Elmer Schönberger – Gezien Hercules Segers

On March 12th the Doelen Ensemble & Charlotte Riedijk will perform a new work by Elmer Schönberger – Gezien Hercules Segers, in the Jurriaanse Zaal at the Doelen in Rotterdam…   

Hercules Segers mainly painted and etched mountainous fantasy landscapes, inspiring various artists and writers, including the Russian-French painter Nicolas de Staël and the Dutch poet Hans Faverey. In his composition, Elmer Schönberger reflects on the world of Segers and his townsfolk and contemporaries, including Sweelinck. Given Hercules Segers, music is like a landscape to disappear into.

Elmer Schönberger:

Gezien Hercules Segers is after Seen Giacometti my second composition inspired explicitly with visual art. Seen Giacometti (2015) was a dance concert with a choreography from Beppie Blankert. In Seen Hercules Segers there is no dance, but live image, to an idea of Marijke van Warmerdam and Menno Otten. While I have not tried to compose Giacometti-like (whatever that may be) in Seen Giacometti, in Seen Hercules Segers I have strived to compose both full as well as empty landscapes of Segers into sound. Art with which I am feeling deeply connected, is art to disappear into.

Hercules Segers, older contemporary and fellow townsman of Rembrandt and Sweelinck, is known as the most original and innovative landscape artist of his time. As an etcher he was the creator of a mysterious oeuvre, which with its realism bordering on abstraction culminates in non-existent landscapes. Like Segers’ contemporary Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa was a source of inspiration for composers until well into the twentieth century, Segers has influenced a number of visual artists and writers, such as the Russian-French painter Nicolas de Staël and the Dutch poet Hans Faverey

Gezien Hercules Segers is presented in a program that moves between old music and visual arts. Stravinsky and Louis Andriessen added a fourth voice to Bach’s three-part Prelude in b minor; Otto Ketting cast a shadow over the Middle Ages in Quodlibet; Oliver Knussen borrowed more than just the title from Purcell in Upon one note, while his Reflection is inspired by Gauguin; Willem de Kooning gave his surname to De Kooning of Morton Feldman; and Stravinsky’s Double canon is an in memoriam for Raoul Dufy.

More info & tickets

Score at the Donemus catalogue

Michael Fine – Double Concerto

On March 23 Double Concerto by Rotterdam-based American composer Michael Fine will get its Ukrainian premiere. The concerto for two violins and string orchestra will be performed by Kyiv Chamber Orchestra conducted by Bogdan Pushak, with Igor and Vesna Gruppman as soloists…   

The Double Concerto for Two Violins and String Orchestra, is a 21st century Concerto Grosso contrasting tightly woven, virtuosic music for the two soloists with the string orchestra which responds in kind but occasionally chooses a different direction which the soloists then follow. Although the work is in three movements, its melodies, harmonies, and musical lines flow across the movement boundaries, ending with a miniature cadenza for the two soloists.

The work was premiered in 2017 by violinists Andrew Irvin and Kiril Laskarov with Philip Mann conducting the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Igor Gruppman and Vesna Stefanovic Gruppman recorded the Double Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Philip Mann.

More info about the concert

Michael Fine at Donemus

Double Concerto at the Donemus catalogue

Michael Fine – CD release ‘Five for Five’

Paris based Evidence Classics release their second recording of Michael Fine’s music: Five for Five – Five Quintets for five woodwind soloists and string quartet. The recording was made following performances at Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo with musicians from leading musical organisations including the Metropolitan Opera, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Atlanta Symphony among others…   

These are all world premiere recordings, recordings, produced by Michael Fine himself. Jin Choi was engineer for the sessions at Cuesta College’s Harold J. Miossi Center for the Performing Arts. Evidence Classics are distributed world-wide by Harmonia Mundi/PIAS and can be heard on all the major streaming services including Apple Music, Spotify, and Idagio…

Scott Yoo, Artistic Director of Festival Mozaic and First Violin of the Mozaic Quartet said:

It is a lot of fun to make music with close friends. It is a privilege to bring to life the music of a great composer, who also happens to be a friend. This recording is both. Performing these pieces was so interesting. They look extremely simple upon face value, but even after a few measures we all realized that each phrase was very complex and detailed. We all got the best results when we relaxed and purged our minds of any restless thoughts – Michael’s music, very much like Copland’s, demands a certain amount of serenity. My colleagues and I hope we have done the music justice in this album. – Scott Yoo, Director, Festival Mozaic, Violin 1, Mozaic Quartet.

Evidence Classic’s Executive Director, Jean-Hugues Allard said:

“It is an honor and a pleasure to release our second recording of the music of the composer Michael Fine who offers us here again a magnificent disc, with five works highlighting the expressive power of the woodwinds , and which will undoubtedly be added in the future to the core repertoire of chamber music. Written in an original Franco / American musical aesthetic, sometimes close to that of Milhaud or Gerschwin, these quintets served by exceptional soloists remain resolutely modern and visionary. A particularly successful recording also in terms of sound, which will delight the most demanding audiophiles. Well done Michael!”

Composer and producer Michael Fine added:

As a clarinet player, I feel a particular affinity for my colleagues in the woodwind section. Each of these Quintets attempts to capture not only the character of the instruments but also the musicians for whom each piece was written. Recording these with dear friends and colleagues at Festival Mozaic, was a particular joy, especially after two weeks of working together in the Festival Orchestra. I owe a debt of gratitude to Scott Yoo, Artistic Director of the Festival, whose idea it was to perform and record these works and to my colleagues who gave their time, energy, and extraordinary musicianship for this project.

Five for Five (catalogue nr, EVCD070); Quintets for Winds and String Quartet by Michael Fine

Fei Xei, bassoon; Robert Walters, English Horn; Anton Rist, clarinet; Xiaodi Liu, oboe; Alice K. Dade, flute, Scott Yoo, violin; Erik Arvinder, violin; Maurycy Banaszek, viola; Jonah Kim, cello

Hana Ajiashvili – opera ‘Cut Glass’

In March 2020 the world premier stage production of Hana Ajiashvili’s opera Cut Glass will be featured at the Felicja Blumental International Music Festival in Tel Aviv…   

Cut Glass – a chamber opera based on Scott Fitzgerald’s short story about the collapse of an American middle class family – was commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund. It had its first concert performance in April 2018 in Tel Aviv by the Meitar Ensemble conducted by Yuval Zorn to an overwhelming reception.

It became clear from the start, that this was a unique event in the Israeli contemporary music scene, and the audience as well as the press lauded Hana Ajiashvili’s unique writing style, which is both adventurous in its soundscapes, its unique use of instrumentation and of the singing voice, and at the same time warm, direct, accessible and above all: theatrical.

Following the concert, Amir Mandel (Ha’arets Magazine’s music critic) commented, that “a piece of such quality must not disappear”.
In order to give the piece the future life the Meitar Ensemble, composer Hana Ajiashvili and conductor Yuval Zorn have teamed up with award winning librettist, Royce Vavrek, as well as eminent director Omer Ben Seadia, in order to revise the libretto and bring the piece to a fully staged performance.

More about The Felicja Blumental International Music Festival

More about the Meitar Ensemble

Kate Moore – Psalm 3 by Netherlands Chamber Choir (world premiere)

3000 years ago, 150 songs were gathered together to become the Hebrew Bible’s Tehillim, then the Old Testament’s Book of Psalms. Songs about justice, humanity, compassion, liberation and power. Of people struggling with leadership or passing on responsibility; humans using and exploiting the environment; refugees desperately looking for a safe haven.

In March 2020, Adelaide Festival presents 150 Psalms, the fourth incarnation of a remarkable choral event with three of the world’s greatest choral ensembles: The Tallis Scholars from England; Netherlands Chamber Choir (Nederlands Kamerkoor), Norwegian Soloists’ Choir (Det Norske Solistkor) and Australia’s finest vocal group, The Song Company.

Over four days, in four sacred spaces and one secular space, 12 concerts will encompass all 150 psalms in musical settings by 150 different composers spanning 10 centuries of choral tradition, from Gregorian chant to Ockeghem, from Monteverdi to Bach, from Brahms to Britten and beyond. Many Australian premieres, and world premieres of newly commissioned works by Elena Kats-Chernin, Clare Maclean, Cathy Milliken and Kate Moore. In the final concert all the voices converge in the Adelaide Town Hall for Tallis’ mighty motet in 40 individual parts, Spem in alium.

Conceived in 2017 by Netherlands Chamber Choir, this is much more than a banquet for lovers of choral music as audiences discovered in Amsterdam, Brussels and New York. It’s a symposium for the spirit and the intellect.

Each concert is introduced by a noted writer or contemporary thought-leader focusing on one of twelve identified themes running through this ancient songbook. Further insights are provided by an exhibition of work by renowned Australian photojournalists that pairs each psalm with a powerful image.

These poems are etched on humanity’s psyche and their concerns still burn hot. They represent not the word of God, but of humankind; shouting or whispering its fears, its worries, its anger, its sorrows, its thanksgiving and joy to the universe.

More about this concert

More about the project in Adelaide, Australia

Kate Moore – Psalm 3

Light Trace by Nikos Kokolakis, Yael Levy and more

You can listen to music, but according to the Catchpenny Ensemble you should be able to watch it too. On March 7th Festival Dag in de Branding presents the Catchpenny Ensemble at Korzo…

You can listen to music, but according to the Catchpenny Ensemble you should be able to watch it too! For Light Trace, together with composers Yael Levy, Nikos Kokolakis, Sascha Thiele, guest composers Þráinn Hjálmarsson, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir and visual artist Tivon Rice, the ensemble has looked for an innovative way to make a score visible to the public. The result is an interdisciplinary play of light beams, video and sounds in the space of an interactive score based on images. You are as it were drawn into it and you experience a magical, inner world of visual and sonic landscapes.

More about Light Trace

More info about the concert

Nikos Kokolakis at Donemus

Klas Torstensson – In großer Sehnsucht by Doelen Ensemble

On Friday, March 6, the Charlotte Riedijk & Doelen Ensemble will perform Klas Torstensson – In großer Sehnsucht…   

On the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March) Musis in Arnhem presents a program in which ‘the strong woman’ is central. The song cycle In großer Sehnsucht portrays five women from the past who, each in their own way, are paragons of courage and strength. Composer Klas Torstensson dedicated the cycle to his wife, soprano Charlotte Riedijk, who will perform the songs tonight with the Doelen Ensemble.

More info & tickets

In großer Sehnsucht at the Donemus catalogue

Ensemble Modelo62 presents Petra Strahovnik’s ‘Balerina, Balerina’

This opera is the culmination of DisOrders, a two-year collaboration project between Ensemble Modelo62 and Slovenian/Dutch composer Petra Strahovnik. During this period they have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics, to raise questions on the place and importance of mental health in our society. ‘Balerina, Balerina’ (working title) deals with Autism Spectrum DisOrder…   

Libretto based on the book ‘Balerina, Balerina’ by Slovenian writer Marko Sosič

  • Concept and composition: Petra Strahovnik
  • Stage Director: Rocc
  • Music Director: Ezequiel Menalled
  • Co-producer: Katja Konvalinka from Slovenian Chamber Music Theater
  • Premiere: October 2020 Linhart Hall, Cankar Ljubljana, Slovenia

This opera is the culmination of DisOrders, a two-year collaboration project between Ensemble Modelo62 and Slovenian/Dutch composer Petra Strahovnik. During this period they have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics, to raise questions on the place and importance of mental health in our society. ‘Balerina, Balerina’ (working title) deals with Autism Spectrum DisOrder. 

On the opera

The heroine in Marco Sosič’s novel ‘Balerina, Balerina’, is a little girl with a limited horizon, pushed into a passive position by her mental condition: her autism spectrum disorder. She lives on the border between sky and earth, and the vital earthly categories of life, suffering, passing of time, and death, lose sharpness for her and the reader. The events in the novel are tragic for the little girl Balerina, because while her mother is dying, Balerina thinks her mother is only asleep.

In Petra Strahovnik’s opera, there is no narrative in the traditional sense, since everything is told from the perspective of the autistic girl. The storyline is shaped in the same manner as her perception of time and her awareness of what happens around her are. There are characters and objects on stage, but they are – or can be, brought to life intermittently by the various performers: the singers, the dancer, the musicians, or even the conductor. Balerina’s mother becomes a vase while another performer becomes her persona or her deep frustration. This is answered by gestures or sounds of overwhelming sadness, expressed by another performer. Actions happen, reactions interweave, emotions pour, and the normally closed inner world of the heroine is brought to life so that the audience can plunge into it and deeply connect with her.

The flexibility in the use of materials and representations of dramatic elements in this production is possible thanks to the unusual simultaneous use and combination of music and performance art. The opera is conceived for two sopranos, a performance artist, a dancer, and ten Ensemble Modelo62 musicians on stage. The musicians have undergone intensive training in performance art by artist Jürgen Fritz. 

Extended artistic collaboration.

As mentioned above Ensemble Modelo62 and Petra Strahovnik have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics during this two-year collaboration project. An overview of these works includes:

  1. Five installations for solo performers, performed simultaneously in five galleries in The Hague. Each installation is based on a different mental condition: Depression, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder. 
  2. Three works for soloist plus ensemble. To be presented in Korzo Theater, The Hague, and during Gaudeamus Muziekweek. The works are based on three different mental conditions: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Schizophrenia.

DisOrders is made possible thanks to the financial support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Stichting Dioraphte and Gemeente Den Haag.

Willem Jeths – Ritratto, a living artwork

Ritratto – the Italian word for ‘portrait’ is the title of a new opera by Willem Jeths, the first Laureate Composer of The Netherlands (2014-2016), who was fascinated by a painting depicting Luisa Casati. The opera will be performed by DNO in March in Amsterdam…   

Luisa Casati

The young orphaned and married, excessively wealthy Italian Marquesa Casati strove to be seen throughout her life. She was famous for the exuberant parties she organized. She allowed herself to be portrayed or photographed by numerous artists. With her black-rimmed eyes, her flaming red hair and eccentric behaviour she tried to gain a place in the art world.

Against the background of the war, librettist Frank Siera questions the importance of art. At a feast of Casati, Siera brings together all sorts of artists from the time of Casati. At the time, it was the futurists who paved the way for fascism with their art. Casati does not engage with secular problems and focuses on her passion. In the opera she goes even further than in real life; by not seeing, she tries to be seen herself.


Willem Jeths

Ritratto’s composer Willem Jeths – from 2014 to 2016 the first Laureate Composer of The Netherlands – likes to play with orchestral colours and carefully chooses the timbres that suit his characters when he writes an opera: ‘I am convinced that music can be stronger and more expressive if you can identify with it’.


Design and libretto

The performances of director Marcel Sijm are surprising and often full of humour, with a major role for exuberant design. His collaboration with set designer Marc Warning in Legend was a fine example of this. For Ritratto, Marc Warning once again designs the set. We can look forward with excitement to the costumes of Jan Taminiau for Ritratto. He is known for the blue cloak that Queen Maxima wore during the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander. The brand-new libretto is by the young writer and director Frank Siera, who graduated from the Toneelacademie in 2012, and who wrote not only for De Nationale Opera but also for Veenfabriek, KASSETT, Operafront and De Queeste.


Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Amsterdam Sinfonietta has been the only professional string orchestra in the Netherlands for thirty years and performs all over the world. The ensemble, which consists of 22 strings, is led by violinist and artistic director Candida Thompson. The repertoire includes a variety of musical styles, from baroque to contemporary.


Team & cast

More info


Ritratto at the Donemus catalogue

Fair Practice Code Composition

Various parties are involved in a composition commission: commissioner, performer(s), programmer, publisher, funds and other sponsors and, as a matter of course, the composer. A proper agreement is based on a shared view on the joint responsibility of all parties and a candid, timely and comprehensive communication.

The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a guideline for making balanced agreements.

1. Fair compensation in accordance with the fee schedule

  • a) For any composition, the client will pay at least the relevant fee as stated in Nieuw Geneco’s fee schedule. This fee schedule is the Fair Practice calculation matrix for composition commissions, which is supported by the entire sector. The schedule is made on the basis of the duration of the composition, the number and type of instruments/parts and complexity.
  • b) Performance costs, such as scores and other activities are not included.


2. Clear arrangements beforehand

  • a) All parties will make contractual arrangements in time and will comply with them.
  • b) The client (commissioner) and the contractor (composer) make clear arrangements beforehand on the fee referred to in 1. and compensation of any further activities and expenses, for example accompanying rehearsals, giving lectures or introductions, travel and accommodation expenses.
  • c) All parties involved will make clear arrangements on the (feasible) costs of the performance, which includes additional musicians, instrument, scores and technical provisions.
  • d) All parties involved will be open and clear on the budget and the financing scheme, which includes all of the composition fees, rights and additional production costs.
  • e) The composer will in an early stage be involved in the preparation of the wording and contents of applications for subsidy. The quality of such an application is enhanced by appropriate artistic coordination and motivation.
  • f) The parties involved lay down their agreements on financing and the consequences of insufficient financing in financial scenarios, as well as a clear moment for making the decision (go/no go, guaranteed sums).
  • g) Monies awarded by subsidy providers as a fee for the composition will be paid to the composer in full and will not be used for any other purposes (see also I. b).
  • h) All parties involved will cooperate in the making of clear agreements on deadlines and the delivery of performance materials.


3. Settle copyrights. Small or grand right? Arrange it separately

  • a) The producer is responsible for the payment of copyrights and the license. Make sure that consent for the use of music is obtained in time and make sure that the correct source, name, etc. are stated.
  • b) The producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee, for example a publisher) will make clear arrangements on the copyrights due upon publication of the music, including arrangements on mechanical reproduction rights and any grand rights.
  • c) Grand rights (music for theatre, dance, etc.)* must be agreed on separately between the producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee) and must be a permanent item in the budget of a dance and (music) theatre production.
  • d) Mutual understanding of the flow of income, as well as the flow of investments of all parties, is an important factor for determining the composer’s fair share of the profit.
  • e) If needed, the Complaints Board for Copyright Contract Law may be consulted.


4. List of performed programmes and broadcasts

  • a) The user of the composition will timely provide a list of the fully played programme and the broadcasts for Buma/Stemra, the collective management organisation. It is of vital importance to submit an exhaustive list of the entire program of the works performed (both works protected by copyright and the public domain repertoire) because this is the only way to ensure that the money is received by the parties entitled to it.


5. Make separate provisions for performance materials!

  • a) The production of scores and parts is not included in the composer’s fee (see I.). The commissioner must reserve a separate budget for publishing materials and the costs of renting or buying the scores.
  • b) All parties involved will make timely arrangements on the production, costs and planning of the performance materials.


6. Sustainability: development of the public, repertoire and performance opportunities

  • a) All parties involved will do their utmost to facilitate several performances of the commissioned work and, as a consequence, build a sustainable relationship with the public.
  • b) The commissioner, the author, the performers and the publisher will cooperate as much as possible and support each other’s promotional efforts.
  • c) Exclusive rights on the performance of a composition may be granted only if the work is performed/broadcast a substantial number of times within the relevant period of time.
  • d) The commissioner and the composer will promote co-productions and performance of the work by others.
  • e) The commissioner and the composer will ensure that the scores will remain retrievable and that they are handled and preserved with due care.
  • f) The commissioner and the composer ensure that any audio or audio-visual registration or professional recording will remain retrievable.


*) ‘Small rights’ include all entirely musical works (compositions with/without lyrics). In the Netherlands, Buma/Stemra is responsible for the collective exploitation of those rights. The commissioning/organising party enters into a licence agreement with Buma/Stemra for the use of music and ensures that the rates applicable according to Buma/Stemra are paid, or ensures that payment is made by the relevant stage. Any new organising party is required to make arrangements in that respect in advance.

Grand rights’ include works (of music) forming part of a ‘narrative performance’ or a dramatic musical story involving several copyrights, e.g. for lyrics, music, choreography, lighting and costumes (for example ballet, opera, operetta, musicals etc.). Or, to put it differently: music that is written especially for the production.

Copyrights on music forming part of a ‘Grand Rights Production’ are not collected by Buma/Stemra: the producers of ‘Grand Rights Productions’ enter into agreements with all entitled parties, authors and publishers and may make any arrangements they prefer on the use of the music. (Source: Buma/Stemra 2019)

The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a specification of the Fair Practice Code from Kunsten ’92, drawn up by Nieuw Geneco in consultation with many commissioning parties, composers, authors’ associations and the Performing Arts Fund NL.