-2018 Kerkrade, Parkstad Limburg Theaters (premiere) 20:30
16-10-2018 Maastricht, Ainsi 20:00
07-11-2018 Den Bosch, November Music 19:00

Vladimir Rannev – Prose

PROSE is an opera based on texts by Yury Mamleev and Anton Chekhov, whom the creators of this opera consider to be two of the harshest, most uncompromising writers in the 150 year tradition of Russian realism. A full century separates the times in which they worked, but their manner of exploring human nature and social relationships is timely even today – or, to be exact, is especially timely today. Composer Vladimir Rannev interprets Yury Mamleev’s story “The Bridegroom (1980), and fragments of Chekhov’s story “The Steppe (1888) as di erent stages in the development of a single story. The former is an example of “cruel” prose, the latter is meditative and virtually event-free.

Mamleev’s story is simultaneously the hyper-realistic and phantasmagorical exploration of an incident that occurs in a common Russian family, changing it radically and incontrovertibly.

The boy Yegorushka, the hero of Chekhov’s “The Steppe,” is traveling to be raised by distant relatives. He is thrilled by the natural world surrounding him, but is already preparing for the discovery of a new, alien and terrifying world – the world of people.

We see before us a single person, captured at di erent moments in his life, as if Chekhov and Mamleev had written about one and the same life, and the very same anxieties. The di erent types of texts give rise to a tension that dictates a principal di erence in the way they are presented. In turn, this gives rise to the dramaturgical nature of the opera, and helps reveal to the viewer a statement about the complex nature of the relationships among people in contemporary society.

Composed and directed by Vladimir Rannev
Designed by Marina Alexeeva
Lighting designed by Sergei Vasilyev
Musical director: Arina Zvereva

Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes
First night: November 20, 2017,
at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow

The press about Prose

Nezavisimaya gazeta
“This composition is capable of stunning. It is a radical great-grandson of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk. Vladimir Rannev employs musicians of tremendous virtuosity, who, for almost an hour and a half, work on the outer limits of their physical capabilities.” (November 22, 2017)
“A miracle has happened at the Electrotheatre. The appearance of this production should be compared with the landing of aliens. Rannev’s Prose, based on stories by Chekhov and Mamleev, is a completely new degree of thinking. It is impossible to imagine what kind of hellish work must stand behind the subtle and fragile beauty of the vocal ensemble’s work.” (November 22, 2017)

Rossisskaya gazeta
“Suspense, aesthetic bliss, and philosophical freedom – this is what the viewer conquered by this modern opera remains with.” (November 26, 2017) 

“A performance of technological harmony and beauty, in which the interplay of textures is not inferior to the richness of the music.” (November 23, 2017)

“In the absence of instrumental accompaniment, which makes the vocals seem especially ethereal, one hears the pulse of that genuine ‘life of the human spirit,’ which Stanislavsky dreamed of materializing on stage. Vladimir Rannev’s opera Prose is an important milestone in the biography of the genre.” (December 1, 2017)

The Village
“Complexity is what Rannev demonstrates with this show. Forget literary meanings –the complexity here of form alone, both theatrical and musical, is sufficient.” (December 1, 2017)

Willem Jeths: Conductus – Constructio

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Conductus – Constructio by Willem Jeths. Conductor: Thomas Søndergård.
On May 18th, 1940 the city Rotterdam started to rebuild of the city after the bombings during World War II…
Willem Jeth’s works are a diptych of destruction and resurrection…   

Commissioned by the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
to the 75th commemoration of the Rotterdam bombardment.
Written with financial support of the family Von Weiler.

Commissioned by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
This composition reflects on the Rotterdam concept of “Opbouwdag” (Building Day), which is 18 May each year. This date stems from 18 May 1940, the day the city council of Rotterdam started developing a new plan after the bombardment on 14 May 1940.

At the same concert, Ralph van Raat will be the soloist in the Piano Concerto of Tristan Keuris

More info about the concert
(lees de programma-toelichting Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest)