South Netherlands Philharmonic

The South Netherlands Philharmonic is an ambitious and flexible symphony orchestra, lauded for its high quality, close cooperation, and appealing enthusiasm. The orchestra is being led by CEO and artistic director Stefan Rosu. The passionate musicians deliver custom work on the highest, artistic level. In its fifth season, the orchestra is one full of confidence, as one of the cultural jewels of South-Netherlands society.



2018-2019, a festive and ambitious anniversary season

Looking back and, above all, looking forward
September 3rd 2013, the first meeting ever took place between all the musicians, members of staff, and intendant Stefan Rosu of the South Netherlands Philharmonic, the orchestra which was to be conceived, moulded, and shaped in that very first season. As the youngest of the professional symphony orchestras in the Netherlands, we look back on our first five successful years with due pride. Success for which we can thank our illustrious past as well, as the South Netherlands Philharmonic, by means of her predecessors the Limburg Symphony Orchestra and The Brabant Orchestra, has some 200 years of experience up her sleeve. A rich history and a wellspring of knowledge and expertise to keep growing. The orchestra, therefore, looks forward to what is to come with confidence. The coming season, 2018-2019, is a blueprint of such a future: a season that in all facets manifests the qualities and ambitions of the orchestra. The anniversary is underscored by two grandiose projects: the new family performance Cinderella and a spectacular rendition of Carmina Burana. Cinderella appears on stage in March and April 2019 and is produced especially to celebrate the five year anniversary in collaboration with Jeugdtheatergezelschap Het Laagland and author of children’s books, Jacques Vriens. The famous fairy tale is told for all ages, as Prokofiev’s music to Cinderella sounds with highest quality. Just the thing for the South Netherlands Philharmonic. Carmina Burana takes place the 25th and 26th of August 2018 in the sand quarry Beaujean near Heerlen: the performance opens the cultural festival Cultura Nova and is in collaboration with the Spanish theatrical group La Fura dels Baus. Expect a grand open-air concert with light shows and theatre to boot.

Oriental Mystique
In addition, the South Netherlands Philharmonic offers her trusted subscription series, the renewed i-Classics series, that guarantees a unique concert interpretation and that looks for new relationships with new audiences, the projects for and with the region, and the education projects - a splendid programme that anchors the orchestra even more firmly in the South Netherlands. This season’s theme is Oriental Mystique, a theme that cuts across all the series. Think of Eastern and Middle-Eastern composers like Qigang Chen and Hawar Tawfiq. Qigang Chen has been commissioned by the South Netherlands Philharmonic and three leading institutions from the United States, China, and France. His composition will receive its world première by the South Netherlands Philharmonic in the composer’s presence. Hawar Tawfiq has also received a new commission, after his highly anticipated and brilliantly received work Unificazione, composed to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, in February 2017. Other grand masterpieces also adorn the programme: Alexander Scriabin’s Prometheus, and Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen, both finding their inspiration in the Orient. Grandiose orchestral music conducted by chief-conductor Dmitry Liss. 

Relationship with chief-conductor Dmitry Liss
The orchestra’s quality has even further improved under the driven baton of chief-conductor Dmitry Liss. He is part of the artistic triumvirate of the orchestra and counsels intendant Stefan Rosu and artistic programmer Jos Roeden about the programming and he is someone who by his many international relations can bring the best soloists to the South Netherlands Philharmonic. Because of the good working relationships with the chief-conductor and the improvements he and the orchestra managed to achieve, the decision was made to continue this fine collaboration. Dmitry Liss’ contract has therefore been prolonged to August 2021.

Guest Conductors and soloists
In addition to Dmitry Liss, various trusted and new guest conductors are responsible for the concerts of the South Netherlands Philharmonic’s. One of those new faces is the young, Chinese conductor Lio Kuokman, who heretofore was assistant-conductor next to chief-conductor Yannick Nézet-Seguin at the Philadelphia Orchestra. For us he conducts a beautiful programme, with amongst others Rendering, Luciano Berio’s ‘completion‘ of Schubert’s unrealised Tenth Symphony. Another ‘new‘ name is Jos van Veldhoven. At the end of this current season 2017-2018, he made his début at the orchestra by conducting Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and this coming season, he will conduct the famous St Matthew Passion, his first after resigning from the Netherlands Bach Society. Furthermore, the orchestra can count on trusted names like Hans Graff, Hartmut Haenchen, Mario Venzage, Karel Deseure, Per Otto Johansson, Kees Bakels, Claus Peter Flor, Marc Soustrot, and Jamie Phillips. 

Also the arsenal of soloists joining the orchestra this season are of the highest imaginable quality. Think of returning musicians like Hannes Minnaar, Roger Muraro, Alexander Melnikov, Liza Ferschtman, Sergei Krylov, Simone Lamsma, Stephen Waarts, Alena Baeva, and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Soloists making their début at the orchestra include Fazil Say, Sefano Bollani, Boris Giltburg, Alban Gerhardt, Dominique Vleeshouwers, Bernarda Fink, Gregory Kunde, and the celebrated piano duo Katia and Marielle Labèque. In addition, Martin Fröst collaborates with the orchestra for the first time. Not only does he play Carl Maria von Weber’s often neglected Clarinet Concerto, but he conducts the South Netherlands Philharmonic in the meantime too.

Haydn Chair
Cellist and conductor Mario Brunello, who stood before the orchestra in the 2016-2017 season, also returns. In a very special capacity, that is. He was appointed the orchestra’s first Haydn Chair. This Haydn Chair is a special function to give more attention to the works of the First Viennese School. ‘Haydn is the father of the classic style‘, as intendant Stefan Rosu explains the initiative of the Haydn Chair. ‘An orchestra that wants to stay in good shape, to grow qualitatively, has to spend a lot of its attention to the classical works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and company, and to play them at the highest level. Which is why we created the Haydn Chair.‘ Regularly, a new musician is appointed who makes valuable and special additions to the interpretation and rendition of the classics, be it a conductor, a soloist, or a scientist or journalist. Mario Brunello will fulfil this role for a couple of seasons. This season, he will conduct two concerts and under his guidance, the orchestra will also better study and perform Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, ‘the Military Symphony‘ in the series All about the Masterpiece.

Special and innovative programmes

All about the Masterpiece is only one of the special programmes the South Netherlands Philharmonic has on offer to bring classical music closer to the contemporary audience. The set-up is quite simple, and above all educational, while it also provides you with an entertaining concert evening. The first part of a concert is a directed discussion of the symphony, with resounding examples, whereas the second part is the complete performance of the work. In the 2017-2018 season, the South Netherlands Philharmonic first experimented with the formula of All about the Masterpiece with her performance of Jean Sibelius‘ Symphony No. 2. This time, it’s Joseph Haydn’s Military Symphony’s turn, conducted by Mario Brunello.

Also the successful i-Classics‘ programmes may be counted among the special concerts. In addition to the symphonic concert praxis and education, innovation is the third pillar of the orchestra’s. The i-Classics‘ concerts are innovative in every possible way. The audience becomes part of the orchestra in Music & Icons and in Music & Food all your senses are tickled, by smell, by flavour too, to guarantee a complete experience.
Another special and grandiose project - and also part of the i-Classics‘ series - is the performance of Alexander Scriabin’s Prometheus, conducted by Dmitry Liss. Together with the light artists of Het Blauwe Uur and Toneelgroep Maastricht, the performance will realise Scriabin’s dream to catch light, sound, and theatre in one big whole.
Also the concerts with the illustrious piano duo Katia and Marielle Labèque and the concert in which Martin Fröst conducts and plays his role as clarinet soloist, the performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem with the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the current artist in residence at the Heerlen Theatre, and the rendition of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie can be included in the growing list of remarkable projects. 

French Composer's Day
Olivier Messiaen‘s grand symphony is also the finishing touch to the special French Composers‘ Day in Maastricht. For years the Theater aan het Vrijthof co-produces, with the South Netherlands Philharmonic, the Composer’s Day, to celebrate the works and the life of a single composer. This year, for the first time, a whole country is celebrated. From the early morning to the late evening, French classical music will resound, from baroque to contemporary classical music. Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie is the deserved exclamation mark at the end of the day.

Meisterkonzerte Aachen
After the successful tour to France, last season, the South Netherlands Philharmonic further invests in her international career in the 2018-2019 season. The orchestra will perform twice at the Eurogress in Aachen within the context of the series MeisterKonzerte Aachen. 

Regional Binding
Although it is the ambition of the South Netherlands Philharmonic’s to improve to become one of the most pre-eminent orchestras in the Netherlands and to play along on the international level too, the orchestra will never lose sight of the fact that it exists first and foremost for the people of the provinces of Noord-Brabant, Limburg, and Zeeland. That means a responsibility the orchestra is delighted to take up. Which is why every season there is ample space for activities that touch the regional music experience, like Musica Sacra, Limburgish Christmas, Opera at the Parade, the Liberation Concert Margraten and of course the New Year’s and Carnival’s concerts, as well as the annual performances of the St Matthew Passion. Every time, the goal of course is to maximise accessibility and to maintain the highest quality, as we do by asking Jos van Veldhoven to conduct this year’s performance of the Passion.  

In addition to these annually recurring events, the South Netherlands Philharmonic also contributes to regional activities of a more singular character in the 2018-2019 season, like the celebration of the 700 year anniversary of the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady at the St John’s Cathedral in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Together with Cappella Pratensis, the National Women’s Choir, and Schola Cantorum Puerorum, the South Netherlands Philharmonic reflects and admires the moving history of this ecumenical brotherhood, which counted for instance Hieronymus Bosch and William of Orange amongst its members.

Yet another aspect of the regional policy that stands at the core of the South Netherlands Philharmonic’s organisation, is the binding to amateur music and talent development, which manifests itself in the greatly praised HAFA-concerts, also part of this season’s programme. But think also of the Orchestra Academy of the Maastricht Conservatory, the National Master Conducting, the Choir Project, the Brabant Strings and Winds Day, as well as the collaboration with the Euregio Youth Orchestra and the Princess Christina Competition. 

One other important pillar by which the orchestra presents itself in the region, is education. For years, the orchestra has actively produced and participated in educational programmes for all students of primary and secondary schools in Brabant, Limburg, and Zeeland. In the 2018-2019 season, the orchestra hopes to connect to about 20.000 students with over 200 educational projects in the South Netherlands. Rhythmix is specially for the seventh and eighth grades, and Brother for the fifth and sixth. Furthermore, the South Netherlands Philharmonic adds two unique projects to the existing educational arsenal. These two productions set themselves apart from previous educational projects because the students themselves will very actively participate during the concerts. Radio Whale is a new ensemble performance that the South Netherlands Philharmonic develops for the third and fourth grades, in co-production with the theatre makers from Noord-Brabant Schippers&VanGucht. The inspiration for this production is an old Inuit fairy tale, whilst the world of today is only present in the silent reference to the plastic soup floating on top of the oceans. 

The South Netherlands Philharmonic will remain an orchestra from and for the region. Many other activities manifest this further, such as the projects for the world of business, like Leading the South, the innovative event that brings culture and business closer to each other and which will have its fourth edition already in November of 2018, this time at the Villa Flora, at Brightland Campus Greenport in Venlo. This year’s theme: The Flavour of the Future. But much like the orchestra wants to be there for the region, it hopes the region will be there for it. Which is why, in collaboration with the Elisabeth Strouven Foundation the new South Netherlands Philharmonic Foundation has been brought to life, a foundation that will make for an independent means of income for the orchestra, to which both public business as private aficionados can financially contribute. This way, the orchestra strives to continue its upward growth not just in the coming five years, but in all the years to come after that, to bring you the best symphonic quality and to further value and cherish the bond with the region. 

New Brochure
All subscription series‘ concerts and other activities can be found in our new season brochure, published April 14th. Click here to order this brochure (in Dutch only).

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