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Why you shouldn't miss 'Im wunderschönen Monat Mai' at Paradiso

On Wednesday 16 January, Reinbert de Leeuw will present his cycle Im wunderschönen Monat Mai at Paradiso. A unique opportunity to see him at work once more in his globally believed masterpiece. In 2003, he surprised friend and foe alike with this composition inspired by songs by Schumann and Schubert. Was that not swearing in church? Arnold Schoenberg had the Romanticism... 

Fanny Mendelssohn: in the shadow of Felix

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) was the four-year older sister of Felix Mendelssohn. They both received a solid musical education, with her surpassing him in virtuosity at the piano. Her relationship with Felix was intense, but also suffocating. At his hands, Fanny Mendelssohn failed to build an independent career as a composer. To this day 

Keith Haring, Untitled (velum), 1986. Installation 2017. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

I call on the cultural sector of the Netherlands: put 80% of your marketing budget into cultural education.

In my work, I entice people to come into contact with art. And especially art with a big K. The art that is often marketed as 'difficult' or, in an attempt to get rid of its negative image, as 'vulnerable'. Liberal politicians would perhaps say art that 'doesn't act normal'. It is the kind of... 

José Maria Sánchez-Verdú composes musical Hell's Gate for choir and string quartet

The string quartet is considered Joseph Haydn's invention; Goethe considered it the nec plus ultra of instrumental music. 'One hears four intelligent people conversing with each other' said the poet. 'One believes to understand something of their conversation and to know the idiosyncrasies of the instruments.' We get plenty of that opportunity from 27 January to 3 February, during... 

Setan Jawa challenges you. That alone is reason to go watch #HF17

What do you get when you combine shadow play, Weimar cinema, gamelan and Javanese myths? A mix that demands a lot from the audience, but is a delight if you are willing to surrender to it. Indonesian director Garin Nugroho does not make easy films. Often they are visually stunning, like Opera Jawa, but the plot gets in the way a bit... 

Joris Smit in Tasso, photo Kurt van der Elst

Joris Smit on Tasso and Joan of Arc: no theatre that puts the audience to bed

The National Theatre plays Jeanne d'Arc by Friedrich Schiller and simultaneously retakes Johann Goethe's Tasso. Joris Smit plays in both plays, even the title role in Tasso. We talk to him about German romantics, Sallie Harmsen, the new-fangled National Theatre and the importance of going down on your face. Tasso and Jeanne, Goethe and Schiller. Is German romance... 

The five shows you must see in May

Toneelschuur, Don Carlos (stage) Nina Spijkers brings Friedrich Schiller's classic play back to its essence. No lavish scenery depicting the Spanish court, but canvases peeled off layer by layer. playlist M31 Foundation, Nederlandse Reisopera, Theater na de Dam, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (opera) Forty years after its world premiere at Theater Bellevue, Victor Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis will be re... 

Watch tip: We Are Jung, We Are Stark

It is not often that a film about an event in 1992 is so poignantly topical. That was when a group of some 300 right-wing radicals set fire to an asylum seekers' centre in Rostock. Miraculously, no one died then. But it did scar many for life. Among them was the director of Wir Sind Jung, Wir Sind Stark. Filmmaker and son of... 

7 bridges - 5 concerts

Next Tuesday, 29 September, the 7 Bridges Festival begins in the heart of Amsterdam. It is an initiative of pianist Edward Janning, driving force behind the Erard Ensemble playing on authentic instruments. In five concerts, he will take us past the Amstelkerk on the Amstelveld, Museum van Loon and Museum Geelvinck on Keizersgracht, the Stadsarchief on Vijzelstraat and the Goethe Instituut... 

Theo Verbey: 'A composer is first and foremost a songwriter'

Dutch composer Theo Verbey (Delft 1959) writes music of lush tonal beauty, in which the achievements of centuries of musical tradition resound. He made his name with works such as Triad (1991) for orchestra and Expulsion (1988) for large ensemble, and with orchestrations of pieces by composers such as Modest Mussorgsky and Alban Berg. For the closing concert of De Vrijdag van Vredenburg, he wrote Traurig wie... 

The Eastern Bloc Book. An indispensable travel book for a vanished empire

So it really does exist. A high road through the mountains of Romania. Completed in 1974. Viewed by my father in the same year, while his 'guide' told him not to walk too close to the edge, because he would not be the first to crash over the edge. After which his 'guide', the secret agent that every western journalist... 

Sallie Harmsen and Joris Smit in Tasso (photo Kurt van der Elst)

Drama about art: to do or not to do? Ivo van Hove and Sallie Harmsen think so.

The National Theatre will premiere Blueprint for an Even Better Life on 8 November 2014, which addresses, among other things, the position of artists in society. A theme that also featured in their recent Tasso, and in Toneelgroep Amsterdam's successful The Fountainhead. Is the subject of art back on the theatre agenda due to the changed cultural politics of the past... 

Willem Jeths: 'My First Symphony is about life and death'

At his 53e can Willem Jeths boasts an impressive career. His orchestral and chamber music works are performed worldwide and have been recorded on many CDs. In 2008, the newly built Muziekkwartier in Enschede opened with his opera Hotel de Pékin, and three years later the recording of his ode to gay marriage reached Monument to a Universal Marriage even US President Obama. At the request of the Saturday Matinee Jeths wrote his First Symphony for the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the mezzo-soprano Karin Strobos, which will premiere it at the Concertgebouw on 13 April.

Liszt's music is too important to ignore

Fransz Litszt, born in 1811, explored every nook and cranny of the piano in his work, trying to incorporate every conceivable technique. As this contemporary of Carl Czerny, Niccolo Paganini and Richard Wagner was born 200 years ago this year, so there is a Liszt year. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra bit the bullet of that on Friday 28 January,... 

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