Alexey Retinsky – DUDA; premiere by the Keuris Quartet

The Keuris Quartet met composer Alexey Retinsky during the Gaudeamus Music Week 2017. The quartet selected him from an ‘open call’ for new works and worked with him on first sketches for new pieces. This collaboration proved to be so fruitful that they decided to write to premiere this finalized work during the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2018….   

“When I was writing the piece “DUDA” the leading light for me were images of dance mysteries, accompanied by some ritual wind instruments. Although the name itself indicates a particular wind instrument from the bagpipe family, but here we are talking about a very architectonic principle of sound production on wind instruments in a broader sense. Namely, about inhaling and exhaling, as one of the formative principles of life. This same principle of inspiration and exhalation can be observed itself in the dramaturgy of the piece, where there are both broad dynamic waves with a rise or fall, and intermittent subito, sharply escapist musical narrative in unexpected directions.

The entire harmonic structure is built on the natural overtone scale, which sprouts from various tonal centres. Metaphorically you can imagine a bird, which is flying from branch to branch and looking for a suitable place for the nest. At each point of the link, she begins to build her new spectral house, but apparently, the windy weather prevents her from going too far. And only at the very end, several times passing through all 11 tones, she reaches the missing 12th (note B), which gives her the ultimate refuge. At this moment, in the full sense of the word, the acquisition takes place, where all the fragmented elements are assembled into a single building.”

More info about the concert

Otto Tausk making his debut with Edward Top

After a three-year long search, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has found its new maestro.

The symphony has named conductor Otto Tausk as its new music director. Tausk started his new position on July 1, 2018 after current maestro Bramwell Tovey concludes his tenure in June 2018. The Dutch Otto Tausk has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s ‘Green Umbrella’ Series, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC radio orchestra…  

Maestro Otto Tausk makes his series debut as VSO Music Director, in a high-energy concert that features a number of Dutch connections: superstar pianist brothers, Lucas and Arthur Jussen; Dutch Canadian composer Edward Top; and Maestro Tausk himself. Not to mention one of the most exciting and captivating pieces of music ever written, the rarely performed complete version of Stravinsky’s Firebird.

More info about the concert

Willem Jeths – Recorder Concerto at the Capetown Philharmonic

Stefan Temmingh will be the soloist at the performance of Willem Jeths – Recorder Concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on August 30. Stefan is one of the internationally leading soloists in his field. Born in Cape Town, he now lives in Munich. Stefan Temmingh is setting new standards for his instrument, creating a new recorder tradition and crossing the boundaries of repertoire and sound…   

The Recorder Concerto was premiered by Erik Bosgraaf and performed at the ZaterdagMatinee in de Concertgebouw

My Recorder Concerto which I especially composed for Erik Bosgraaf has become one of my most personal and biographical works and has an enormous emotional impact.” (Willem Jeths)

Willem Jeths associates the recorder with both innocence and beauty. He relates the tension between the vulnerable recorder and the grand orchestra to his memories as a young child finding his way in a hostile environment, misunderstood by his father. The role of memory in the piece is implicit in the choice of instrument for the solo part. In a ‘pre-tape-recorder’ era, the musical instrument, the recorder, was the common way to remember tunes. Willem takes this century-old tradition of the recorder as a ‘remembering instrument’ to a new level using it as a magical time machine to enter childhood once more. This is both a nostalgic, as well as an uncomfortable, expedition. For Willem, and for so many other people, the recorder is the subject of a classical love/hate relationship. Thus the piece starts off with dramatic blasts in the orchestra followed by high and piercing solos in the highest register of the instrument. Later on he accompanies the recorder in its softest registers with glass harmonica and celesta.


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World premiere ‘Seven Manieren van Minne’ – Kris Oelbrandt

Composer and monk Kris Oelbrandt osco wrote a one hour during chamber oratoria on lyrics of Beatrijs van Nazareth. The world premiere will be on August 28th, exactly 750 years after her death in 1268 at the same monastery of Brecht that rarely opens its doors…   

Beatrice van Nazareth, a Cistercian nun of the 13th-century Flemish abbey Our Lady of Nazareth, wrote the “Seven Manieren van Minne” (Seven Ways of Love), an intriguing and mystical text, carefully composed and full of new ideas. She distinguishes seven feelings in her love to God: desire, rest, heartache, joy, storm, peace and union. It is a unique text in the history of mysticism because of its clarity.

Kris Oelbrandt, who lives at the abbey of ‘Koningshoeven’, composed music on these lyrics. The work is written for mezzo-soprano, violin and harp. The performers are Els Mondelaers, Johan Olof and Liesbeth Vreeburg.

“Met aandrang verlangt zij dit van God en met heel haar hart verzoekt zij God hierom. Dit moet zij zeer begeren, want de minne laat haar niet tot rust of op verhaal komen. De minne verheft haar en drukt haar neer, stelt haar plotseling op de proef en kwelt haar weer. Ze brengt de dood en geeft het leven, ze maakt gezond, en verwondt opnieuw. Ze maakt haar dwaas en dan weer verstandig.

More about Beatrijs van Nazareth

An English translation of the texts

Score of the composition of Kris Oelbrandt


Launching DisOrders with Petra Strahovnik

With the support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Ensemble Modelo62 and Petra Strahovnik will work together over two years to create a number of works that enhance Petra’s abilities to combine different art forms with music. The entire trajectory revolves around the theme ‘mental health conditions’ (such as ADHD, autism, borderline personality disorder), to which Petra has a deep personal connection. The choice for this theme is double-sided: On one hand it allows Petra to explore the combination of performance art, video, and music in order to vividly bring out what lies inside of the people that have these mental conditions. On the other hand, it allows something that is vital to her: to act as a social activist by raising social awareness about these conditions…   

‘…as a society, we need to break through the fear and misconceptions about mental health conditions. Personally, I think that the topic is still a taboo and consequently the way that we deal with these conditions in general excludes the people suffering from one. I struggled with depression for 10 years and this has inspired me to compose about it.’   Petra

The first presentation of the project, before the works Petra Strahovnik will produce, takes place on September 1st 19:00 at Tarwekamp 3 in The Hague.

The project kicks-off with an intensive performance art workshop by Jürgen Fritz, where the members of the ensemble, partners of the project, and Petra, will look for their performative state and break through their own limits. The ensemble opens its doors to the workshop room to present a three-hour performance based on the workshop experience. It is not a piece by Petra, but rather a chance to peek into the working mode and the potential of the collaboration between her and the group.

Please join Modelo62 for this performance, it’s completely free; from 19:00 to 22:00.
You can come in the middle, come in and out, stay for the whole time.

September 1st 19:00 at Tarwekamp 3 in The Hague

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World premiere Klas Torstensson – und eine Springflut…

As a twenty-three-year-old composer, Klas Torstensson wrote a work for solo string quartet and large string orchestra, entitled ‘… and a Springflut überschwemmt den stillen Horizont …’. The title was a quote from the poem ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ by Albert Giraud, as used by Arnold Schönberg in his pioneering work from 1912…   

Klas Torstensson’s work for string quartet and large string orchestra ‘und eine Springflut überschwemmt den stillen Horizont…’, an attempt at musical historiography, was performed for the first time in the summer of 1974 at the Ung Nordisk Musik Festival in Framnäs (Sweden). Played by young musicians from the Scandinavian countries, the conductor was Sigfrid Naumann, and it sounded great!

Since then, his musical ideals has changed considerably, and he even withdrew the piece from his (Swedish) publisher. But the memories of the piece from his Sturm und Drang years remained, and when he received a request a few years ago to write a work for string ensemble, he saw his chance to return to the piece.

In his attempt to realize this highly compressed historiography, Klas brought together a number of musical styles: the late romanticism of around 1900 (think of Strauss or Mahler), music of the “Second Viennese School” (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern) and music from after the Second World War (Penderecki, Stockhausen). ‘Styles’ – but no literal quotes.

So in the current chamber music version, ‘und eine Springflut’, the core of the piece has remained the same, but the effect is new. The present piece was built on the rubble of the original. No desecration, but restoration …

This ‘und eine Springflut…’ will be performed by Camerata Nordica on September 15 (world premiere), 16 and 17.

More info about the concert

und eine Springflut… in the webshop

More about Klas Torstensson

Georgia Nicolaou at the opening of the Gaudeamus Music Week

A semi-staged work by the Gaudeamus Award jury member and laureate, Richard Ayers, will be juxtaposed with works by two young music pioneers who have been nominated for the Gaudeamus Award 2018: William Kuo and William Dougherty. Their work will be performed in Hertz, the chamber music hall of TivoliVredenbrug. As you move from the Large Hall to Hertz, at the escalators Slagwerk Den Haag will regale you with brand-new music by composer Georgia Nicolaou…   

Georgia Nicolau is a versatile musician, composer, performer and dancer, her works are distinguished for their liveliness, rhythmical complexities and modal character. Being active in the broader artistic world, the multidisciplinary aspect is evident in many of her works, adding a stimulating essence to the music itself.

Georgia’s works include pieces for chamber ensembles varying from small to large settings; several dance pieces, two short modern operas and one experimental Music Theatre piece. Besides acoustic music she is composing electronic and electroacoustic music. Her works have been performed in distinguished venues, concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands (De Doelen, Tivoli Vredenburg, Fenixloods), Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Cyprus and Greece. In September 2016 she was awarded the Tera de Marez Oyens prize for her work S o c I a l I C E, during the internationally renowned Gaudeamus Festival for contemporary music in Utrecht. The prize serves as a commission for the composition of a new piece, which will be performed during the opening now of the Gaudeamus Muziekweek.

Before the opening concert, at 19:00 there will be a musical ode to the city on the quayside next to TivoliVredenburg. This free concert on and around the water includes work by Yannis Kyriakides and is performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

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Andrius Arutiunian – Deserted steps

In 2007, Dutch composer and artist Sedje Hémon launched a virtual museum of her work. It was built inside of the early-virtual reality platform Active Worlds. This platform allowed its users to freely navigate and build near-infinite space, while socializing with each other. In Hémon’s virtual museum, one could enter her paintings and explore them in a three-dimensional way. Though the museum went offline in 2011, composer Andrius Arutiunian recovered it to be used as part of the live score in this piece…   

Discovering the Active Worlds platform, Andrius Arutiunian was struck by its early-internet aesthetics as well as the vastness of its digital landscapes. Strolling through endless digital worlds in Active Worlds that were once filled people and voices (and now are abandoned digital deserts), he couldn’t help to wonder what happens to the forgotten virtual spaces. He also noticed that all the worlds (of which there are many) are filled with digital graffiti – short inscriptions left by people on the walls of the sites they built and took care of. These traces in their simplicity and poetics, reminded him of the cave drawings, especially in their function – to leave a mark in a new and uninhabited world.

Parts 1&3 of his piece use the video and graffiti material from various two-decade-old worlds at the Active Worlds, reimagining this abandoned space still being roamed by its decaying AI and the last remaining users. The second part of the piece opens up with the conductor entering the VR museum of Sedje Hémon and exploring its spaces live on stage. The musicians follow an intricate system of cues and signs, and sonify the VR museum as the conductors navigates its quiet chambers.

More info at the Gaudeamus website

Austin Yip – Metamorphosis at the HKPhil

On September 28 and 29 the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Metamorphosis of Austin Yip. This work was premiered on 7 January, 2017, conducted by Aldert Vermeulen in Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. This piece was awarded the Golden Sail Music Award by Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong for the Best Serious Composition in 2017…   

“You’ve done a fantastic job. I think that you orchestrated really well. I think that sometimes for new music I really can not get, but with you, I got immediately in your world… The orchestration is wonderful.” — Jaap van Zweden on the premiere of the work.

Artists often like to develop their works around the concept of “metamorphosis”, but the understanding of “metamorphosis” varies among people. With Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, people often regard the title as the “change of form”, rather than an “improved change” — because the protagonist wakes up one day and realises himself being transformed into a giant insect. Such transformation differs from people’s normal understanding of the term “metamorphosis”, which is often the process to transform something from an immature state to a relatively more mature state. However, Kafka’s protagonist transforms from the family’s support into a gigantic burden in just one night. In the reader’s eyes, it seems as if the title “Metamorphosis” refers more to the transformation of the protagonist’s family, which turns well after the protagonist’s death, rather than the protagonist himself.

This work, entitled “Metamorphosis”, is to be paired up with its Chinese name, “Po Kan”, which literally means “to break through a cocoon”. It depicts the moment of how a troublesome matter resolves, and the short instance right after the process. Similar to how a worm transforms into a cocoon, and then to a butterfly, after the process of metamorphosis, the short instance of beauty gradually changes, and eventually the butterfly faces death. In Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, the protagonist’s family seems to have a bright life after the protagonist dies, but actually, no one knows what happens to them next. Nonetheless, everyone enjoys the moment of the transformation.

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Donemus congratulates Reinbert de Leeuw

On September 8th Reinbert de Leeuw will turn 80! ASKO|Schönberg and others will celebrate this with a concert at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ with Barbara Hannigan and others. Donemus will have its part at the surprise to be presented to Reinbert….   

For Donemus, Reinbert de Leeuw is one of the greatest ambassadors for contemporary composers. We’re very grateful for his endless efforts to new repertoire. He gave many premieres, he took composers to other countries etc. etc. His impressive composition ‘Der Nächtliche Wanderer‘ is for sure one of the big jewels in the Donemus catalogue, with performances in the Concertgebouw, in Helsinki, at the BBC Proms etc.

Read more at the website of the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ:

[Dutch] Het programma van vanavond blijft voor zowel De Leeuw als voor het publiek een verrassing. Divers wordt het zeker, met een keur aan (internationale) gasten met wie De Leeuw in zijn lange loopbaan samenwerkte. Hannigan zingt het muziekdrama Socrate van Erik Satie, dat zij en De Leeuw op een bejubelde cd hebben gezet.

Reinbert de Leeuw ís muziek. Hij richtte het Schönberg Ensemble op, kende megasucces met zijn opnames van Saties pianowerken, componeerde, dirigeerde, bewonderde en inspireerde. Zijn onvoorwaardelijke geloof in componisten als Goebaidoelina, Kurtág, Oestvolskaja, Kagel, Ligeti, Vivier en vele anderen heeft het muzieklandschap van de voorbije halve eeuw verrijkt. Uitzonderlijk is de band met zijn boezemvriend Louis Andriessen, die in de tweede seizoenshelft ook zijn 80e verjaardag viert in het Muziekgebouw.

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Reinbert de Leeuw at Donemus

Der Nächtliche Wanderer at the BBC Proms: