Wonderful tribute to composer Hans Kox

This new double CD has something like a double in memoriam. Hans Kox died last year, a few months before he would be the central composer of the Orlando Festival. And now the chamber music festival Orlando itself is threatened to have to stop because of the abolition of subsidies by the province of Limburg…   

No less than fifteen chamber works by Kox sounded in the summer of 2019, almost two and a half hours of music ranging from raw and expressive to tender and intoxicating, performed by great musicians. It is fortunate that the concerts were recorded, mainly by the Concertzender. Kox is better known as an orchestral composer and many pieces appear for the first time on CD, including the world premiere of the original hobo version of Le chant du merle. The sound quality is ‘live’: you can hear the halls of the former abbey Rolduc. The level of the performances and the playing intensity is high. An important document and a wonderful tribute to an exceptional composer.

The cd has been released on the label Et’cetera and was produced by the Orlando Festival. This double CD is for sale at the Hans Kox Foundation.

Performers are: Cyrus Allyar, Peter Brunt, Chekhov Trio, Dorian Cooke, Ellen Corver, Charly Delbecq, Katherine Dowling, Ingrid Geerlings, Larissa Groeneveld, Toby Hughes, Alan R. Kay, Malevich Piano Quartet, Mikhail Nemtsov, Elena Nemtsova, Ron Schaaper, James Austin Smith, Kristian Winther, Tjeu Zeijen.​

(Joep Stapel;NRC)


Petra Strahovnik: Balerinanirelab

The music-theater piece named ‘Balerinanirelab’ by Petra Strahovnik, based on the book ‘Ballerina, Ballerina’ by Slovenian writer Marko Sosič, will be premiered on 19 & 20 October 2020 at the Linhart Hall, Cankar Ljubljana, Slovenia
and on 21 October at the Velenje Festival, both in Slovenia…   

The novel “Ballerina, Ballerina” tells the story of a typical seafaring family in a town that overlooks Trieste through a surrealistic, rather than sickly, view of its heroine; a person with autism. She constantly dreams about a world that matches the one in her mind’s eye. Gazing towards the high starry sky above, she sees the satellites traveling and she longs for them. The world in Ballerina’s peripheral view is both sharp and dull at the same time, lyrically fragile and yet ruthless, cruel but fortunately short-lived. It is ours, our here and now, our always unpredictable world…

Petra’s opera piece is not a dramatization of the novel, but instead an ephemeral sound-space where the inspirations and inner atmospheres of Ballerina come to life. The stage is divided into imaginary chambers where everyone’s individual and intimate artistic action takes place: action slowly becomes a reaction, the reaction becomes an action of its own, and soloistic awareness graduates into a collective symphonic interaction. The complex perspective and Ballerina’s train of thought, influencing her emotions and senses, is channeled through three art disciplines: music, performance art and video. The duality of two singers as an aspect of complex emotions in the world of Ballerina is expressed through a musical concept ‘Continuum’, where the beautiful mind, intense emotions, complex personality, ‘united and divided’ lie under a magnifying glass.

The objective theatrical point of view is supported by a live-camera on stage that focuses one detail after another, resulting in a projection of micro-moments as a subjective truth. The camera is also a performer, an instrument of a live VJ situated on the set. Every performer creates its own private story, and all together they embody the associative inner world of Ballerina’s mind. Actions happen, reactions interweave, emotions pour, and the normally closed inner world of the heroine is exhibited so that the audience can plunge into it and deeply connect with her.

“I took the book ‘Ballerina, Ballerina’ in my hands, right when I was in very confusing times. The sensations overtook by body, the emotions my mind. My breathing became shallow and from very far I could see, feel, touch one sound engaging with the other. Torn between an inner world of ideas manifesting in audible creations and the outside world. The inner world, along with existential questions, was taking over, while the reality expected from me to be a perfect Society’ resident, play multiple characters of a life, and to act (live) as my culture taught me to act (live). I could envision from her eyes, I felt what she felt, I was Ballerina, I am Ballerina. My aim is to illuminate the diversity of Neuroatypical’ perspective and bring the Autism up close and personal”
(Petra Strahovnik)

Extended artistic collaboration.

This music-theater piece is the culmination of disOrders, a long-term 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. 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.

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

Concept, composition, and sound art: Petra Strahovnik
Stage Director/Designer: Rocc
Music Director: Ezequiel Menalled
Production: Slovenian Chamber Music Theatre, and Ensemble Modelo62
Co-production: Cankar Centre and Opera Povera
19 & 20 October 2020 Linhart Hall, Cankar Ljubljana, Slovenia
21 October Velenje Festival, Slovenia
Banner photo: Joris Jan Bos

More info…

Calendar with music for 2021 by Kees Arntzen

After the ‘Cute Proverbs Calendar 2018’, for the year 2021 Kees Arntzen comes with a new calendar. This time with twelve lithographs and drawings of the Amsterdam School, the architectural style that caused a furore a hundred years ago…   

Each calendar page offers the opportunity to listen to matching music from the year of construction of the building depicted for a month via the internet. The choice of music was made in collaboration with the Leo Smit Foundation.

Concert and Vernissage

The twelve calendar sheets will be exhibited from Sunday 27 September in Museum Het Schip in Amsterdam in combination with a small concert on 31 October at 16.00, at which Kees Arntzen also presents his new CD ‘…dejar abajo…’.

With each calendar one will separately acquire an exclusive lithography of one of the buildings shown, traditionally printed in a very small edition on the presses of Steendrukkerij Aad Hekker on first quality ‘Reina’ – paper (retail value € 125,-).

This will also give access to the vernissage and the CD presentation with a small concert on Saturday, October 31 at 16:00 in the museum, if desired in combination with a previous museum visit and a small tour of the exhibition on master-builder Bruno Taut. (Admission to the museum free of charge with Museumjaarkaart or BankGiroLottery card, otherwise € 15,-)

Sign up Exclusive

In order to make the project financially possible and to be able to estimate the size of the print runs, Kees Arntzen organizes this subscription action in advance, for a select group of friends and acquaintances who were involved or turned out to be interested in previous productions.

  • For € 15 you get the new CD …dejar abajo…
  • For € 85 you will receive the Amsterdam School Calendar 2021 plus a hand-printed lithograph of your choice.
  • For € 95 you get the calendar 2021 including lithograph and cd.

Flute orchestra Resonances XXI performs Dutch composers

On October 10, French flute orchestra Resonances XXI will give a concert entitled “ Resonances Neerlandaises” dedicated entirely to Dutch composers, showcasing Dutch flute music spanning over the last fifty years…   

The concert, conducted by Olivier Guion, will include the world premiere of Will Hoogakker’s “Music for 9 flutes – Retrograde”, as well as the original version from 1991. Resonances XXI, a newly formed flute orchestra, will perform this weekend at the Fondation de la Maison de Tunisie of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. Also on the program are works of Leo Samama, Ned McGowan, Jelle Hogenhuis, Henk de Vlieger and Adriaan Bonsel.

The flute orchestra will perform works by:

  • Leo Samama
  • Adriaan Bonsel
  • Henk de Vlieger
  • Jelle Hogenhuis
  • Will Hoogakker
  • Ned McGowan

The conductor is Olivier Guion.


Sarah Neutkens signs publishing contract with Donemus

Donemus is very happy to welcome Sarah Neutkens, composer, pianist, model and artist. On Thursday October 8th she signed her publishing contract with Donemus…   

Sarah Neutkens may call herself an art historian, is seen as a talented visual artist, has her own record label, is a model and – if that is not enough – the whole world gets to know her more and more as a gifted composer and pianist.

This multitalented young woman has already released three albums since 2016 under her own label Neutra Records. Her works have been performed by, among others, the Mallet Collective, Camiel Boomsma, Ensemble Ruspoli and the Dutch String Collective.

Sarah will be part of the Music Hub Brabant in 2020-2021, a talent development initiative of the Province of Brabant.

Sarah Neutkens’ website

Succesful premiere Willem Jeths – Ritratto

Ritratto, after Hôtel de Pékin and The Tale-Tell Heart the third opera by the Amsterdam composer Willem Jeths (61), was the first victim of the pandemic at the National Opera in March. The piece was brought to ITA, where it was supposed to be the opening performance of the Opera Forward Festival, until the last dress rehearsal. However, both the premiere and the performances that were to follow were unfortunately canceled…   

Fortunately, there was the saving virtual hand of YouTube. The general rehearsal could be streamed worldwide and was watched by 75,000 people – a multiple of the number that would have been possible in ITA.

Sold out

DNO decided to give Ritratto a second chance this month. Again it seemed as if fate would be cruel for the piece because of the coronavirus. Only when mayor Halsema decided last week not to admit a maximum of 30, but 250 people to the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Jeths was able to breathe calmly. All six performances would continue. There is also one disadvantage: because of the limited number of visitors, all those performances are already sold out.

Compared to the general rehearsal, of which a CD recording has now been published, the performance has clearly become even better, richer as well, because it touches on subthemes that are connected to today’s social developments. Take the role of Garbi, sung by Martin Mkhize, who in the opening scene makes his entrance to a still closed canvas like a black slave dressed in a golden costume, which he leaves at the end as a consequence of a liberation process.


Ritratto, which means portrait, revolves around the stony Italian marquise Luisa Casati, who, against the backdrop of the recent outbreak of the First World War, loses herself so much in her quest for artistic veracity in the portrait that is painted of her, that at the end she sticks out her eyes and dies. The demanding role is sung fantastically by the British soprano Verity Wingate, a young talent from the training of DNO. The Italian tenor Paride Cataldo also sings beautifully as Gabriele D’Annunzio, one of the celebrities who loved to visit Casati’s parties.

The costumes of Jan Taminiau are also a feast for the eyes again. Marcel Sijm was in charge of the clear direction and Marc Warning took care of the beautiful scenery, full of organic, abstract forms, which powerfully stimulate the imagination.


Challenge Records has released the CD of Ritratto. One can listen to this recording on Spotify and other platforms.

Link to Spotify