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Jeroen Spitzenberger lets New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra shine

Jeroen Spitzenberger lets New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra shine So typically Rotterdam is this performance, just right, because of the space the lauded actor grants to a rather unknown 11-member male orchestra. For weeks, we happily watch Spitzenberger as Tim in the excellent TV series Oogappels, just as we intensely enjoyed The Year of Fortuyn at the same NPO in which he (also)... 

'A lot of people are waiting for the moment when they can sing together again. Make sure that by the time Corona is over, they still have that opportunity.'

Maybe I am not looking closely but I miss in the various media, as I did years ago during the demolition policy, the role of amateur music practice on which many a musician depends. At the moment, the focus is partly on venues and theatres asking their visitors to accept vouchers or donate their tickets. Fine... 

Requiem for an ideal music lover. 'Grandpa Hippo' is no more: Frans Curvers dies, aged 91

'Thea, have you heard that new piece yet? It's beautiful!' And there plopped another wetransfer in with a recording by Kate Moore, Pete Harden, Calliope Tsoupaki or any other composer. Frans Curvers was at the front of every (world) premiere. Whether it took place at Paradiso in Amsterdam, De Doelen in Rotterdam, TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht or a backstreet church somewhere.... 

49th edition Film Festival Rotterdam opens with Mosquito - history as a fever dream

In the trailer for the International Film Festival Rotterdam, which kicks off on 22 January, film images crumble into abstract shapes and colour patterns. It has to do, I understand, with the wonder of the irrepressible urge to make stories. Once, a cave dweller put a painted hand on the rock face. In the digital age, we conjure stories with coloured pixels. The... 

'I decided to make an unabashedly grand romantic gesture and blow people away' - Mathilde Wantenaar writes new piece for Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Being creative on demand? That's impossible, you would think. Yet it is the reality for composers and artists who work on commission. Mathilde Wantenaar (1993) therefore got acute choice stress when the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra asked her for a new piece. She was just working on a commission from De Nationale Opera. 'I felt like a rabbit in the... 

'Art tax cuts and a cultural fund will be created as an incentive for homeowners to invest in works of art.' (How we think the throne speech should have read)

Members of the States General, This year about 72 years ago we had the first Holland Festival. After years of enslavement and tyranny, hope for a better future literally came from above, in the form of Maria Callas. Eyewitnesses who saw the lights in the Stadsschouwburg turn red that day would never forget that image. 72 years later, it seems... 

At Leiden University, the end of patriarchy is shining. 

This weekend, there was some fuss on Twitter. Something about a Nazi comparison that didn't quite work out. Now there is quite often a fuss on Twitter because of a Nazi comparison that doesn't quite work out, but this time it concerned one of our cultural figureheads. Kees Vlaardingerbroek, artistic director of the NTR Saturday matinee and former head of programming at the Rotterdam... 

Between nappy and dishes - the (in)visibility of female composers

Amsterdam, 8 March 2018. Today is Women's Day, no one can fail to notice. The media are brimming with articles about women's unequal pay and their still limited representation in prestigious positions. Whether in politics, business, academia or the arts. Perhaps the most conservative is the classical music world. There, the female composer has yet to... 

Kill the West in Me - musical theatre about East-West clash

These days we are bombarded to death with opinions on the pros and cons of multiculti. Depending on their political preferences, people are either very enthusiastic or very negative about the increasing 'colourisation' of our society. The gamelan ensemble Gending, the Doelen Kwartet and Het Geluid Maastricht decided to take the bull by the horns. They based Kill the West in Me on feminist letters from... 

North Netherlands Orchestra plays Canto ostinato

To his own dismay, Simeon ten Holt became famous as the composer of a single piece: Canto ostinato for four pianos. This composition immediately struck a chord at its world premiere in 1979. It still sounds just about every day somewhere in the world, in all possible line-ups. From 12 to 14 October, the Noord Nederlands Orkest will present a... 

Diversity, schmiversity (my reservations about the CCD Award)

Brief summary. On Wednesday afternoon, I went to the presentation of the important award (actually two: audience award and jury award) called Code Cultural Diversity Award. I did not see a single fellow journalist(s). What I did see were lots of professional advocates speaking on behalf of people who were barely present themselves in the Galaxy. NB: the author is of Aruban-Chinese-Dutch descent and in no way wants to undermine the urgency of the issue of diversity... 

Director Olivier Assayas: 'Filmmaking can be learned in a few weeks' #iffr2017

The Jurriaanse zaal in de Doelen is the setting for a Masterclass by French filmmaker Olivier Assayas (1955), an old friend of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. His is the following typical quote: 'Filming the face of an actor is, in my opinion, the most powerful thing cinema is capable of. If the frame is right, if... 

Artists, get out into nature, before it's too late (and other reasons for hope)

There are those, including in the arts, who still think the world has not changed for good. Who suspect that a vote for a culture-friendly party will at a stroke turn back the clock eight years. Those people will wake up after 15 March to a new world, even if the Netherlands has suddenly chosen whether or not... 

Ønskelandet bursts open in Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017

Kids are in the front seat this year. Director Rebecca Matthews and programme director Juliana Engberg have said so themselves (see here and here). Children have a creativity and spontaneity that adults could learn from, and that deserves its own place in the year that Aarhus is European Capital of Culture. Or: in Aarhus 2017, as the 'locals' say. Children also deserve a... 

Administrative aversion to the idea of 'world music' is international

From 19 to 23 October, more than two thousand music professionals gathered in Santiago de Compostella for the 22nd World Music Expo (WOMEX). I was there and came back with mixed feelings. My first music fair experience was the WOMEX in Rotterdam. In 2001, the Maas city was the cultural capital of Europe and thus had extra resources at its disposal. The Berlin organiser of... 

AFK - Amsterdam Fund for the Arts

Wanted: Advisors one-off grants - Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK)

Vacancy: Advisors one-off grants - Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) From 1 March 2017 The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) invests in art that enriches life in the city. The AFK provides grants to artists and cultural organisations, drives innovation and stimulates the quality, dynamism and pluriformity of Amsterdam art. The AFK supports both experiment... 

Composer Julia Wolfe: 'John Henry symbolises the struggle of man versus machine'

Last year, Julia Wolfe (1958) won the Pulitzer Prize with her oratorio Anthracite Fields. In this poignant piece about the plight of miners, she draws on American folk music. She composed it for the co-founded Bang on a Can All-Stars, a New York ensemble that became known for its rousing mix of rock, mimal music and... 

Rotterdam's Gergiev Festival delivers a brand new masterpiece

'Rachmaninov's melodic gift is impressive and makes the composer very popular'. This is how Valery Gergiev pithily sums up the quality of Rachmaninov's music. The Gergiev Festival that centred around this composer this weekend emphatically sticks to the popular works: the piano concertos and symphonies . Yet it omits many compositions that could have given these works more framework.... 

Where did Rachmaninov's success come from?

Actually, Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) was a bit of an oddity, an anachronism. He bit into the composition style of his great example Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who died in 1893. When contrasting Rachmaninov with some of his contemporaries (Dmitri Shostakowich, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Strawinsky and overseas Charles Ives, George Antheil and Edgard Varèse), it is only right to notice... 

De Doelen concert hall opts for content and sells 23 per cent more

Concert & Congress hall De Doelen in Rotterdam will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. That is, 50 years ago, the current venue was festively opened. The building by architects Kraaijvanger and Fledderus was the first major public building of the reconstruction after German bombs destroyed the city on 10 May 1940. However, its name goes back much longer. The at... 

Five questions to Willem Jeths, Composer of the Fatherland

Willem Jeths (1959) is one of the most successful Dutch composers. Through his enormous craftsmanship and drive, he manages to create his own sound world, which is surprising yet accessible. His work is regularly performed at home and abroad and has appeared on many CDs. In 2014, he received the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts and later that year he was appointed 

Top performance of rarely heard Sonata by Bartók

Ralph van Raat is by far the most important solo pianist in the contemporary repertoire in our country, fellow pianist Maarten van Veen pursues an idiosyncratic course in ensemble playing in modern music. When the two musicians work together, they prove to complement each other perfectly. Under the aegis of the Doelen Ensemble, they played together with percussionists Colin Currie and Benjamin Ramirez, for whom the same... 

Celtic & Balfolk festival: folk back on the big stage at Rotterdam's Doelen

Barcelona, the old medieval Barriò at midnight, in the square where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella welcomed Columbus after his return from his travels to America. In the Netherlands at the time, it was Queen's Day 2010. Four generations of people were dancing to the cheerful notes of a clarinet, a whistle, a violin and a simple drum. Until the wee hours of the morning, a... 

Four reasons to go to Words & Beyond II: Nan Sul Hun

After the world premiere of Words & Beyond II: Nan Sul Hun by Seung-Won Oh yesterday at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, the audience stood up as one to applaud Slagwerk Den Haag and the soloists. It was therefore a magical performance, which will be repeated at De Doelen in Rotterdam and at Theater aan de... 

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