News

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.

www.modelo62.com

www.petrastrahovnik.eu

www.rocc.cc

www.culture.si/en/Slovenian_Chamber_Music_Theatre

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

Tickets

Ritratto at the Donemus catalogue

Fair Practice Code Composition Assignment

A composition assignment involves various parties: the commissioner, performer(s), programmer, publisher, funds and other financiers and of course the composer him/herself. A good agreement starts with a shared vision of the joint responsibility of all parties, including open, timely and complete communication.

The Fair Practice Code Composition Assignment provides a guideline for reaching balanced agreements.

1. Fair remuneration for work, according to the fee table

  • a) The commissioner shall remunerate the composer’s compositional efforts as a minimum in accordance with Nieuw Geneco’s fees table. This fee table is the sector-wide subscribed Fair Practice calculation matrix for a composition assignment. The table shows the calculation on the basis of playing time, instrumentation and complexity.
  • b) Performance costs such as sheet music and other activities are not included.

 

2. Settle all appointments in a timely manner

  • a) All parties concerned shall enter into contractual arrangements and ensure compliance in a timely manner.
  • b) The commissioner and the contractor shall make clear arrangements in advance about the fee referred to under 1. and the reimbursement of other work and costs, such as supervising rehearsals, giving a lecture or introduction, travel and accommodation expenses.
  • c) All parties involved shall make clear agreements about the (feasible) costs of performance. Think of extra musicians, instruments, sheet music and technical performance costs.
  • d) All those involved are transparent about the budget and the cover plan, which also includes the composition fee, rights and the additional costs for the production in full.
  • e) The composer is involved in time in any grant application.
  • f) The parties involved agree in advance on financing and the consequences of incomplete financing and a decision moment (go/no go, guaranteed amounts).
  • g) Funds awarded by grantors as composition fees are paid 100% to the composer and are not used for other purposes (see also 1. b).
  • h) All parties involved contribute to clear agreements on deadlines and the supply of performance materials.

 

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

  • a) Oversee rights transfer and licensing. Obtain permission for the use of music in a timely manner and ensure that the source and name of the music are correctly acknowledged.
  • b) Producer and composer (or his successor in title, such as a publisher) make clear agreements on copyright remuneration in the event of publication of the music. This also includes agreements on mechanical rights and major rights.
  • c) Grand rights (music for theatre, dance, etc.)* must be arranged separately between the producer and composer (or his successor in title) and must be a fixed item in the budget of a dance and (music) theatrical production.
  • d) Mutual insight into both income flows and investment costs of all parties is important in determining a fair share of the composer’s earnings.
  • e) If necessary, make use of the Copyright Contracts Disputes Committee.

 

4. List of programmes and broadcasts

The performer of the composition is responsible for providing the complete programme performed and the broadcasts to the collective management organisation like Buma/Stemra, GEMA, PRS etc. A complete statement of the entire programme of performed works (both the copyright-protected and the public domain repertoire) is important, because only then the money will end up with the rightholders.

 

5. Settle the performance materials separately

  • a) The production of sheet music and parts is not included in the composer’s commission fee (see 1b). The client must reserve a separate budget for publishing materials, the rental or purchase of the sheet music.
  • b) All those involved make timely agreements about the production, costs and planning of the performance materials.

 

6. Sustainability: developing audience, repertoire and performance opportunities

  • a) All those involved shall endeavour to facilitate multiple performances of the commissioned work, to keep the work on the repertoire and thus to build up a lasting relationship with the public.
  • b) The commissioner, author, performers and publisher will endeavour to coordinate and strengthen promotional efforts.
  • c) Exclusive rights to the performance of a composition are only fair if the work is performed/transmitted a substantial number of times during the period concerned.
  • d) The commissioner and the contractor shall encourage co-production and performance by others.
  • e) The commissioner and the contractor shall ensure the permanent findability, management and preservation of the scores.
  • f) The commissioner and the contractor shall ensure the permanent findability of an audio or audio-visual recording or a professional recording.