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Misha Mengelberg

Reinbert de Leeuw showered with honours on his 80th birthday

Accompanied by Asko|Schönberg, Katja Herbers sings parts from Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, Reinbert's adaptation of classics by Schubert and Schumann. The poignant lyrics get a witty twist in the last song. In 'Röslein auf der Heiden', the 'victim' is not the fragile little flower from the original but Reinbert himself. "Und der wilde Knabe brach Reinbert auf der Heiden; Reinbert wehrte... 

Holland Festival blames itself with Orphanage of Music #HF17

The Orphanage of Dutch Music presents monthly 'forgotten Dutch masterpieces' at Amsterdam's Splendor stage. 'To discover the finer points', these are performed twice, interrupted by 'a short commentary or interview with special table guests'. On paper, a golden formula. Rightly so, the Holland Festival adopted three episodes. With the music, during the opening concert on Thursday, it was all in... 

Order, peace and disorder in the Orphanage #HF17

Roaring programmers announce new compositions: "World premiere!" jubilate the posters. Superb, but in contemporary music practice, that primal performance is often immediately the last. The score goes into an archive folder. The notes fall silent; the roar falls silent. The Orphanage takes care of those forgotten works. Context David Dramm snatches such pieces from oblivion and presents them with context at the Orphanage 

Why we're losing more and more music thanks to 'digital' #HF17

For new music, the primal performance is often also immediately the last time a piece is played. The scores await the archive or dusty drawer; recordings are nowhere to be found. David Dramm searches for these gems of stilted notes. He presents them at the Holland Festival Orphanage: three evenings of forgotten compositions from the rich... 

Collecting egg cartons! Why we need a jazz club like Persepolis.

Wondrous story: Utrecht had a famous jazz club between 1957 and 1967. It was founded - including egg cartons on the vault - by jazz-loving teenagers. Not only the fine fleur of Dutch jazz performed there, but also many an international big name. As part of Utrecht's Cultural Sundays, last Sunday (23 April), a wharf cellar on the... 

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... 

How I found love for opera in Sexyland. (And how you can too) #0FF17

A prelaunch of the Opera Forward Festival OFF [hints]From 18 to 31 March at De Nationale Opera (formerly the Muziektheater/Stopera)[/hints], among other venues, was organised last night at Amsterdam's new society Sexyland. I was impressed. Pretty surprising. Opera Nopera Disclaimer: the author of this one is not an opera director. The last two operas I saw were both by Philip Glass (the true... 

'Quite an uproar': a century of contempt for the arts

In 1975, jazz musician Misha Mengelberg and artist Wim T. Schippers organised Een behoorlijk kabaal (Quite a racket) at Amsterdam's Mickery Theatre. For a week, they explore the different meanings of a concert in 'inimitable musical theatre'. Jacqueline Oskamp chose it as the title of her recently published book describing Dutch music history of the past century. Sad conclusion: there is... 

Reconstruction: anti-American opera on Concertzender

In 1969, Reinbert de Leeuw et al's opera Reconstruction caused a huge uproar because of its anti-American tenor and glorification of Cuban freedom fighter Che Guevarra. Journalist Henk van der Meijden started a smear campaign in newspaper De Telegraaf, parliamentary questions were asked, but the production went ahead despite - thanks to ? - all the commotion and Theatre Carré was... 

The inner landscape #HF15: never the twain shall meet

The new operas by Arnoud Noordegraaf and Guo Wenjing, which the Holland Festival presented shortly after each other, both thematise the loss of traditional values due to the meteoric developments in modern China. Both also feature a Chinese soprano in the lead role and draw on classical Chinese opera and folk music. The inner landscape of Guo Wenjing, which will be performed Tuesday, 16 June,... 

Cows: splashy 'Opera Misha'

It was a moving moment when director Cherry Duyns drove a frail Misha Mengelberg onto the stage on Tuesday 9 June, after the premiere of his opera Koeien (Cows). Dressed in a bright orange windbreaker and wearing a cap with an oversized visor, the recently turned eighty improviser and rudderless disruptor looked around uncomfortably: is this applause for me? Yet he visibly enjoyed himself and... 

#Reinbertbio one year on: biographer looks back

There was once a celebrity (pianist, composer and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw), a biographer (Thea Derks) and a riot. De Leeuw was against the publication of his biography Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody and made no secret of it. In the TV programme Zomergasten (Summer guests), he even dismissed the dissertation-like standard work as an almost endearing puff piece. Meanwhile... 

Reinbert de Leeuw defies limits of orchestra in Saturday Matinee

Reinbert de Leeuw turned seventy-five last September, but already in May the VPRO honoured him with three full-length broadcasts on Radio 4. Together with Aad van Nieuwkerk, I made a selection from his best recordings of Kagel, Ustvolskaya and Louis Andriessen, among others, about which I also let him speak. This was followed in September by a real Reinbert festival and his own magazine. The magazine not only highlighted him... 

VPRO honours Reinbert de Leeuw

On 8 September next, pianist, composer and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw hopes to turn 75 and this will be celebrated with a range of events. These include a three-day festival dedicated to him in The Hague and Amsterdam at the end of September, and he will be the central composer in the NTR Saturday Matinee next season. In addition, a CD box set of his recordings will be released, and later this year I hope to publish my recently completed biography on Reinbert de Leeuw. Together with producer Aad van Nieuwkerk, I made ...

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