The seventh Cello Biennale is opening with a concert as a dazzling festival trailer: early and new music, from Versailles to New York, well-known and unknown, national and international, with world renowned players and upcoming stars, and a world premiere of music by Holland’s most virtuosic young composer.
The opening concert presents the two artists in residence of this Biennale: Jordi Savall and Giovanni Sollima. Jordi Savall, a tireless advocate for world peace and the meaning of music in that pursuit, will perform several Folìas with hesperion XXI. Giovanni Sollima makes a case for a composer he has rediscovered, Costanzi, and joins musicians from the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra with young players of the Accademia Nazionale di Sante Cecilia from Rome to play music by Frank Zappa.
Young Iranian-Austrian cellist Kian Soltani, a quickly rising star, plays Schumann, Bang on a Can All-Stars cellist Ashley Bathgate plays the groundbreaking work Industry by Michael Gordon, and Joey Roukens presents a new work for eight cellos and five women’s voices.
Every cellists wants to play it, the supreme concerto of all cello concertos: the Cello Concerto by Antonín Dvořák. Many claim that the cello sound is at its best in this piece of music. The celebrated Queen Elisabeth Competition was held for the cello in 2017 for the first time, and was won by 27-year-old Parisian cellist Victor Julien-Laferrière. His prize in Amsterdam is performing ‘Dvořák’ as soloist.
Cellist, musical flywheel and inspirator to young talent Giovanni Sollima also has some time left to compose. His music will be played throughout the festival. Together with the young Russian cellist Anastasia Kobekina, Giovanni Sollima will perform his own concerto for two cellos and orchestra.
During this concert the Anner Bijlsma Award will be given to Giovanni Sollima. The Anner Bijlsma Award is an international oeuvre prize which is awarded once every so often to a person or institution that has proven to be of outstanding value to the cello or the cello repertoire. The prize was created in 2014 when the Cello Biennale celebrated its fifth appearance, and was first awarded to whom the prize is named after: Anner Bijlsma.
Bang on a Can composer and Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe wrote a new cello concerto. Having made an immense impression at previous editions of the Biennale performing works by Rolf Martinsson and Tan Dun, Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi is the ideal interpreter for this work.
Kian Soltani is one of the main upcoming cello stars of today. This season, he is the artist in residence with the Residentie Orkest, and performs Elgar’s beloved cello concerto this evening.
A cello ensemble consisting of five Biennale celebrities will deliver a remarkable overture with early Italian music.
What could possibly be better for a cello student than getting a lesson from their idol?
During the Cello Biennale, 36 cello students from all over the world will visit Amsterdam to play in masterclasses for 12 grandmasters, who also give their own performances at various occasions during the Biennale. Every masterclass is two hours and fifteen minutes long, and features three cello students getting a lesson.
The piano accompanists are Noriko Yabe and Daniël Kramer.
The masterclasses will take place on six days, in the Bimhuis and the Kleine Zaal simultaneousy.
Important: Because of the high demand for attendance, it will no longer be possible to commute between masterclasses. A ticket provides access to one location only
Quatuor pour la fin du Temps by Messiaen has an extremely strong meaning in context of the power of music, the theme of this year’s Biennale. Messiaen wrote this massive quartet during the Second World War in a German prisoner camp in Poland, and performed it several times with three of his fellow prisoners. In LouangeI, the fifth movement, scored for cello and piano only, time freezes.
Even just by the evocative titles of the pieces on this programme, the composers show what music can mean to us during difficult times.
Artist in Residence Giovanni Sollima calls them ‘mirror compositions.’ For this programme, he has composed reflections on Bach’s 3d Brandenburg concerto and on a cello concerto by Giovanni Battista Costanzi.
Costanzi? Like Sollima, he was a virtuoso cellist and composer, but today he is known only as Luigi Boccherini’s teacher. Sollima found unpublished cello concertos by Costanzi in a library, and is now performing ‘world premieres’ of the solo concertos by this composer from three centuries ago, who until recently was hardly known.