Mahler Festival Blog – Posts in 2023

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025 Blog. Posts in 2023. Latest information from local well informed circles. Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Netherlands. From 09-05-2025 until 18-05-2025. The latest news on a daily basis. With a blog photo album. This Gustav Mahler festival blog is updated daily.

Posts in 2023

25-12-2023 Merry Christmas, Peace For Everyone!

Bert and Judith van der Waal van Dijk (the Netherlands)

17-12-2023 Concertgebouw (1891)

One of the oldest photos of the Main Hall of the Concertgebouw has been colored. The photo was taken in 1891.

Concertgebouw 1891
Concertgebouw 1891

15-12-2023 Start Bruckner cycle (2023-2024)

September 4, 2024 marks the 200th anniversary of Anton Bruckner’s birth. The Concertgebouw Orchestra is celebrating this with a unique cycle: Within a year and a half, symphonies 1 to 9 by Bruckner (1824-1896) will be performed under the baton of nine leading Bruckner conductors. The cycle starts on December 15, 2023 with a performance of Symphony No. 3 led by Iván Fischer.

The premiere of this symphony conducted by Anton Bruckner himself in 1877 was a fiasco. Even during the music, almost the entire audience left the hall, as did some musicians. Gustav Mahler (17 years old) and some fellow students were one of the few who liked the symphony. Mahler also made a piano transcription arrangement. As a thank you, he received the first three parts of the handwritten autograph. Until Alma Mahler’s death in 1964, the autograph remained in the possession of the widow Mahler (1879-1964). A third version of the work finally brought Bruckner success in 1890.

When Anton Bruckner died in Vienna in 1896, he was given a kind of state funeral. Bruckner had been a renowned man, a teacher at the conservatory, a university professor and, above all, an organ virtuoso.

Bruckner cycle
Bruckner cycle
Bach and Bruckner 3 (15-12-2023)
Bach before the break and the start of the Bruckner cycle with Symphony No. 3 (15-12-2023)

14-12-2023 New photo of Gustav Mahler discovered (1908)

New photo of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) discovered. The photo was taken in September 1908 in Prague, prior to the premiere of Symphony No. 7 (19-09-1908). The photo was probably taken by translator Janko Cadra (a friend of critic William Ritter).

1908 Gustav Mahler in Prague
1908 Gustav Mahler in Prague

09-12-2023 Leonard Bernstein conducting Mahler in Amsterdam (1985 and 1987)

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) conducting Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) in Amsterdam. Concertgebouworchestra (RCO) in The Concertgebouw.

Leonard Bernstein and the Concertgebouworchestra with Jaap van Zweden, rehearsal 30-05-1985
Leonard Bernstein and the Concertgebouworchestra with Jaap van Zweden, rehearsal 30-05-1985
  • 01-06-1985 Symphony No. 9. Holland Festival.
  • 02-06-1985 Symphony No. 9. Holland Festival.
  • 24-06-1987 Symphony No. 4. Helmut Wittek (born 1973, boy soprano), violin-solo Jaap van Zweden (1960, concertmaster RCO), Holland Festival Live video recording, DG Live audio recording, Benefietconcert Aids-research.
  • 25-06-1987 Symphony No. 4. Helmut Wittek (born 1973, boy soprano), violin-solo Jaap van Zweden (1960, concertmaster RCO), Holland Festival, DG Live audio recording.
  • 08-10-1987 Symphony No. 1.
  • 09-10-1987 Symphony No. 1.
  • 14-10-1987 Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Lucia Popp (1939-1993, soprano), Andreas Schmidt (1960, baritone).
  • 15-10-1987 Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Lucia Popp (1939-1993, soprano), Andreas Schmidt (1960, baritone).
  • 18-10-1987 Symphony No. 1.
  • 19-10-1987 Symphony No. 1. DG Live audio recording.
Video afspelen over Leonard Bernstein en Jaap van Zweden in 1985

Video: Live recording of Symphony No. 4 by Leonard Bernstein and the Concertgebouworchestra at 24-06-1987 in Amsterdam. Movement III – Ruhevoll (poco adagio). Holland Festival.

05-12-2023 Mahler Poll

Cast your vote for your favorite composition by Gustav Mahler and see the overall results:

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Program book 1903.
Mahler Poll (link)

01-12-2023 Around the corner (2024)

A freely accessible sculpture garden will open in 2024 under the ‘bathtub’ of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in honor of Amsterdam’s 750th anniversary (2025). The garden consists of approximately ten works of different sizes – varying from time to time – and is a new entrance to the museum and meeting point at the Museum Square.

Matisse
Matisse in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

25-11-2023 Bernard Haitink in Amsterdam (1965)

Bernard Haitink in Amsterdam
Video link: Bernard Haitink and the RCO in Amsterdam. Rehearsal Mahler Symphony No. 2 (1965)

20-11-2023 Klaus Mäkelä in Amsterdam (2022)

Klaus Mäkelä
Video link: Klaus Mäkelä and the RCO in Amsterdam. Dvorák Symphony No. 9 (2022)

17-11-2023 The extraordinary life story of top conductor Jaap van Zweden (That's Jaap / Dat is Jaap)

Biography of one of the greatest conductors of our time; Jaap van Zweden. From his youth to the psychology of conducting at the top level.

Top violinist and star conductor Jaap van Zweden (Amsterdam, 1960) played football with his friends on the street in his youth and played the violin in the living room for hours every day at home. When he won the Oskar Back National Violin Competition in 1977 at the age of sixteen, a dream came true: the prize money allowed him to study at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.

Three years later, he was appointed concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra as the youngest ever. At the height of his career as a violinist, he decided to start conducting himself in 1987, encouraged by Leonard Bernstein. It takes him via Enschede, The Hague, Hilversum, Dallas and Hong Kong to the chief conductorship of the New York Philharmonic, once led by the same Bernstein. In January 2024 he will become chief conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

Peter van Ingen had many conversations with Jaap van Zweden and with family members, friends, fellow musicians and other insiders in the world of classical music. He writes about Van Zweden’s father, who wanted to get the most out of his talented son, about the bond between Jaap and his wife Aaltje, their children, one of whom has a form of autism, and about his relationship with Dutch and international orchestras.

He also introduces the reader to the technique and psychology of conducting.

Dat is Jaap
Dat is Jaap (Dutch)

15-11-2023 Quotes about the Amsterdam Festival

Marina Mahler, granddaughter of the composer:

‘It’s very special to see the Concertgebouw paying tribute to Mahler’s universe in Amsterdam, a city Mahler truly loved and that honoured him in his lifetime and continues to do so today.’

Managing Director of The Concertgebouw Simon Reinink:

‘It gives us great pride as the Concertgebouw to be able to present this Mahler Festival in May 2025. For the first time in history orchestras from three different continents will participate: besides European orchestra’s also an American and an Asian orchestra. Thereby we demonstrate that Gustav Mahler is one of most loved composers worldwide.’

14-11-2023 Extra performance Symphony No. 8.

  • Extra matinee Symphony No. 8 in Es “Symphonie der Tausend” for passe-partouts holders.
  • Day 10 Sunday 18-05-2025 at 13:30.
  • See details in program at Day 8 Friday 16-05-2025.

14-11-2023 Festival tickets 5 - Passe-partouts sold out

  • Passe-partouts sold out.
  • Waiting list for passe-partouts.

14-11-2023 Festival tickets 4

  • 14-11-2023 Start sales passe-partouts for the Main Hall and Recital Hall at 10:00 am.
  • 26-03-2024 tickets can be ordered as part of the selection series.
  • 01-06-2024 tickets can be ordered separately.

12-11-2023 Symphony No. 6 in LEGO

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 6 in LEGO
Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 6 in LEGO

11-11-2023 Vote for composition

Vote for your favorite composition by Gustav Mahler and view the total scores:

10-11-2023 Passe-Partouts received

The Concertgebouw reservations office was again super fast and efficient because the tickets reserved on Tuesday were already on the doorstep on Friday.

Passe-partouts received

10-11-2023 Mahler Foundation Website

Meeting with Francisco Bricio and Bert and Judith van der Waal van Dijk at Schiphol airport to discuss the Amsterdam 2025 Festival in and the further development of the Mahler Foundation website. 

Francisco Bricio and Bert and Judith van der Waal van Dijk (10-11-2023)
Francisco Bricio and Bert and Judith van der Waal van Dijk
Mahler Foundation logo
Mahler Foundation Website

07-11-2023 Festival tickets 3

Anyone who was in possession of a passe-partout for the canceled editions in 2020 and 2021 will have the opportunity to purchase a passe-partout for the festival in 2025 as a priority. This also applies to members of the Concertgebouw Fund and the Concert Friends. Passe-partouts for the Recital Hall also go on sale.

Start of (digital) sales: 07-11-2023 at 10:00 am.

Everything ready to book immediately at 10:00 am (07-11-2023)
Everything is ready to book immediately 07-11-2023 at 10:00 am.

Among the lucky ones are Bert and Judith van der Waal van Dijk (the Netherlands), Julian and Jules Lowrie (United Kingdom) and Raymon Chan (Canada). During the afternoon all seats in rank 1+ and a large part of the rank 1 passe-partouts are already sold.

04-11-2023 Festival tickets 2

Tickets are reserved for guests and sponsors. Mainly rank 1+.

03-11-2023 Official program

The official program of the Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025 appears in printed form.

Printed program
Printed program Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025

03-11-2023 Concertgebouw Orchestra 135th anniversary!

The Concertgebouw Orchestra is celebrating its 135th anniversary today! There is a discount promotion for five special concerts.

Playlist Spotify “135 Years Celebration“.

01-11-2023 Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920 poster
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920 Alma Mahler
Alma Mahler
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 1920 Alma Mahler and Arnold Schönberg
Arnold Schönberg

30-11-2023 Amsterdam 750 Festival (2024-2025)

Amsterdam is set to celebrate its 750th anniversary in 2025. Starting on October 27, 2024, something will happen every day for 365 days in a row. Celebrating the anniversary altogether. On this site you can read all about the plans and how you can participate.

Concertgebouw 1888
Amsterdam 750 Festival (2024-2025) - Concertgebouw 1888

29-11-2023 Two Mahler Friends

Julian Lowrie and Bert van der Waal van Dijk (Mahler Foundation) in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw before a performance of Symphony No. 3.

Mahler friends Julian and Bert
Julian and Bert

28-10-2023 Mahler Foundation co-host

Mahler Foundation is co-host of the 2025 Festival in Amsterdam.

Mahler Foundation logo
Mahler Foundation website
Mahler Foundation Mahler Hour
Mahler Foundation - The Mahler Hour

25-10-2023 World premiere Anders Hillborg

The new work that will be performed on Friday 09-05-2025 is a composition by Swedish composer Anders Hillborg (1954). The work was commissioned by the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchester de Paris and the Mahler Foundation. The name of the work is not yet known. World premiere.

Anders Hillborg
Anders Hillborg

24-10-2023 Conductors Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025

23-10-2023 Willem Mengelberg conducting Mahler in 1926 and 1939

From the archive:

19-10-2023 Concertgebouw 125 years in 2013

From the archive:

Two documentaries “Het Concertgebouw 125 years” (Dutch):

  • 1888-1899 (4:07): Location, design, opening (1888), Viotta, Kes, Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mengelberg.
  • 1900-1909 (3:57): Garden concerts, building an audience, Mengelberg, Haitink, Mahler (1903), Mahler tradition in Amsterdam, Walter, Bernstein, van Zweden and Gatti.

18-10-2023 Mahler & Kokoschka

‘Mahler & Kokoschka’ by the Ulrike Quade Company. Lunchtime performance in Theater Bellevue. A play about the desperate love of artist Oskar Kokoschka for Alma Mahler.

18-10-2023 Mengelberg Exhibition

Exhibition about Willem Mengelberg, the initiator of the first Mahler Festival in 1920 in the Rijksmuseum.

17-10-2023 Mahler Symposium

During the first weekend of the Mahler Festival, a two-day symposium will be held, organised by the International Gustav Mahler Society and the Gustav Mahler Stichting Nederland, which will study in greater depth the relationship between Mahler and the texts he set to music.

17-10-2023 Mahler Pavilion

During the Mahler Festival, Museumplein will be the site of a vast Mahler Pavilion. All day long, events will be held in this Pavilion, from Free Lunch Concerts to live broadcasts of the Main Hall concerts each evening. At the end of each afternoon, at 5.15 p.m., there will be a lecture about the concert that will be given in the Main Hall that evening (which can be followed in the Mahler Pavilion by live stream).

16-10-2023 Mahler Festival Program 6 - Official announcement

Official announcement of the Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025 Program:

Main Hall

Recital Hall (7)

  • Day 1 (Friday, 09-05-2025):
        • Drei Lieder
        • Lieder und Gesänge (vol. 1)
        • Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
        • Rückert-Lieder
            • Mezzo-soprano: Catriona Morison
            • Baritone: James Newby
            • Piano: Julius Drake
  • Day 2 (Saturday, 10-05-2025):
        • Des Knaben Wunderhorn
            • Alto: Ema Nikolovska
            • Bass-baritone: Jusung Gabriel Park
            • Piano: Julius Drake
  • Day 3 (Sunday, 11-05-2025):
        • Piano Quartet in a minor
        • Webern – Langsamer Satz
        • Dvořák – Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, op. 81
            • Chianti Ensemble
      •  
  • Day 6 (Wednesday, 14-05-2025):
        • Das Lied von der Erde
            • Mezzo-soprano: Feride Büyükdenktas
            • Tenor: Stuart Jackson
            • Piano: Julius Drake
  • Day 7 (Thursday, 15-05-2025):
        • Songs from ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’
        • Lieder und Gesänge (vol. 2 en 3)
        • Kindertotenlieder
            • Mezzo-soprano: Fleur Barron
            • Tenor: Laurence Kilsby
            • Piano: Julius Drake
  • Day 9 (Saturday, 17-05-2025):
        • A. (Alma) Mahler – Die stille Stadt
        • Zemlinsky – Sie kam zum Schloss gegangen (from ‘Sechs Gesänge’, op. 13)
        • A. Mahler – In Meines Vaters Garten (from ‘Seven songs’)
        • Berg – Schlafen, schlafen (from ‘Vier Lieder’, op. 2)
        • A. Mahler – Laue Sommernacht
        • Schönberg – Erwartung (from ‘Vier Lieder’, op. 2)
        • A. Mahler – Bei dir ist es traut (from ‘Seven songs’)
        • Webern – Dies ist ein Lied für dich allein (from ‘Fünf Lieder aus Der siebente Ring’)
        • A. Mahler – Ich wandle unter Blumen
        • Pfitzner – Zum Abschied meiner Tochter (from ‘Drei Lieder’, op. 10)
        • A. Mahler – Hymne (from ‘Fünf Lieder’)
        • Korngold – Gefasster Abschied (from ‘Vier Lieder des Abschieds’, op. 14)
        • A. Mahler – Der Erkennende (from ‘Fünf Lieder’)
        • Krenek – Während der Trennung
        • A. Mahler – Licht in der Nacht (from ‘Vier Lieder’)
        • Stravinsky – Un grand sommeil noir (from ‘Deux poèmes de Paul Verlaine’, op. 9)
        • A. Mahler – Ekstase (from ‘Fünf Lieder’)
            • Soprano: Axelle Fanyo
            • Baritone: Raoul Steffani
            • Piano Julius Drake
  • Day 10 (Sunday, 18-05-2025):
        • Janáček – 1.X.1905 ‘Sonata’
        • Ruhevoll, poco adagio (from ‘Symphony No. 4 in G’ (orch. T.A. Beijer))
        • Zemlinsky – Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel, op.
        • Brahms – Vier Klavierstücke, op. 119
            • Piano: Thomas Beijer

15-10-2023 Originalklang-Project Symphony No. 5 (12-09-2024)

Main Hall

  • Thursday, 12-09-2024:
      • Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 3 in d minor, op. 30
      • Symphony No. 5
          • Mahler Academy Orchestra. The orchestra plays on instruments modelled on those Mahler bought when he was conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic.
          • Conductor: Philipp von Steinaecker
          • Piano: Leif Ove Andsnes

15-10-2023 Live at the Museum Square

The organization is still working on a possibility to follow the concerts live on a large screen on Museumplein. Agreement not yet confirmed.

14-10-2023 Mahler Festival Program 5

  • One of the singers will be James Newby.
  • On the first evening (Symphony No. 1) a new composition, composed on commission, will also be played. 
  • Official announcement of the program is expected next week.

13-10-2023 Mahler Festival Program 4 - Confirmed Orchestras

24-09-2023 Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 3 (RCO/Mäkelä) in Buckarest

Romania, Buckarest, George Enescu Festival, Palace Hall.

15-09-2023 Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 3 (RCO/Mäkelä) in Amsterdam

Review: Klaus Mäkelä came close to all-encompassing transcendence with his delicate and soulful interpretation of Mahler’s ‘Third Symphony’. 5 star review in De Volkskrant for Klaus Mäkelä and the Concertgebouw Orchestra (KCO/RCO) in Amsterdam. Performances September 14, 15 and 17, 2024. September 17 is recorded by npoklassiek.nl

Translation review (Dutch to English):

Klaus Mäkelä came close to all-encompassing transcendence with his delicate and soulful interpretation of Mahler’s ‘Third Symphony’

At many classical concerts the applause starts immediately after the final chord. However, on Thursday evening there was a long silence after the end of Gustav Mahler’s Third Symphony by the Concertgebouw Orchestra. People held their breath, with or without a lump in the throat, after a perfectly measured performance led by future chief conductor Klaus Mäkelä.

In his longest symphony, Mahler envisioned nothing less than a transcendental journey through the different stages of consciousness, from the formless matter from which life arose to the embrace of God’s eternal love. Along the way, he celebrates the plant and animal kingdoms and probes the pain and joy of human existence. In the fifth, penultimate part, female voices and an innocent children’s choir lift the searching soul to ultimate redemption.

Mäkelä came very close to this all-encompassing transcendence with his equally delicate and deeply felt interpretation. Throughout all six movements he showed an iron control, using emphasis and contrasts sparingly so that all his choices really meant something. The radiant call of the horns at the beginning promised an RCO in top form, with the brass section playing the leading role – a promise that was fulfilled without fail.

In the first part, with Jörgen van Rijen’s magnificent trombone solos, Mäkelä gently kissed the forest god Pan awake and added increasingly bright brushstrokes to his euphoric march. The dark, descending figures disrupting the parade could have been more frightening, but later it turned out that this was probably a well-considered decision.

The reed and woodwind instruments intertwined their dancing themes in the second part so lightly that it seemed as if the entire orchestra was floating a meter above the stage. In the Scherzo , trumpeter Omar Tomasoni sublimely silenced the beautiful animal cacophony, playing a real post horn.

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston sounded equally comforting, and richly filling the room, in O Mensch! Gib eight! . Mäkelä found a delicate balance here between her voice and the mysterious nocturnal sounds in the orchestra. After the outburst of naivete, joyfully sung by the Laurens Symphonic and the National Children’s Choir, he spun out a heart-touchingly beautiful final movement. And now he looked into the yawning abyss when the fear chords from the first part returned briefly.

Throughout the evening, Mäkelä managed to dose the tension, speed and color saturation in a meaningful way. He fully deserved the outpouring of the loudly triumphant finale, for himself and the audience, in this fantastic first performance by the RCO in his home port.

21-07-2023 Historic entrance Concertgebouw reopened

We are reopening the historic Museumplein entrance on Van Baerlestraat! With three large patio doors at the front, the Concertgebouw will once again connect to the Museumplein. The official reopening is on September 2, 2023, a special moment. General director Simon Reinink says: ‘The Concertgebouw is accessible again from Museumplein, the most important cultural square in our country!’

Concertgebouw Museumplein entrance
Concertgebouw Museumplein entrance

30-06-2023 Mahler Survey (vote now)

Gustav Mahler’s most beloved compositions (survey). Free, no registration needed, no cookies.

27-06-2023 Renovation Concertgebouw

The original main entrance on Museumplein will be used again in the new season. The three new doors can already be seen from the outside.

Original main entrance Concertgebouw reopened
Original main entrance Concertgebouw reopened

22-06-2023 Mahler Foundation

One of the organizing partners of the 2025 festival is the international Mahler Foundation.

24-05-2023 Publication of 'Violinist'by Marc Daniel van Biemen

Publication of the book “Violinist” by Marc Daniel van Biemen (1986). About playing and living in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO). A book about his personal experiences with conductors, soloists and colleagues. Marc Daniel van Biemen is First Violinist in the Concertgebouw Orchestra and member of the Alma Quartet. Publisher Thomas Rap, Amsterdam.

Violist by Marc Daniel van Biemen
Violist by Marc Daniel van Biemen

20-05-2023 Festival Program 3

What we know right now:

Day 1 (Friday, 09-05-2025): Symphony No. 1, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (RCO), Klaus Mäkelä.

Day 2 (Saturday, 10-05-2025)

Day 3 (Sunday, 11-05-2025)

Day 4 (Monday, 12-05-2025): Symphony No. 4, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Fabio Luisi (this day?)

Day 5 (Tuesday, 13-05-2025)

Day 6 (Wednesday, 14-05-2025) 

Day 7 (Thursday, 15-05-2025)

Day 8 (Friday, 16-05-2025): 

Day 9 (Saturday, 17-05-2025)

Day 10 (Sunday, 18-05-2025): Symphony No. 10, Berliner Philharmoniker.

19-05-2023 Festival tickets 1

Passe-partout sales for the Mahler Festival 2025 will begin Tuesday, November 14, 2023 (14-11-2023).

Tickets for individual concerts will go on sale from June 1, 2024 (01-06-2024).

19-05-2023 Festival Program 2

The exact program of the Mahler Festival 2025 will be announced in early November 2023.

Composer and conductor Gustav Mahler had strong ties to The Concertgebouw and Amsterdam. To conductor Willem Mengelberg, he wrote that he had found “his second musical homeland” here. He conducted his own symphonies with the Concertgebouw Orchestra several times and was honored by the attention and enthusiasm the Amsterdam audience showed for him. Mengelberg organized the Mahler Festival on his 25th anniversary of conducting in 1920 as a tribute to the composer.

18-05-2023 Festival Program 1

From May 9 through May 18, 2025, The Royal Concertgebouw will host the third Mahler Festival in its history. 105 years after the first Mahler Festival, orchestras from around the world will gather in Amsterdam for a grand tribute to the composer.

During the ten-day festival, all of the composer’s symphonies and songs will be heard. The Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by its future chief conductor Klaus Mäkelä, will give the opening concert with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1. The Berliner Philharmoniker conclude the festival with Mahler’s unfinished Symphony No. 10. Pianist Julius Drake, together with young singers, will perform Mahler’s complete song repertoire in the Recital Hall.

17-05-2023 Festival Confirmation

Confirmation that a Mahler Festival will be held in Amsterdam in 2025.

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025

15-05-2023 Book Presentation - The Jewish Alienation (Chaim den Heijer)

Book presentation “Gustav Mahler – The Jewish Alienation” by Chaim den Heijer (1947). The Jewish dimension deepens empathy for Mahler and his music and makes his Jewish soul accessible. In this way, a more complete picture of Mahler as a person emerges. Publisher Amphora books. After the book presentation there are informal talks about an upcoming Mahler Festival in 2025 in Amsterdam.

Gustav Mahler De Joodse vervreemding by Chaim den Heijer
Gustav Mahler - De Joodse vervreemding by Chaim den Heijer
Chaim den Heijer signing his Gustav Mahler book for Bert van der Waal van Dijk
Chaim den Heijer signing his Gustav Mahler book for Bert van der Waal van Dijk

14-03-2023 Mahler Ringtone

New Mahler ringtone (listen and download): Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen – “Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht” (8s).

10-03-2023 Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Concertgebouw 2023.
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Concertgebouw 2023.

04-03-2023 Informal Confirmation

Informal confirmation that a Mahler Festival Amsterdam will be held in Amsterdam in May 2025. Source is not disclosed. Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025.

19-08-2022 First rehearsal 2022-2023 season.

First rehearsal of Klaus Mäkelä and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) for the 2022-2023 season:

2020 Mahler Festival Amsterdam

Canceled due to the covid pandemic.

2016 Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 2 (RCO/Gatti)

Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 2, Movement V (Im Tempo des Scherzos: Wild herausfahrend – Langsam – Allegro energico – Langsam). Brass Chorale. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) Amsterdam in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Daniele Gatti, 2016. RCO Brass: Trombones: Bart Claessens, Nico Schippers, Martin Schippers, Raymond Munnecom. Tuba: Perry Hoogendijk. Trumpets: Omar Tomasoni, Jacco Groenendijk, Bert Langenkamp:

1995 Mahler Festival Amsterdam

1920 Mahler Festival Amsterdam

1910 Gustav Mahler in Leiden

1909 Gustav Mahler in Amsterdam

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Cornelis Dopper (1870-1939), Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Hendrik Freijer (1876-1955), Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) and Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921) in Amsterdam 1909.
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Cornelis Dopper (1870-1939), Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), Hendrik Freijer (1876-1955), Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) and Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921) in Amsterdam 1909.

1907 Gustav Mahler in Vienna

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Gustav Mahler 1907.
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Gustav Mahler 1907.

1906 Gustav Mahler in Amsterdam

1904 Gustav Mahler in Amsterdam

1903 Gustav Mahler in Amsterdam

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Program book 1903.
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Program book 1903.

1886 Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Concertgebouw 1886.
Mahler Festival Amsterdam 2025. Concertgebouw 1886.

Dutch commitment to Mahler

The Dutch commitment to Mahler began just over 100 years ago on the evening of June 9, 1902, when Mahler conducted the first performance of his Symphony No. 3 in the concert hall of Krefeld, a west German city near the Dutch border.

Among the audience caught up in the rapturous reception of the piece (the first big and unequivocal public success of Mahler’s composing career) were three Dutch musicians: Martin Heuckeroth, chief conductor in the Dutch city of Arnhem; Henri Viotta, director of The Hague Conservatory and founder of the city’s Residency Orchestra; and, most significantly, the 31-year-old Willem Mengelberg.

Willem Mengelberg

Mengelberg had been plucked from youthful obscurity in 1895 at the age of 24 to become chief conductor of Amsterdam’s still fairly young Concertgebouw Orchestra. He remained its director until 1945, spanning an amazing half-century. By 1899 his international reputation was already such that Richard Strauss dedicated his symphonic poem A Hero’s Life to him.

The Dutch response to the Krefeld performance was decisive. Heuckeroth programmed the first performance of Mahler’s Third outside Germany and Austria at his Arnhem Festival in 1903. Soon after, Mengelberg persuaded Mahler to travel to Amsterdam to conduct the Concertgebouw Orchestra and its associated choral forces in the same work.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Used to having to work hard to bring other orchestras up to somewhere near the standards he expected in Vienna, Mahler raised his baton at the first rehearsal and was stunned at the splendid sound that greeted him. “It’s breathtaking,” he wrote afterwards. “The orchestra is excellent and has been very well prepared.” A children’s choir of 200 voices and a 330-strong women’s choir were exemplary.

Mahler wrote after the first performance: “Musical culture in this country is stupendous. These people really know how to listen!” His remark still holds good. Amsterdam is a city where the Concertgebouw (“Concert Building”) fills rapidly in response to a program of new music.

Amsterdam

Three years later Mahler was back in Amsterdam to enjoy conducting “superbly prepared” performances of his Fifth Symphony (“such as was not bettered in Vienna”) and his early choral work Das klagende Lied, and to record a strong success with “first-class reviews” in the Flemish city of Antwerp in neighbouring Belgium.

By this time Mahler was ready to hail Mengelberg as his principal champion: “The only one to whom I feel I could entrust a work of mine with complete peace of mind.”

End of posts in 2023.