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Asko|Schönberg in Gaudeamus Opening night and concert in honour of Reinbert de Leeuw in Muziekgebouw

Gaudeamus 2022 Opening Festival Energising programme with a.o. sheng grandmaster Wu Wei During the opening night of this annual festival, Gaudeamus shows the many faces of new music: surprising, moving and who knows, frustrating. Asko|Schönberg, a regular guest at this festival, is part of the festive opening night and presents a programme that spans generations and continents. Including the wacky... 

Unmissable livestreams in November Music

Meanwhile, November Music is keeping its nerve: the management is betting on live concerts with up to 30 people in the audience. In an email update to press and public, she did express her concerns: 'It will be some exciting days. After next Tuesday's press conference, we will know whether November Music 2020 can definitely go ahead.

Podcast in times of Corona (11) - Asko|Schönberg suffers double blow: 'You can't go to a hall, not to a stage. Online is no substitute for that.' 

'It may sound very double, but somewhere a moment of peace, a moment of contemplation, is something you always long for. That the trigger now is that pandemic is not nice, of course, but still." Fedor Teunissen is artistic director of Asko|Schönberg, the world-class ensemble founded by the world-renowned conductor, composer and pianist Reinbert De Leeuw. Die... 

Reinbert is dead, long live Reinbert!

'I get up with you and I go to bed with you,' I said jokingly. We stood in his kitchenette, where he made coffee for himself and tea for me. Reinbert's big startled eyes told me that my ironic remark had landed in the barren soil of his deadly seriousness. - It was not the first and not the last 

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... 

Music publicist Maarten Brandt: 'For one note from Mahler's Ninth, I would give the gift of Shostakovich's entire oeuvre'

Sounding Alchemy, is the name of the chunky volume recently published by music publicist Maarten Brandt (1953). It has 715 pages, including illustrations and an extensive index. In 98 articles, Brandt unfolds his views on music and music programming. He dedicated the beautifully designed book to his admired Marius Flothuis, programmer of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for many years. His heirs received a first copy during... 

Composer Jan van de Putte makes Fernando Pessoa stammer

Jan van de Putte (1959) dedicated four compositions to the poetry of Fernando Pessoa. The complete cycle appeared last autumn on the double CD Bamboleamos no mundo ('we waddle through the world'). The composer strikes at the heart of Pessoa's elusive texts with equally meaningful music. Van de Putte is one of the most original voices in the Dutch musical landscape and defies... 

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... 

Sedje Hémon conjured music from paintings

The name of Sedje Hémon (1923-2011) will not immediately ring a bell with everyone. She was one of the first artists to work in a multidisciplinary way, basing compositions on her own paintings. Her painting scores were recently shown at Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens, but her music has not been performed for almost four decades. The Hague-based ensemble Modelo62 puts Hémon... 

Ligeti festival - tribute to adventurous and idiosyncratic composer

Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) suffered under several dictatorships; the Nazis killed his father and brother during World War II, and after the War the communists forced him to write sweet 'folk music'. After the 1956 Hungarian uprising, he fled to Vienna and then to Cologne. In the West, he unpopularised into an idiosyncratic composer, who already... 

#Grammy for Barbara Hannigan & Ludwig Orchestra, Reinbert de Leeuw misses out

Expectations were high. Both Reinbert de Leeuw and Barbara Hannigan had been nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award. Hannigan was shortlisted for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, for her recordings of music by Berg, Gershwin & Berio. De Leeuw competed in the Best Classical Compendium category with his compilation of all conducted choral and ensemble pieces by György Kurtág. Hannigan... 

Ton de Leeuw by Groot Omroepkoor & RFO brass ensemble: music of 'being' versus music of 'becoming'

At the end of the nineteenth century, Western music gradually began to come apart at the seams. Composers used more and more dissonances so that the familiar tonality hardly fitted into its shell. From a constant desire for even more expression, the orchestra was expanded with ever-newer instruments. This led to monster productions such as Gustav Mahler's 'Symphony of the Tausend', with more than a thousand... 

Klaas de Vries finds neotonic heaven: 'I can't resist composing'

Dutch composer Klaas de Vries (Terneuzen 1944) pairs Stravinskyian clarity with southern sensuality. He harbours a love for poets such as Pablo Neruda and Fernando Pessoa, and his work excels in recognisable melodies and rhythms. 'However innovative, to be communicative, music must always contain a traditional element,' he said. On 28 and 30 November, Asko|Schönberg will play... 

Reinbert de Leeuw conducts Kurtág on historic CD box set

The three-part CD box set of choral and ensemble works by György Kurtág is, in a word, overwhelming. His soul-transcending sounds are sublimely interpreted by Reinbert de Leeuw et al. The recording, too, is impeccable. This box set is already historic, a monument to the Hungarian grandmaster, who turned 91 last February. Kurtág's existentialist music was played in our country as early as the mid-1970s,... 

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 

Andriessen's The Matter opens World Minimal Music Festival

Wednesday 5 April kicks off the fifth edition of the biennial World Minimal Music Festival. For five days, the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ will be filled with hypnotic rhythms, trance-inducing melodies and conjuring drones. Alongside well-known works by pioneers such as La Monte Young and Terry Riley are new compositions by Kate Moore and Bryce Dessner. There will also be performances by the Master... 

Why I love the Hildegard von Bingen & Galina Ustvolskaya combo

Almost a millennium separates nun Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) from Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006). The former created heavenly chants, the latter hammered on a coffin. Yet on Thursday 23 February, they are together at a concert by the Flemish ensembles Het Collectief and Psallentes at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Two reasons why I think that is a wonderful combo... 

Ode to soul piercing sounds of György Kurtág

On 19 February 2016, György Kurtág celebrated his 90th birthday. Though frail, the Hungarian grandmaster of soul-crushing notes is still working on his first and only opera, Fin du Partie (Endgame), based on Samuel Beckett's play of the same name. The prologue was already premiered at a grand birthday festival at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where he himself once studied. On Thursday 13 October, the... 

Harrison Birtwistle: from shocking to guttural musical theatre

In his youth, Harrison Birtwistle (1934) was one of the Angry Young Men of English music, now elevated to the peerage and going through life as 'Sir Harry'. He trained as a clarinetist and composer at the Royal College of Music in Manchester, where he was annoyed by the conservative climate. Together with John Ogden,... 

Louis Andriessen: 'I've never found a new sound'

For Theatre of the World, his fifth full-length opera, Louis Andriessen (1939) drew inspiration from the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680). He was the last Renaissance man, someone who could do everything and knew everything. Kircher wrote books full of the most diverse subjects, from the meaning of hieroglyphics to vulcanology and musical instruments. He even designed a cat piano, based on the idea that each cat screams at a different pitch when you tap its tail. After his death, Kircher fell into disrepute as a charlatan.

However, unusable for science, he forms gefundenes Fressen for a composer like Andriessen, who likes to explore the boundaries between reality and fiction. His opera Writing to Vermeer (1999) is based on fictional letters to the Delft painter; Rosa, a Horse Drama (1994) is about the murder of a composer, allegedly part of a conspiracy against music.

The Muse of South - What does a street name sound like?

Some time ago, I discussed with broadcaster MAX the idea of phoning random residents in music districts to ask what they thought of 'their' composer. Would they spontaneously burst into an ode to, say, Carolus Hacquart, Cornelis Schuyt or Henriëtte Bosmans? Unfortunately, this playful plan never materialised, but lo and behold: a number of musicians joined hands.... 

With George Pieterson, music life loses another coryphée

Last Sunday, 24 April, clarinetist George Pieterson died at his home in Amsterdam, aged 74. 'George was an iconic player with a big musical heart,' says his former student Frank van den Brink. 'He invariably went full steam ahead and whichever recording you listen to, his playing is always remarkable. You didn't necessarily have to put up with his... 

Peter Sellars: 'This opera is a paradise on earth.'

What does the future of opera look like? The National Opera tries to answer this in the Opera Forward Festival: new visions new voices, organised for the first time this year to mark its 50th anniversary. The ten-day festival kicks off 15 March with the world premiere of Only the Sound Remains by Kaija Saariaho. About... 

Holland Festival 2016: urgent, challenging and inviting

Never before has the Holland Festival placed itself at the centre of society as it is today. The 2016 programme is steeped in the turbulent times in which we live. The Netherlands holds the presidency of the European Union this spring. Artistic director Ruth Mackenzie has taken this fact unflinchingly to give 'Europe' a wide place in the programming. In presenting... 

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