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Holland Festival celebrated the live arts in corona time

The 74th edition of the Holland Festival closed last weekend with the performances Transverse Orientation by Dimitris Papaioannou, Age of Rage by ITA-Ensemble and Pierrot Lunaire by Marlene Monteiro Freitas. The festival collaborated with two associate artists, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and French-Austrian theatre maker Gisèle Vienne. Twenty-three companies performed one hundred and eleven performances over twenty-five days. The festival presented seven world premiere... You can log in now 

Love & Revenge aims to reshape the Arab world

You take film classics like Dracula and Star Wars, track down their Arabic remakes, and edit these fragments on a live soundtrack that fuses Arabic pop history with electronic music of today. This, in short, is the recipe of the dynamic collaboration between musician Rayes Bek and video artist Randa Mirza, better known as Love & Revenge. With their compelling show,... 

Bill T Jones is larger than life. Why Holland Festival 2020 will be a lot more topical than previous editions.

There are people who have a voice with which you can quiet a crowd in a whisper. Bill T Jones, choreographer and this year's associate artist of the Holland Festival, is one such person. Apart from that beautiful, heavy and full voice, he also has a presence with which he can quiet the cogs with a single hand movement. But all that would be nothing if... 

Jeremy Dutcher on Amsterdam Roots: 'I think we can expect something very beautiful in the generations to come, as long as we keep singing our songs.'

It is, so in his normal clothes, a cheerful, spontaneous guy who walks up to me in the hotel lobby where we have arranged to meet. Jeremy Dutcher the Canadian singer who is one of the main guests at this year's Amsterdam Roots festival, hardly shows any traces of the jet lag he must have undoubtedly sustained from his flight, which took off a few hours earlier... 

'When you bring back the songs, you bring back the people, you bring back everything'. Why Amsterdam Roots should be proud of coming Jeremy Dutcher.

28-year-old Jeremy Dutcher is a sensation. With his reinterpretation of native songs by Canadian Indians, he won the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy last year; names like Arcade Fire, Feist and Kaytranada preceded him. Amsterdam Roots Festival is now bringing award-winning Canadian musician Jeremy Dutcher to the Netherlands for a performance at the Bimhuis on 10 July 2019. When... 

Our readers' list. What we should all never forget from 2017.

Well, we're not big on hypes and traditions here, but still. The dark days around Christmas are very dark this year, so why not something with lists. This year, no list of toppers from the editors, but random entries from random readers, in random, if slightly alphabetical order. Motto of the readers' question was: which things... 

Finds inside (Misha Mengelberg 1935 - 2017)

There is sound; a notion of impotence; a programme without a head or tail; there is power, chatter, compassion; there is nothing but also a vista, blurred image full of action and opposition. Moreover, the language seems a bit overwrought here and there. Of course, incoherent drivel can be cosy, or moving. Under circumstances, meaningfulness may be possible, but it will not... 

Cello Biennale full of highlights: 'Cellists are just nice people'

It no longer buzzes, hums, sings, saws and buzzes in the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. The cello caravan has left. The sixth edition of the Cello Biennale Amsterdam is over, leaving the thousands of cello and music fans with a feeling of emptiness. Nowhere else does such an amazing festival of cello take place in ten days, where the audience feels like... 

Sounding moths, ink drops and string mists in Cello Biennale

'He likes a joke,' says Fedor Teunisse of Slagwerk Den Haag, calling composer Brendan Faegre (1985) onto the Bimhuis stage. The young composer explains how the percussionists and the Biennale Cello Band should perform his Magical Quest for the Enchanted Armor. 'It's a game piece,' he says enthusiastically. 'The four percussionists and four cellists... 

Cello Biennale opens spectacularly: Maarten Mostert likes to go big

The Cello Biennale Amsterdam, the world's largest cello festival taking place from 20 to 29 October in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, has begun and it is already taking a battering. For ten days, 27 international cello soloists, 6 orchestras, 11 ensembles, 1 choir and many musicians from 26 countries will give over 800 performances. From morning... 

Pascal Gallois: formidable champion of the bassoon #HF16

Bassoonist Pascal Gallois gets laughs when he tries in vain to insert the flowers he has just received into the tube of his instrument. Also in the now classic Dialogue de l'ombre double by Pierre Boulez, he manages to make the audience chuckle on Sunday 19 June, when he produces a kind of elephant-like trumpet with much misfiring. His performance is part of the ''Save the bassoon', which will conclude on Sunday 25 June with a concert at the Holland Festival Proms at the Concertgebouw. For this hundreds of (amateur) bassoonists ON. Action successful, in other words.

Olga Neuwirth: Weltkatzenmusik or acoustic preservation? #HF16

Austrian politician Jörg Haider labelled its work Weltkatzenmusik. When his far-right Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs joined the government in 2000, it led to mass protests. At one such rally, Olga Neuwirth (Graz, 1968), under the title 'Ich lass mich nicht wegjodeln', denounced his anti-intellectual and anti-cultural agenda. The rest is history: Haider drove himself to pieces in 2008, Neuwirth... 

Ursula Mamlok: atonal music with heart

With the death of Pierre Boulez on 5 January, modernism seemingly came to an end, but the two-year-old Ursula Mamlok (1923) is still alive and kicking. Although the German-American Mamlok hopes to turn 93 on 1 February, she is steadily composing.# In 2009, she wrote Aphorisms II for two clarinets, in which, as in all her pieces, she manages to couple atonality with a warm-blooded... 

Muziekgebouw jubilees - Ten years of music on the IJ

Next weekend, from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September, the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ celebrates its tenth anniversary with a jam-packed festival three-day event. From a cruise on the IJ with music by John Cage, a sleep concert by bassoonist Bram van Sambeek, a world premiere by Dutch Composer Willem Jeths, to a musical picnic in the entrance hall. No fewer than eight... 

'A drunken panda who wants to have a tussle' - The Loom of Mind on HF15

In The Loom of Mind, Icelandic folk singer Mugison, his bosom friend Pétur Ben, and Flemish baroque ensemble B.O.X. join forces. What does that sound like: melancholic Icelandic blues with 17th-century instruments? Like a stand-up storytelling concert performance? Or like a drunken panda who wants to have a game? How did you find each other? Pieter Theuns, lutenist and founder of B.O.X.: "I found Mugison... 

John Engels 80 years: tireless behind the drum kit

Only those who live in a locked hut on the moors will have missed the fact that jazz drummer John Engels will soon turn 80. He has been a guest on television programmes like VPRO Vrije Geluiden and the special jazz edition of De Wereld Draait Door, and will be honoured on his birthday 13 May with a celebratory concert at the Bimhuis. Also published was the small-scale biography... 

Gaudeamus organises seminar on music criticism

Tonight begins the international Gaudeamus Music Week, in which five composers under 30 compete for the coveted Gaudeamus Music Prize. The jury, consisting of Vanessa Lann, Oscar Bianchi and Wim Henderickx selected them from eighty entrants from all over the world. It is the fourth edition in Utrecht of the competition, which started in 1951 in Bilthoven; the new TivoliVredenburg serves as the festival centre.... 

Aufführung der Komposition " Delusion of the fury " von Harry Partch in der Musiktheater Inszenierung von Heiner Goebbels mit dem Ensemble musikFabrik in der Jahrhunderthalle Bochum im Rahmen der Ruhrtriennale 2012-14 am Mittwoch, 21.08.2013

Seeing music (and not hearing it?)

Because of my fascination with the complex relationship between listening and watching, I decided to visit three performances at the recent Holland Festival and experience what happened when I tried to pay equal attention to ears and eyes. The first was "Delusion of the Fury" (1966) by American composer Harry Partch, the second a concert performance of Philip Glass's opera "The CIVIL warS" (1983), the third a performance of Franz Schubert's "Die Winterreise" (1827) in which...

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Crushingly good: Nine Rivers by composer James Dillon, with conductor and percussionist Steven Schick @HollandFestival

Holland Festival Holland Festival

From the mild, everyday cacophony around the Muziekgebouw in the afternoon, on the terrace by the IJ, you'll get into the silence of the concert hall in a few steps. For three and a half hours (with over two hours of breaks in between), Asko|Schönberg, Slagwerk Den Haag and Capella Amsterdam will play and sing your ears off. Steven Schick (a.o. once Bang on a Can), not only conducts, but also takes charge of the middle part of the concert, at the Bimhuis, as a percussionist. Under his inspired direction, 'Nine Rivers' navigates between spectacle and purism: a battle between complex form and the simplicity of raw sound matter.

Deep in the belly of the Icelandic cello @hollandfestival

Holland Festival Holland Festival

It's a tricky genre, which drone, or ambient. Or, what do you call the avant-garde cello experiments of the Icelandic Hildur Guðnadóttir (1982). Very slow, very repetitive, very minimalist. Abstract sound art that leans heavily on loops, resonations and buzzing, über syrupy tones that swell into a large, layered sound collage.

With her heavenly voice, Shara Worden seems to transcend time and space #hf12

Shara Worden bounces lithely across the Bimhuis stage, dressed in a weird, multicoloured fairy outfit with plush balls. And she sings the stars from heaven, with insane timing and agility. Her heavenly voice seems to dance with amazing dynamics. From frighteningly subtle and rarefied, from warm and deeply resonant to shuddering high notes at hurricane force. She... 

#hf12 Shara Worden speaks about All Things Will Unwind. And sings a new song

Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Shara Worden - also known as My Brightest Diamond - is waiting for me, armed with her ukulele. Just before the interview, she wrote a new song. Worden laughs: "There are way too many videos on the internet of me playing the same songs over and over. I thought I should try something new." Photo: © Denny Renshaw 

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