World premiere Chiel Meijering by Kathleen McLean

On July 15, Kathleen McLean will be premiering Chiel Meijering’s concerto ‘Highlander’s Farewell’ for bassoon and strings (2017/revised 2019) at the International Double Reed Conference in Tampa, Florida. This piece was dedicated to her and the title refers to her Scottish roots. The piece is filled with Celtic ideas as well as pop and minimalist elements and references to old composers all part of McLean’s musical background…   

Bassoonplayer Kathleen McLean studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and started her career as principal bassoonist with the Toronto Symphony before moving to Indiana where she now teaches as bassoon professor of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She has performed with famous orchestras like the London Symphony, Boston Symphony, World Orchestra for Peace. She has worked with some of the greatest composers and conductors during her career including Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache, Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, Witold Lutoslawski, Krsysztof Penerecki, Essa Pekka Salonen, Peter Eotvos, Elliot Carter, John Adams to name a few.

She is a member of Canada’s most acclaimed chamber music ensembles, Octagon and has been a founding member of the Toronto Wind Quintet, Caliban Bassoon Quartet and has made several recordings with these ensembles as well as solo recording “Nightsongs” featuring commissions of several Canadian composers of chamber music for bassoon and the Accordes String QuartetHer career focus is now mostly on solo and chamber music performances and she is an advocate of promoting and commissioning and recording new pieces by living composers.

Kathleen also is recently delving into other genres of music and has made recordings in collaboration with Chiel Meijering 5 new CD’s of electro pop tracks as featured artist. This month, she will be performing in Indianpolis as a member of the back up band for the rock band The Who which takes the instrument into a whole new direction in the pop world. Kathleen was attracted to Meijering’s music, one of Holland’s leading composers who has added to the Donemus collection an enormous amount of new works written for the bassoon (over 120 works).

Starting in 2016, McLean approached Meijering about writing a piece for a recording project she had in mind while on a sabbatical in 2016. Meijering began reworking some of his recorder concertos for bassoon and strings and then was inspired to carry on with original works for the instrument because of McLean’s enthusiasm and her international success. She liked the combined elements in his style of  elements of rock and pop along with minimalism, fold and influences by the old great masters. His writing style aesthetically struck her immediately and was very interested in commissioning new pieces in order to give the bassoon a sexy place as a virtuosic solo instrument on concert stages.

This has developed in a highly productive collaboration between Chiel Meijering and Kathleen McLean over the last two years, producing high energy, provocative, and appealing pieces for the instrument, several recordings and performance premieres of these already produced. The mutual inspiration between McLean and Meijering continues with several new performances and projects planned for the future. So much music, yet to be performed. She is certain that she will never be able to perform all of these works in her lifetime and it is her mission to perpetuate this magical outpouring of Meijering’s bassoon masterworks onto the concert stages of future generations of players.

It is without a doubt, that Chiel Meijering has made a historic and monumental contribution to the world of double reeds. On July 15, Kathleen McLean will be premiering Meijering’s concerto Highlander’s Farewell for bassoon and strings (2017/revised 2019) at the International Double Reed Conference in Tampa, Florida. This piece was dedicated to her and with the title, refers to her Scottish roots. The piece is filled with Celtic ideas as well as pop and minimalist elements and references to old composers all part of McLean’s musical background. McLean will also be premiering a new woodwind trio dedicated to her by Meijering in mid June, 2019 in Toronto Canada and there are also plans to play a Meijering octet with the Octagon ensemble in Canada on their next Ontario tour in November 2019,

For more information about Kathleen McLean

Chiel Meijering

Support the Dutch Saxophone Octet with Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt

A debut CD of the Dutch Saxophone Octet with Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt in the unique arrangement for eight saxophonists. This year the Dutch Saxophone Octet exists for 5 years. Reason for a special project. Recording and releasing a CD has been on our wish list for a number of years…   

Consider to  support them 
Renting the recording location, recording, post-processing, shaping and pressing the CD costs a lot of money. With a donation we can make this project a success. The Saxophone Octet would like to give something in return. On the right-hand side of the crowdfunding page at Voordekunst of the page one will find nice gifts such as a signed CD and for the true Canto connoisseurs: adopt the favorite section!

To make this jubilee year an extra large party, the CD presentation will take place in the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 12 November 2019. The octet would be happy to treat their sponsors to a live performance by Canto Ostinato.

About the Dutch Saxophone Octet
The Dutch Saxophone Octet was founded in Amsterdam in 2014 by a group of recently graduated saxophonists who wanted to look beyond the saxophone quartet. With the sopranino and bass saxophone and all sizes of saxophones in between, they as an ensemble have a wide range that lends itself to interesting arrangements from chamber music works to symphonies. For example, they received permission from the Schönberg Foundation to arrange and play Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht. They also regularly work with composers on contemporary music. They premiered Via Dolorosa by Bernard van Beurden and contributed to a major project in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In the Netherlands they were guests at a variety of festivals such as the Grachtenfestival, Wonderfeel, Festival Classique, Mañana Mañana, Uitgast and CityProms.

Canto Ostinato
One of the first arrangements that the octet played was that of Canto Ostinato” by Simeon ten Holt. Saxophonist Stefan de Wijs made the arrangement and received the approval of the heirs of Ten Holt. Canto Ostinato consists of a carefully selected set of notes that develops through 8 mouths, along 16 hands and 80 fingers. In an organic way, rhythm and melody become more complex and again simple, noisier and again calm, emphatic and serene again. The musicians follow each other or take a different initiative in an apparently endless game.
Canto Ostinato is perhaps the most popular composition from the Netherlands. The piece is in the top ten of the Heart and Soul List of Radio 4 every year. In 2018 it was number five and the Dutch Saxophone Octet was invited to give a live performance during the Heart and Soul Festival in TivoliVredenburg. The fact that they received dozens of enthusiastic e-mails from listeners afterwards indicates how much this Canto of air and keys is appreciated.

Their adaptation of Canto Ostinato is unique and the octet is happy to share it with as many people as possible. Their Canto CD will be an addition to all existing Canto Ostinato recordings.

Thank you very much for your help!

More info and donations

Hans Kox, central composer at the Orlando Festival 2019

Hans Kox (1930-2019) will be the central composer of Orlando 2019. A choice of about two hours from his rich chamber music oeuvre will be performed. Hans Kox died on Monday 25 February at the age of 88 in his hometown Haarlem. Henk Guittart, artistic Director of the Orlando Festival, talked with Hans Kox about the festival and about his works that will be performed there. Unfortunately Hans Kox can’t join the great upcoming concerts in Rolduc…   

Henk Guittart:

In the national press Hans Kox was described as a composer of great importance to us, a great professional who wrote expressive music with international allure. It was also referred to how much he – as unfortunately is customary – was underestimated in his own country, and how he was seriously damaged in the seventies, by what can be considered a destructive attack on his composing on the part of the press and some of his colleagues. However, Kox did not allow himself to be silenced, and until recently he composed a beautiful and rich oeuvre. Many CDs bear witness to his importance.

Kox also found brilliant advocates in the recent past, such as the Jenufa Quartet, the Attacca label by Sieuwert Verster, conductor Jaap van Zweden, ZaterdagMatinee and many others.

For me there were many reasons to make him the central composer of our 2019 edition. First of all the quality of his rich chamber music oeuvre, the many instrumental scorings that were suitable for us, and certainly it was also a modest attempt to compensate a little for the general underestimation and undervaluation.

Unlike my friendship with the previous central composers, Jonathan Dove and Louis Andriessen, I hardly knew Kox personally.

After a few days of personal contact in the 70’s, when I played the viola in the War Requiem of Britten under his direction, as a guest in the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, for a week of which I have beautiful memories, I was very moved by our contact on the valuable Sunday afternoon of February 10, when we talked about his beautiful and important chamber music. It was a happy and joyful afternoon, and I was very impressed by his cheerfulness and his powerful optimism.

We talked about programming about two and a half hours of his music, and I am grateful that he has explained his preferences. I would have liked so much that he would experience this tribute optimally, with the serious performances on Orlando by fantastic musicians, hopefully resulting in a beautiful Hans Kox CD. I also looked forward to, and with me the seven young masterclass musicians I had already informed, the performance of the piano quartets and the piano trio in Haarlem, even before the summer.

I speak on behalf of the Orlando musicians when I say that we will miss Hans enormously this summer, and I assure you that we will work hard to make a nice tribute to him, with the choice of 14 compositions from his chamber music, covering a period of 56 years of his composing.

In the words of music journalist Bas van Putten: “His beautifully executed scores bear witness to an intense melodic talent – everything sings, including the instrumental – and ditto technical refinement. It is dynamic, restless music, with extreme contrasts between motoric rigour and hymnic lyricism, ostinato and liberamente. Traditional music too, thought in terms of thematic-motivic development, melody and accompaniment, harmony and counterpoint. Conceived in the context of a strongly expanded, but always tangible tonal background.

Project ‘Rainbow’ by Aftab Darvishi at Operadagen R’dam

‘Rainbow’ is a hybrid project by two remarkable artists from Iran who have both been in Belgium and the Netherlands for a long time: Nazanin Fakoor created an extremely sensory light installation enriched with live vocal sound landscapes from the SWARA Vocal Ensemble, in a composition by Aftab Darvishi. Their music-theatrical installation transports the listener to the mystical text of the 12th-century Persian poet Attar and at the same time invites to reflect on one own’s layers…   

The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar inspired the Iranian artist Nazanin Fakoor to create Rainbow around the idea that ‘national identity’ is a myth. The Belgian Swara Ensemble plays the music of the Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi in a mobile installation that – literally – reflects our multifarious identities.

concept, staging, installation en text: Nazanin Fakoor
composition: Aftab Darvishi

Swara Vocal Ensemble with Ivan Yohan

Marion Bauwens, soprano
Sarah Verhoeven, soprano
Anna Nuytten, mezzo-soprano
Imogen Streul, mezzo-soprano
Hendrik Mispelon, tenor
Kevin Skelton, tenor
Dody Soetanto, baritone
Andrés Soler Castaño, bass

voice: Anne Gordon, Nazanin Fakoor
Children’s voice: Ella Jafari

Article at the Theaterkrant (Dutch)

More info & tickets

Katarzyna Głowicka – Unknown, I Live With You

Operadagen Rotterdam presents the Dutch premiere of the project ‘Unknown, I Live With You’ by composer Katarzyna Głowicka and stage Krystian Lada. Inspired by Afghan female writers’ poems, this project amplifies the basic human right to freely tell one’s own story. This new version uses the dramatic power of opera with the impact of socially engaged art in an unusual, immersive format. It involves opera singers, dancers, a string quartet and live electronica in a staged opera installation…  

In Taliban-held Afghanistan, writing, and any form of musical expression, has been considered a crime. The poems by three contemporary Afghan female writers are at the heart of this project. Roya, Meena Z., Fattemah AH and Freshta are participants of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP). AWWP was founded in 2009 in order to encourage Afghani women to develop their voices and write their own narratives, striving to change the narrative of women’s rights in Afghanistan in the process. Through AWWP, Afghan women have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through husbands, relatives or the media. Most of the writers participate in the project secretly. Their poems are raw, often devastating, and always brave in depicting the live under the niqab. Their writings convey a very universal story – the one of the female voice that strive for freedom in the patriarchal society. Read an essay by one of our writers here.

The Polish composer Katarzyna Głowicka explores the junctions between extended techniques of operatic voice and the dramatic potential of live electronics. The emotionality of the folk-inspired melodies meets minimalism of form. It expresses the harshness of the living circumstances of the Afghani writers but as well the power of the female voice striving for emancipation. Sung by a collective of three singers who represent different visions of female/ male dynamics and potential of the human voice. Three strong women create the cast of the performance: the Polish opera diva Malgorzata Walewska, the American star of young generation Raehann Bryce-Davis and the transsexual opera singer Lucia Lucas. Three soloists will be accompanied by the musicians from a string quartet. The musical direction of the project is in hands of the pianist and vocal coach Pedro Beriso who works for the Flemish Opera.

The immersive form of the performance invites the audience to share the space with the performers. The audience is invited to move through the set. The entire performance takes several hours and is constructed of repeating loops, allowing a free flow of the audience through the installation.

Info & tickets
Katarzyna Głowicka at Donemus

Album Release “Canti d’inizio e fine” Maya Fridman – Maxim Shalygin

Maxim Shalygin composed ‘Canti d’inizio e fine’ – for a solo performer who can feel, play, sing, scream, moan, swear, breathe, squeal, whisper, bleat, hiss, dream. Maya Fridman gave many performances of this work on cello and recorded it. Available at TRPTK…   

“Rend your clothes, you all, sprinkle your head with ashes, run through the streets and dance in madness”.
Rabbi Jakub Szulman in a letter, January 1942

The Canti consists of six songs, each representing an imaginary folder in the Holocaust victims directory, called after a segment of the German alphabet, and assigned to one out of six Angels of Death: Gabriel, Mashhit, Kapziel, Azrael, Abaddon, and Michael. The epilogue, Todesfuge, inspired by the eponymous poem by Paul Celan, combines mysteriously compelling imagery with rhythmic variations and structural patterns that are both elusive and pronounced, thus masterfully depicting horror and death in a concentration camp.

For each song Maxim Shalygin developed a special technique. He uses the uncommon BACH.Bow in some parts and Maya Fridman’s beautiful voice in the epilogue. In her performance of Canti d’inizio e fine, Fridman focuses her attention on the experience of time and sounds as they slowly undergo sublime transformations.

More info and order here

“Canti d’inizio e fine”; official Album Release:
Oosterkerk, Amsterdam
Friday 21st June | 20:00

Fantastic Women at Operadagen and Tivoli/Vredenburg

On May 18th, the project of Bauwien van der Meer called ‘Fantastic Women’ will be presented at the Operadagen Rotterdam. On June 7th it will be repeated at TivoliVredenburg. Music by female composers such as Kate Moore, Georgia Nicolaou, Calliope Tsoupaki…   

Bauwien van der Meer is the creator of the project Fantastic Women, a performance with the stature of a song recital (vocals and piano) and the vibrancy of a variety act. The theme of this project is women’s issues: ten composers address the current position of women, on the basis of penetrating music and (in many cases their own) texts. Women from Tunisian, Dutch, Australian, Cypriotic, and six other different backgrounds. From some contributors existing, but rarely performed, works will be heard; all other works are written especially for this project.

Bauwien van der Meer about the project: In his Frauenliebe und Leben Robert Schumann in 1840 sang in first person about the infancy of a girl, her marriage problems, giving birth to children and grieving for the death of her husband. Not uncommon at that time, not even long afterwards: famous female characters from the song and opera culture are usually written by a man. But what do women have to say themselves? What is their perspective on the world, what is their tone? To find out, I invited ten female composers whom I admire to contribute a composition. The music in Fantastic Women ranges from minimal music through almost overesthetic splendor to meaningful violence, from a refined colorite to the raw, the ugly, the shrill.

Performers: Bauwien van der Meer: sopraan, Caecilia Boschman: piano
Compositions of: Kate Moore, Georgia Nicolaou, Calliope Tsoupaki and more
Direction: Jorinde Keesmaat
Light: Desiree van Gelderen
Design: Sammy van den Heuvel
Dramaturgy: Robin de Bruijn

18-05-2019 – Rotterdam, Opera Dagen Rotterdam
07-06-2019 – Utrecht, TivoliVredenburg

Ensemble Modelo62 presents DisOrders, written by Petra Strahovnik

For four days in a row, in five different galleries in The Hague, Ensemble Modelo62 will simultaneously present five pieces by Petra Strahovnik for solo/duo performers that combine music and performance art to raise questions on an ever-present matter in our society: mental health…   

Part 1 of DisOrders: ‘Through the Looking Glass’, by Petra Strahovnik. 

June 6, 7, 8 from 19:30 to 22:30
June 9 at 14:30. Pre-presentation talk at 13:30 with Christian Bouwkamp PhD in Psychology and Petra, in Parts Project Gallery.

How do we deal with mental health nowadays, specifically, with the so-called mental disorders conditions? Are we prepared to welcome them and fully support people affected by one, as well as their families and friends? How do we deal with the emotions involved in a mental condition, and how can we better make contact with these emotions to connect better with each other and create a society that does not exclude what is not ‘in order’?

With five different pieces, Petra Strahovnik goes to the core of the matter and brings out the struggle that lies in individuals afflicted with a mental condition in five different installations: ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression. With the use of music, sound, performance art, video, and electronics, she places the audience face to face with the inner world of a human being whose condition has put him in a ‘different’ lane than the rest of the world. And the question is raised:

Can we go beyond rejection and find compassion in order to expand our concept as a society of what is ‘in order’?

This set of five pieces is part of DisOrders, a two-year collaboration project between Ensemble Modelo62 and Petra, supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten, Gemeente Den Haag and Dioraphte. It will culminate in 2020 with the production of the opera ‘Balerina, Balerina’ (working title), whose libretto is based on the book with the same name, written by the Slovenian Marco Sosič.

Read more about DisOrders here

‘Through the Looking Glass’ is presented simultaneously in Galerie Helder, The Grey Space in the Middle, Haagse Kunstring, Parts Project and Trixie.

The five pieces:

#1 LOST in TIME – Anxiety DisOrder.
For Jan Willem Troost and Cello. With sound installation
@ The Grey Space in the Middle.

#2 DROWNED in TIME – Attention deficit hyperactivity DisOrder.
For Klára van de Ketterij and Percussion. With electronics.
@ Trixie.

#3 AMAZED by TIME, FROZEN in TIME – Autism Spectrum DisOrder.
For Justin Christensen and Trumpet. With video projection
@ Galerie Helder.

For Enric Sans i Morera and Clarinet. For Jorge López García and Clarinet.
@ Parts Project.

#5 FORGOTTEN IN TIME  Depression
For Santiago Lascurain and Guitar. With video projection.
@ Haagse Kunstkring.

Ensemble Modelo62:
Enric Sans i Morera
Jorge López García
Jan Willem Troost
Justin Christensen
Klara van de Ketterij
Santiago Lascurain

Artistic direction: Ezequiel Menalled
Composer and general concept: Petra Strahovnik
Video realization: Gregor Gobec
Performance art coach: Larysa Bauge
Production: Vasilis Stefanopoulos
Technical realization: Dario Giustarini

Helena Basilova performs Preludes of Maxim Shalygin

Maxim Shalygin wrote his 9 Preludes for Piano when he lived in St. Petersburg and finished the composition in Kiev, 2006. The preludes are a cycle of nine intimate and spiritual movements, filled with emotional contrasts, introspection and nostalgia. On May 23, Helena Basilova will perform this cycle at Splendor, Amsterdam. The concert will be performed with candlelight and limited tickets are available…   

The 9 preludes for piano are the first large-scale work in which Maxim Shalygin managed to find the subtle connections inside musical matter that invite the listener to move inward. Everything in the preludes is aimed at gradual immersion, avoiding the use of external effects. He consciously relied on well-known historical genres in order to give the listener the opportunity to enter with ease into the gate of introspection. From there on, the labyrinths of various and new feelings can be discovered and we start to experience a different sense of time. While writing the work Shalygin often composed at the piano or played the preludes for his friends. Always in the company of candlelight. This intimate and dark atmosphere allowed him to become one with himself without the distraction of external factors. This is what he wishes for the listeners as well; sometimes the music is so quiet that we start to hear our own breath.

Helena Basilova
Among the many clichés surrounding Russia, perhaps none is more persistent than a nostalgia Russians supposedly feel for a time they may never have known. Helena Basilova, born in Russia to two established pianists/composers but raised in The Netherlands, subverts all other stereotypes. But her personal history did – undeniably – instil her with a sense of melancholy. This wistfulness is never stronger than in her connection to Russian music and its widespread influence in (Eastern) Europe.

Though Helena performs repertoire from all periods and styles, her story has led her time and again to Russian composers such as Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Scriabin. Over the last few years, Helena dedicated herself to perform more unrevealed repertoire, discovering many treasures and focusing on collaborating with living composers such as Maxim Shalygin and Elena Firsova.

‘Helena Basilova played sensitively and with flair.’ New York Times

More info & tickets

9 Preludes at the Donemus catalogue

Listen to Prelude IX

New choreography on Canto Ostinato by Didy Veldman

On July 9th and 10th the Dutch National Ballet Academy will give a new performance on ‘Canto Ostinato’ of Simeon ten Holt. During this end-of-season performances 2019, Didy Veldman presents her new choreography. Sepp Grotenhuis will play the grand piano…   

The Dutch National Ballet Academy has previously danced to two (existing) works by the Dutch choreographer Didy Veldman, who works in England. She is now making her first new work for the Academy, taking inspiration from her Dutch roots: the meadows, the cows, the flat linear landscape and the horizon that is nearly always visible when driving through the Netherlands. She is also using clogs, partly as a tribute to Hans van Manen and his ballet Clogs. But unlike Van Manen’s piece, here the clogs not only serve as footwear, but often as scenery too. Veldman uses her sources of inspiration with subtlety – “it won’t be folklore” – but she does describe her new work as a ‘mini ode to Holland’.

More info