The COE and Bernard Haitink
12-22 November 2017
Following a rousing Prom and two concerts at Lucerne Festival this summer, the COE is delighted to be performing with Bernard Haitink again in November, at four concerts in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
On 15 November the programme at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw is Mozart’s Symphony No.36 ‘Linz’, and lieder from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the the soprano Anna Lucia Richter and baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann. Then on 17 November the Orchestra joins forces with the soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek for Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder, as well as performing Mozart’s Symphony No.35 ‘Haffner’ and No.38 ‘Prague’. The same two programmes are repeated at the Philharmonie Luxembourg on 19 and 21 November.
Further to her experience with Bernard Haitink and the COE in Lucerne this summer, Anna Lucia Richter said: “For me as a young singer it is one of the greatest experiences, honors and pleasures to work with a “legend“ like Maestro Haitink. He is such a modest person with a wonderful musical sense which grows out of a perfect balance of theoretical knowledge and natural intuition. I sang Mahler’s fourth symphony with him in Lucerne, London and Tokyo. This summer we extended our repertoire to the “Wunderhornlieder“ together with the COE in Lucerne and for me the COE is the perfect partner for this gorgeous repertoire: I felt so supported and inspired by these highly motivated musicians and loved the way they expressed their deep joy of making music together. Sometimes I would have loved to stop singing, just to listen in amazement.”
The COE first performed at the Concertgebouw in 1982, with Claudio Abbado, and has given regular concerts there over the last 35 years. In 2011 and 2012 the Orchestra joined forces with Bernard Haitink for a Beethoven cycle and, at his suggestion, two more cycles followed, of Brahms in 2013-14, and Schumann in 2015. We were last there in January this year for concerts with Bernard Haitink, the pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and violinist Alina Ibragimova.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe’s first substantial project with Bernard Haitink at the Concertgebouw dates back to 2011. Bernard Haitink expressed to his agent the wish to perform in Amsterdam with the COE, with whom he had been working regularly since 2008 at the Lucerne Festival. In particular, he wanted to explore Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann with a smaller ensemble than the symphonic orchestras he had previously worked with on such repertoire.
The special relationship between the COE and Bernard Haitink – now an Honorary Member of the Orchestra – was further strengthened by a two-year Beethoven cycle, performed in both Amsterdam and Paris.
Following on from this first cycle, Bernard Haitink suggested undertaking another two-year cycle, this time focussed on Brahms and featuring world-class soloists Emanuel Ax, Frank Braley, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon and Janine Jansen. In this context, the COE was delighted to see the second part of its cycle included in the Concertgebouw’s 125th anniversary celebrations. 2015 was marked by a three-performance Schumann cycle with Isabelle Faust, Gautier Capuçon and Murray Perahia. The cycle included all four symphonies, as well as the violin, cello and piano concertos.
The COE was invited to the Philharmonie Luxembourg for the first time in 2006, with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and has returned frequently. As Cultural Ambassador for the European Union, the Orchestra played there for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the European Union on 25 March 2007. The Orchestra’s last visit was in 2016 with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, as part of the Mendelssohn symphonies tour. These performances will mark the COE’s first collaboration with Bernard Haitink at the Philharmonie.
Bernard Haitink holds a very special place in all the players’ hearts, and is an Honorary Member of the COE. His collaboration with the COE really started in 2008 and he has said: “This Orchestra is the greatest gift in the later stages of my career”.