News

World premiere of 2nd string quartet by Leander Schlegel in Oegstgeest

On 22 September the international chamber music series Zondagmatinees in De Paulus Oegstgeest, just across the border with Leiden, will be dedicated to the world premiere of the Second String Quartet opus 35 by Leander Schlegel. This Dutch composer, beloved and highly acclaimed up to Vienna, was born on the territory of Oegstgeest at the time and grew up in Leiden. After wandering around Europe, he was for some time a violin teacher at the music school there…   

In addition to Schlegel’s opus 35, the internationally renowned Daniel Quartet performs Beethoven’s String Quartet opus 132.

In terms of style, Schlegel’s oeuvre is an extension of Beethoven, Robert Schumann (1810-1856) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). It is remarkable, however, that in his first published works Schlegel immediately shows an entirely individual voice and surpasses his contemporaries, in the Netherlands and even in Vienna, where he was held in high regard.

Composer, violinist and pianist Leander Schlegel (1844-1913) was the third child of Hermann Schlegel from Altenburg in Türingen and Cornelia Buddingh from De Kaag. Schlegel senior, a zoologist and director of the Museum of Natural History, now Naturalis, was considered a significant personality in university life in Leiden at that time. The second child of the Schlegel-Buddingh couple, Gustav Schlegel, became Professor of Chinese Language and Literature in Leiden.

Composer, violinist and pianist Leander Schlegel left a small oeuvre behind. The core of this oeuvre is formed by piano works and songs. He completed his Second String Quartet just before his death in Overveen, where he lived most of his life.

 

Second string quartet

Due to his death, Schlegel’s Second String Quartet did not reach an internationally renowned publisher, as was the case with his other works. The manuscript ended up at the Netherlands Music Institute in The Hague. At the request of Muziekkamer Oegstgeest it was published by Donemus. Pianist Frans van Ruth, the editor of this publication, has thoroughly researched the oeuvre and life of Leander Schlegel and has published his findings on a separate website: www.leander-schlegel.nl.

More info about the concert

Installation developed at AZC Rijswijk presented at Gaudeamus

A new performance installation will be presented at the opening program of Gaudeamus at the foyer of TivoliVredenburg. Installation: Mariska de Groot, Composition: Nikos Kokolakis and Catchpenny Ensemble. This installation was developed at AZC Rijswijk through Stichting de Vrolijkheid with help and participation of residents of the azc…   

Klein Woestijn is a performance-installation of the multi-media artist Mariska de Groot in collaboration with composer Nikos Kokolakis and Catchpenny Ensemble. It is using a big double pendulum, making 3-dimensional Lissajous drawings with sand of different colors in a growing transitory sculpture. Light play with spots and DIA projectors transforms the little sandy hills into a detailed curvy landscape. The ensemble, scattered in the space, is responding to the movement of the pendulum through harmonic and gestural materials in an open score.

This project was developed with the help of Stichting de Vrolijkheid and residents of azc Rijswijk in the summer of 2019. Stichting de Vrolijkheid is a multicultural, not-profit network of artists, play writers, actors, musicians and volunteers who invest in children and teenagers in asylum-seekers centers.

Vrolijkheid organizes creative activities on a regular basis in 28 asylum-seekers centers in the Netherlands.

More info

Stichting Vrolijkheid

Maxim Shalygin – Todos los fuegos el fuego

Two of the Netherlands’ most exciting saxophone quartets join forces to perform Todos los fuegos el fuego by the Dutch/Ukrainian composer Maxim Shalygin. Shalygin drew his inspiration for this work from short stories contained in the book of the same name by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar. The eight-part composition is performed by eight saxophonists because, according to the composer, this family of instruments is best equipped to convey the stories – with a combination of subtle and mysterious sounds and furious outbursts…   

Todos los fuegos el fuego for saxophone octet, composed by Maxim Shalygin, constitutes a mysterious and exciting link between music and literature. For the second chapter of the life-long Similar cycle (where the first one is Lacrimosa or 13 Magic Songs for 7 violins), Shalygin draws inspiration from ‘Todos los fuegos el fuego’, arguably the most enigmatic book by the great Cortázar. All short stories in this collection share an exit into a parallel, magic reality, sometimes near to ours, sometimes strikingly different from it. Their forms provoke peculiar musical dramaturgic solutions, whereas an abundance of pseudo-musical forms enables for the creation of a unique atmosphere, using an enlarged variety of performance techniques.

Suite’s overall structure consists of eight parts, performed by eight saxophone players — as many as there are stories in the book (and syllables in its title, which, incidentally, sounds like a saxophone phrase by itself). The saxophone is chosen for a reason, since, for all his knowledge and passion for music, jazz claimed the most of Cortázar’s attention. Jazz, and accordingly the sound of the saxophone was his muse and constant presence in many of his most well-known fiction. Moreover, the saxophone is involved in many mystical moments in music, literature, and, last but not least, cinema — a fascination Maxim shares with him as well.

Two of the Netherlands’ most exciting saxophone quartets join forces to perform this work on Saturday, November 9th at the Verkadefabriek in Den Bosch.

More info and tickets

Amstel Quartet

Keuris Quartet

Light Trace by Levy, Kokolakis e.o. at Gaudeamus

With Light Trace the Catchpenny Ensemble from The Hague, one of the Gaudeamus Award Ensembles this year, takes you on an intriguing journey in which the audience is immersed in sound, light and video. In an intense black-and-white world, thin, penetrating tones alternate with sharp flickering lights and a hypnotic video projection…   

Concept

“What is a musical score and how can it become an active part of a performance? How does it alter the way we experience sound in space and how does sound change the way we experience the ‘space’ of a musical score?”

Catchpenny Ensemble, together with guest composers and visual artists, aims to approach these questions by creating Light Trace, a concert-length interdisciplinary work which explores the performance space with an interactive, image based score.

Light Trace is an immersive and inclusive experience. One is drawn to an inner world of visual and sonic landscapes where lights, video and sounds meet playfully, in a delicate game of revealing and hiding musical mechanisms and networks through a magical and intellectual journey.

 

Audience

With Light Trace, Catchpenny Ensemble intends to reach audiences interested in various artistic disciplines, from new media and visual art to contemporary and electronic music. This program will be presented in various types of spaces such as concert halls, galleries and art spaces around the Netherlands.

It will be premiered at Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2019 as part of Catchpenny’s residency as Gaudeamus Award Ensemble 2019 among new works by 3 nominees for the Gaudeamus Award 2019, Nicholas David Morrish, Scott Rubin and Stefan Maier. A try-out concert will take place at Korzo Theater – Den Haag on the 17th April 2019.

 

Realization

Light Trace is a dialogue between the Catchpenny composers, Yael Levy, Nikos Kokolakis, Sascha Thiele, guest composers Þráinn Hjálmarsson, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir and the artist Tivon Rice. They created this work in collaboration with the performers of the Catchpenny Ensemble.

Throughout the piece the musicians follow – and influence – the visual score which is presented to the audience through a setup of lights and video. It communicates musical information in a non-traditional way – with light gestures, movements on screen, etc – allowing different types of audiences to perceive and appreciate diverse nuances in the music making of the performance.

Even though the musicians are precisely following guidelines and instructions, they can affect the direction of every performance through a live-controlled visual score. The nature of the composition allows the performers to choose and follow a new route each time from among a landscape of pre-composed musical paths, making it an exciting experience for both performers and audience.

Beyond just providing musical information to the performers, the visual score of Light Trace  is an integral part of the stage design, inviting the audience to be immersed in it. The setup consists of one video projection, 6 light panels, stations corresponding to the lights/video and live electronics controlled by 2 performers, and 8 instrumentalists placed on different parts of the stage in groups.

 

Ensemble

Based in The Hague, the Catchpenny Ensemble is a platform for exchanging and practicing creative musical and artistic ideas.

The diverse backgrounds and the various inputs of its members lead to a fruitful and continuous musical dialogue. The combination of acoustic and electronic instruments, together with video art, cinema and audio-visual elements is Catchpenny Ensemble’s defining characteristic.

The repertoire of the Ensemble consists of new multimedia works by its own composers Yael Levy, Sascha Thiele and Nikos Kokolakis, alongside works by commissioned composers and artists. Its unique instrumentation – flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone, piano, percussion, el. guitar, cello and live electronics – together with its live or fixed visual setups, makes space for new repertoire tailored for Catchpenny Ensemble.

Catchpenny Ensemble has performed in various venues and festivals in the Netherlands, such as Holland Festival (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – 2016), Peter  Ablinger’s Residency (Koninklijk Conservatorium, Nutshuis – 2016), Dag in de Branding Festival in The Hague (Het Nutshuis and Korzo Theater – 2016), Hoogtij #51 (Het Nutshuis – 2017), and Sounds of Silence Festival (DNR – 2018).

 

More info and tickets

Kokolakis – Light Trace

Bianca Bongers – to the ..light.. and the HEAVY!! (world premiere)

On September 6th at the Gaudeamus Music-week the IEMA Ensemble 18/19 – the famous German Ensemble Modern’s training academy – will play four world premieres by young composers: Elnaz Seyedi from Iran, Michael Taplin from the UK, Leonardo Marino from Italy and Bianca Bongers from the Netherlands. Brand-new, exciting sound explorations by the composers of tomorrow, developed in close collaboration with up-and-coming, talented young musicians. Read more about this new work of Bianca Bongers…   

Something that is heavy and light at the same time. This piece is a search for weight and lightness, always complimenting each other and finding different ways of balance. The strong form they shape together is something Bianca Bongers first became aware of through modern architecture. From there, she tried to find how this principle applies to personal emotion as well. Giving an ode to the light and deeper states of feeling.

In the opening of the piece, the weight comes down to the ground and directly seems to bounce up again. This whole passage can be seen as one big ‘bouncing out’. Where the moments of coming down are short and tutti, the moments ‘up’ are based on individual lines and rhythmic elements, keeping a tension from one to the other.

The second passage, gives sound to an abstract inside emotion, like a sort of request to the outside. It starts small, from just a group of instruments. But also when on its strongest, the ‘cluster’-like sound is still built up from little, carefully shaped microtonal melodies in the high woodwinds and strings. Within the space they leave open, intuitive and unpolished glissandi from the lower instruments are coming out. Creating a propelling movement, to really lean into. Both passages show attempts on making sound to expand, and form a ‘sound object’ within that. The last passage starts from one of those objects. Being an arch shape, without a clear point of landing. Bongers made it like a drawing, with a short length of time but a big height, where many aspects come together in one moment.

Yannis Kyriakides & Keren Levi – uNmUTe

An exciting glimpse behind the scenes of the development of uNmUTe, the new interdisciplinary dance production by choreographer Keren Levi and composer Yannis Kyriakides – jury member for this year’s Gaudeamus Award. In his work Kyriakides aims to discover new and hybrid forms in order to explore different ways of listening….   

This unique collaboration between Levi’s dance company and Slagwerk Den Haag will be premiered in October. During this work-in-progress presentation the two collaborators and the audience will view and openly discuss the first scenes, under the direction of a moderator. How is the creative process organised so as to produce the best possible final result? Are there two captains on one ship? How is the division of labour determined?

More info and tickets

Yannis Kyriakides at Donemus

Veldhuis, De Graaff, Shalygin and Simons at ‘Noah’s Ark’

We buy, fly, and consume like never before, despite alarming messages about climate change and the role of our own consumerism. For a country which lies almost completely below sea level: is it time to build a new ark to save ourselves from impending doom and a new Apocalyps? Tonight, Noah will ask himself: is his flood going to be ours?…   

By means of a script by screenwriter Eddy Terstall, Cees Geel will take on the role of Noah. All the archetypes of consumerism will be presented: the egoist, the opportunist, the denier, the paralyzed, the pragmatist, and the activist. The Nederlands Kamerkoor provides a musical commentary through newly commissioned works by both young and established Dutch composers:

  • Jacob ter Veldhuis,
  • Jan-Peter de Graaff
  • Maxim Shalygin,
  • Marijn Simons
  • Bec Plexus

What does climate change sound like? 

De Balie, the Nederlands Kamerkoor and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ provide artists with an opportunity to make their voices heard and to make current events tangible. Talented composers, actors and philosophers will confront us with a Gesamtkunstwerk filled with music, theatre and thought-provoking lectures on our never-ending consumerism. An evening revolving around a modern-day Noah. Will he take it upon himself again to build an ark for an impending flood?

Performers

Nederlands Kamerkoor (Netherlands Chamber Choir)
Peter Dijkstra chief conductor
Cees Geel Noah; evangelist
Eddy Terstall screenwriter
Yoeri Albrecht director

More info

Willem Jeths at the Staunton Music Festival

Willem Jeths is Composer-in-Residence at this year’s Staunton Music Festival in Staunton, VI. The festival, established in 1998, spans 10 days and presents 30+ performances each year, bringing world-renowned musicians to Virginia each August. See the concerts that include works by Jeths below…   

Monday Aug 19, 12 pm
First Presbyterian Church
100 East Frederick Street, Staunton
Tickets via Staunton Music Festival

Hear the U.S. premiere of Maktub by composer-in-residence Willem Jeths, along with music by Purcell and Shostakovich.

Tuesday Aug 20, 3 pm
Central United Methodis Church
14 North Lewist Street, Staunton
Tickets via Staunton Music Festival

Meet the composer: Jeths will discuss his work and festival musicians perform his String Quartet No. 3 and The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis for recorder (US premiere).

Friday Aug 23, 12 pm
First Presbyterian Church
100 East Frederick Street, Staunton
Tickets via Staunton Music Festival

This eclectic noon concert brings together three very different works, including premieres by composers-in-residence Willem Jeths and John Yannelli, and the delightful Septet by Camille Saint-Saëns, which sparkles with late-19th-century French radiance.

More info…