The next Cello Biennale will take place from 18-27 October 2018!
The Cello Biennale Amsterdam is a ten day long international music festival revolving around the cello. With over 100 events in every space of the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ and the Bimhuis, the Cello Biennale Amsterdam forms a meeting place and source of inspiration for cellists and music lovers from all over the world.
The core of the festival programme is formed by classical music, but many connections are made with music from other cultures, pop, jazz, and impro.
The National Cello Competition is an important and exciting part of the festival. The competition inspires and stimulates young top talent in playing for an international jury and audience. The educational programme Hello Cello is aimed at introducing children and teenagers to the cello, teaching them to play together, and promoting classical music on elementary schools. The Hello Cello Orchestra consists of 160 children and teenagers playing together.
Outside the festival period, the Cello Biennale organizes various activities all across the country, such as concerts by laureates of the competition, the Hello Cello Days in four Dutch cities, and the Cello & Film festival in EYE. In the year preceding the festival, the Sneak Preview takes place in the Muziekgebouw, where a taste of the following festival programme is given.
Programme & festival theme
The Power of Music, The Power of the Cello
Many believe that culture is the only hope left for the world. Through music we can express our deepest feelings and make connections that surpass geography, history, and religion. Music comforts, gives hope, and brings people together. Every musician knows this power deeply.
The Cello Biennale 2018 is hosting some very special musicians who use the power of music to make the world a better place. World renowned viola da gamba player and early music specialist Jordi Savall is the perfect ambassador for this ideal. The Italian cello phenomenon Giovanni Sollima – without doubt the most energetic cellist of all times – will shake up the festival like he does in Italy with his project 100CELLOS. Exciting new cello music from New York will appear by Bang on a Can, also known as the world famous composers’ trio Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who never see their music as separate from what’s happening in society.
An additional programming of presentations, panels, and workshops will shed light on other powers of music. Scientific research has shown that music has a significant effect on the development of the brain, it has a positive effect on Alzheimer and Parkinson’s patients, and works calmingly at medical operations. And why does virtually everyone love the cello? What is its secret, what is its power?
Who else is coming?
In addition to Giovanni Sollima, the audience’s all-time favorites such as Jean-Guihen Queyras, Mischa Maisky, Alban Gerhardt, Nicolas Altstaedt, and Colin Carr will return to the festival, but young stars such as Anastasia Kobekina, Harriet Krijgh, and Kian Soltani will also make appearances. Of course, many cellists who have not yet been heard at the Cello Biennale will come to Amsterdam. This includes world renowned cellists and upcoming stars.
The American/Israeli cellist Matt Haimovitz will appear at the Biennale for the first time, and one of the most beloved cello pedagogues in Europe, Reinhard Latzko, will take place in the jury of the National Cello Competition. Names such as Narek Hakhnazaryan (Armenia), Abel Selaocoe (South Africa), and Sheku Kanneh-Mason (UK) will represent the youngest generation of international top talent.
The new CELLOFEST in the Bimhuis will host many more new cellists from the worlds of jazz, pop, impro, fusion, world music, and cello underground.
The full festival programme will be announced on March 20, 2018.
Beethoven, Schumann and the Power of Music
Genius and madness are often closely related. To make something extraordinary or to perish. Beethoven and Schumann had to compose in order to not perish by their temper. Their Storm und Drang had to go somewhere. Beethoven couldn’t get rid of it among people. The music was his love, his everything, his savior. Schumann was driven by a constant unsatisfying desire. For him the following saying applied: ‘Das Glück ist da wo ich nicht bin.’ He wrote to Clara: ‘You know, sometimes I think I will eventually tear apart from music, everything in me thrusts and boils when I think of our love.’ As his psychological problems became more intense, Schumman started his cello concerto. He finished it in 14 days.
During the Cello Biennale 2018 all five cello sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven will be played and all works for cello by Robert Schumann.
Focus on Bang on a Can
Extra attention this Biennale for the cello music of Bang on a Can, one of the most extraordinary sensations in the new music world. Bang on a Can is the famous composers trio from New York, with Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe, three composers who never see their music as separate from what’s happening in society. Thirty years ago, still very unknown, they started a marathon for new music in a small stage in Downtown New York, now they are all three world famous. They composed for opera houses, orchestras, ensembles and soloists from all over the world, they made film scores and they won many prizes with their cd’s, including a Pulitzer Prize for David Lang as well as Julia Wolfe. David Lang gained fame among the grand audience by his music for the films La Grande Bellezza and Youth.
All three composed new music for the Cello Biënnale 2018.
Michael Gordon wrote a new piece for Cello Octet Amsterdam (night concert - Saturday 21 October) and a piece for cello solo, which will be played multiple times at the festival by Ashley Bathgate. Julia Wolfe wrote a new cello concert that will be played by Jakob Koranyi and the Residentie Orkest (Saturday 21 October) and David Lang wrote a piece for cellist Harriet Krijgh, singer Claron McFadden and Amsterdam Sinfonietta (Saturday 27 October)
The composers have their own band, the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The cello is a fixed element of their band. By now, the All-Stars are as famous as their founders. Their impressive discography (27 cd’s) include of course the music by Gordon, Lang and Wolfe, but also the music by Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Louis Andriessen. The Bang on a Can All-Stars are coming to the Biennale as well. (Take Five, Monday 22 October)
The Bang on a Can composition orders are made possible by the contributions of Eduard van Beinum Stichting and Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.
For all Bang on a Can concerts, click here
Apart from the new compositions by Bang on a Can, many other new works will be performed. There will be world premieres, European premieres, and Dutch premieres. Theo Loevendie is writing a work for solo cello, as the commissioned work for the National Cello Competition 2018. Joey Roukens is writing a new piece for eight cellos and five women’s voices. That work will be premiered by Cello8ctet Amsterdam and Wishful Singing.
Florian Magnus Maier has been asked to create a new score to a silent film, in the context of the Cello & Film festival in EYE.
Jazz violinist and composer Tim Kliphuis is composing a new work for the Hello Cello Orchestra. The Australian-Dutch composer Kate Moore is composing a new piece for four cellos. The Flemish composer Wim Henderickx is writing a new cello concerto for the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Jean-Guihen Queyras. Maxim Shalygin (Russia), Jacob ter Veldhuis, and Mathilde Wantenaar (Netherlands) will provide new chamber music, and the newly composed cello concerto by Australian composer Brett Dean will be premiered in the Netherlands.
Festival trailer Cello Biënnale 2018
powered by Sena Performers
Cello Biennale en Bimhuis present the very first CELLOFEST: 8 evenings, 16 shows, in the Bimhuis featuring the most interesting material from the worldwide cello-underground. Cello techs, loopstation artists, singer-songwriters, world music-, jazz- and pop musicians, improvisation artists, and video- and performance artists will appear at these events.
All over the world, the cello is being experimented with. Cello players create their own music, going beyond classical music and sometimes even the classical playing techniques. They experiment with loopstations and sound and video technique, and use their cello as a guitar, percussion instrument or as a projection screen. This brings about interesting, surprising, and sometimes beautiful results. For the first time, CELLOFEST is offering a stage to players from around the world who are playing the cello “off the track.” This first CELLOFEST will present the first set of players from the USA, Canada, South Africa, Iran, Germany, Austria, Sweden, France, England, Spain, and of course, the Netherlands.
For all CELLOFEST concerts, click here
The Cello Biënnale presents an international masterclass programme. On six days twelve different international soloists and pedagogues will give masterclasses to talented cellists from the Netherlands and other countries, in the Kleine Zaal and the Bimhuis simultaneously.
If you are interested in participating in the masterclasses, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org including your biography, a photo and a link to a video.
Sunday 21 Oct. - Colin Carr (Bimhuis) & Jakob Koranyi (Kleine Zaal)
Monday 22 Oct. - Jordi Savall (Bimhuis) & Giovanni Sollima (Kleine Zaal)
Wednesday 24 Oct. - Jean-Guihen Queyras (Bimhuis) & Kian Soltani (Kleine Zaal)
Thursday 25 Oct. - Nicolas Altstaedt (Bimhuis) & Michel Strauss (Kleine Zaal
Friday 26 Oct. - Roel Dieltiens (Bimhuis) & Chu Yi-Bing (Kleine Zaal
Saturday 27 Oct. - Matt Haimovitz (Bimhuis) & Reinhard Latzko (Kleine Zaal)
Students around the world
The twelve cellists who are giving the masterclasses, are bringing their cello class with them to the Biënnale. Cellostudents from conservatoria from all over the world, from The Hague to Beijing and from Rome to Montreal, will perform in a series of free accessible concerts in the Kleine Zaal and Bimhuis. Sometimes the students will play pieces for cello solo, or in ensembles, sometimes they will play with their teacher.
Friday 19 Oct. 19.00 - Koninklijk Conservatorium (The Hague): students of Jan-Ype Nota and Michel Strauss
Saturday 20 Oct. 19.00 - Cello Company plays Maxim Shagylin.
Sunday 21 Oct. 19.00 - Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China): students of Chu Yi-Bing
Monday 22 Oct. 12.45 - Accademia Naziobale di Santa Cecilia (Rome, Italy): students of Giovanni Sollima
in association with cellists of the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest and students of Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)
Monday 22 Otc. 19.00 - TBA
Tuesday 23 Oct. 19.00 - Hochschule der Künste (Zurich, Switzerland): students of Roel Dieltiens
Music by J.S. Bach for 2 to 9 cellists, including others arrangements of Brandenburgs Concert no.3.
Wednesday 24 Oct. 12.45 - Hochschule für Musik (Freiburg, Germany): students of Jean-Guihen Queyras
Wednesday 24 Oct. 19.00 - Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Vienna, Austria): students of Reinhard Latzko
Thursday 25 Oct. 12.45 - Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (Paris, France): students of Michel Strauss
Thursday 25 Oct. 19.00 - Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu (Barcelona, Spain): (ex-)students of Amparo Lacruz
Works for cello solo and cello ensemble by G. Cassadó, K. Saariaho, J. Guinjoan and others.
Friday 26 Oct. 12.45 - Haute École de Musique (Genèva, Switzerland): students of Ophélie Gaillard and David Pia
Saturday 27 Oct. 19.00 - TBA
Cello- and bowmakers
During every edition, their instruments fill the hall of the Muziekgebouw with the most beautiful sounds: as in the past, Foyerdeck 1 will be crowded with the crème de la crème of cello and bow makers during the upcoming festival. Visitors will not only be able to enjoy the splendid view of the entrance hall and the IJ river, but also to luxuriate in trying out newly crafted instruments and bows. The Cello Biennale Amsterdam wholeheartedly supports the making of new bows and instruments, which is why the exposition is limited to luthiers who exhibit and sell newly built instruments only. The festival presents several occasions during which the instruments and bows of displaying luthiers are played and compared, such as De Vergelijking (The Comparison), and Test on the Deck, but it is always possible to play the instruments outside of these events. Apart from the luthiers’ exposition, collaboration in constructing instruments will take place in the Entrance Hall gallery and on Foyerdeck 1 during the entire festival, and there will be space to shop for CDs and sheet music.
'De familie Decibel woont in een violoncel.' How did this family end up there, and what are they up to? Find out in the picture book created by Micha Wertheim and illustrator Cristina Garcia Martin, commissioned by the Cello Biennale: De familie Decibel.
The book is published by De Harmonie and can be purchased in higher end bookstores and of course at the festival's book market.
At the occasion of the anniversary of the fifth Cello Biennale, the poem collection Cello. Ten Poems, edited by Mirjam van Hengel, was published in 2014. Ten Dutch poets, including Remco Campert, Micha Hamel, and Anna Enquist, wrote poems inspired by the cello.
In 2016, a literary continuation followed and four writers were asked to write a short story, edited once more by Mirjam van Hengel. Uitgeverij Podium published the short story collection Four Variations for Cello, consisting of stories by Jan Brokken, Marente de Moor, Annelies Verbeke, and Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer.