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Forty times a year to TivoliVredenburg: 'You get everywhere if you love music, eh.'

Peter Vossen says he experiences live concerts on average twice a week. Not just in TivoliVredenburg, although he visited there almost 40 times last year. 'I also see a lot of free concerts on the streets and in cafés, of course.' Jazz is his great love, but he also attends soul, funk, Latin or pop concerts. He can regularly be found at ballet and he often goes to classical music. Does he come from a musical nest?

'Not at all, no. It was possible. My mother did come from a musical family. A few people did conservatories. One uncle became a music teacher. The rest did make a lot of music but that was more for entertainment and amusement. In my own family, my mother played the piano, but she died at the age of 43. My two sisters played piano, but often because they had to and that made sure I never took up an instrument.'

The spectator is the star
Who are those people you're in the room with anyway? What story is behind that order for that one ticket? In the context of TivoliVredenburg's double anniversary in Utrecht the Cultural Press Agency portrays visitors to those buildings. Fanatical visitors. Who enrich the image of an innovative building with their stories.

The 54-year-old independent trainer/coach remembers what his first concert was. 'KC & The Sunshine Band. In 83 or 84, I think it was. In the Great Hall.' Not an unmixed pleasure for the young Vossen. 'I found that Great Hall incredibly boring.'

Son

During the 1990s, he didn't come to Vredenburg very often. 'That I come so often now is actually only since the reopening. That's because of my son. While I don't play an instrument myself, I did manage to pass on that love to one of my children. And this son was at school both on musical, stage and trumpet playing and he made films. As a parent, I took him to a lot of concerts.'

Only to TivoliVredenburg? 'Well not only here. He's also been going with us to North Sea Jazz every year since he was 12 and regularly to the Concertgebouw for both jazz and classical.'

That is quite remarkable for an average adolescent, Vossen also admits: 'That was because he asked for it himself.' He himself did not start playing jazz as early as his son does now, he says: 'I was only infected with the love of jazz in my student days by a flatmate. He showed me very simple things like Count Basie and blues records by Eric Clapton.'

Lunch concerts

As his love for live jazz grew, he also attended more and more classical music. 'That was because of my aunt who has lived in Utrecht almost all her life. She sometimes took me to the lunch concert here on Friday afternoons. Then two girlfriends took me to the Concertgebouw for the first time. Through that route, I learned to appreciate classical music.'

Vossen never goes to concerts by himself, but he does not have a regular going-out partner. 'Mostly with girlfriends. Then we pick something we both like. That's how I saw Barbra Streisand at the Ziggo Dome.' He laughs. 'Yes, you get everywhere if you like music, eh.'

How does Peter Vossen actually know what to get where? 'For a while I followed on twitter one of those editors from NRC who wrote about jazz. But I don't read newspapers otherwise. I sometimes look afterwards to see what someone thought of it.'

Facebook

Facebook is proving essential to his entertainment plans. 'Until a few years ago, not all concert halls made good use of Facebook events. I found that a pity, because I like to see which of my Facebook friends also want to go, or are interested. That's how you give each other ideas for concerts and performances that you might not have thought of or known about yourself.'

'Especially at the National Ballet, they didn't want to do it because the employee in charge of the National Ballet or the Music Theatre thought it was too much work, but in the meantime I saw the other day that they have finally created facebook events for all the dates for the Christmas performance. Just like TivoliVredenburg has been doing for some time. I find events a very nice feature of facebook. So where people turn their backs on facebook, I won't be doing it any time soon for that reason.'

Outside the bubble

He likes the new building. Especially the possibility to take part in other events: 'Often, if you have a ticket for one event, you can go elsewhere afterwards. For instance, I could walk straight to Wicked Jazz Sounds after Sabrina Starke. Normally that costs 15 euros, but if you come from a concert, it costs nothing. That's also how I ended up at the Brasa Festival, a Surinamese evening. Not that I'm particularly interested in that now, but that's how I experienced a nice concert by Denise Jannah.'

'Same with Catch Festival. That's a festival that's a bit less my taste, but I saw a separate performance there by Kyteman (Colin Benders, ws), who's now messing around with synthesisers. Then you can just go there because it's been going on for a while and they don't check that little room you come out of. I do find it relaxed that they are not so strict. That way you also get to know something new and then you buy a ticket for that again next time. Like Wicked Jazz Sounds. Next time I'll take a few others with me and then we'll buy tickets.'

Are you such a spectator?
Do you have a special story of your own about TivoliVredenburg? Let us know about it!

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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