NJO Winter Tour 2020

28 januari 2020

The National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands (NJO) played five concerts between 19 and 27 January 2020 during the orchestra's annual Winter Tour. It went from Apeldoorn, where the NJO is stationed, to the AVROTROS Friday concert in Utrecht, and from Kerkrade in the deep south to Nijmegen the next afternoon, to conclude on the coast in The Hague. Conductor was Ed Spanjaard, soloist Nino Gvetadze (piano). Take a look at Orchestra members for the names of all participating musicians.

The tour was covered by various media. Between 20 and 23 January, Radio 4 broadcasted items in Opium Uitgelicht about all the works performed and about soloist Nino Gvetadze. You can listen to them via the links below (start approximately 45 minutes after the start of the programme):
20 Jan 2020: Opium Uitgelicht (Third Symphony Pijper)
21 Jan 2020: Opium Uitgelicht (Fourth Piano Concerto Beethoven with short interview Nino Gvetadze)
22 Jan 2020: Opium Uitgelicht (Concerto for Orchestra Bartók)
23 Jan 2020: Opium Uitgelicht (about NJO)

The Radio 4 programme Podium (from 2h14m) also broadcasted an item, with an interview with conductor Ed Spanjaard about the Winter Tour and about composer Willem Pijper.

At the beginning of each concert during the tour, the music stands namely featured the Third Symphony by the same Willem Pijper, a music pioneer pur sang and one of the most important Dutch composers of the 20th century. Many Dutch composers are indebted to Pijper, who spent a large part of his career on music education in the broadest sense of the word. Pijper's work was performed by NJO under the direction of the prominent Dutch conductor Ed Spanjaard; a perfect combination! Below you can listen to the podcast we made with Ed Spanjaard about this work (in Dutch).

The virtuoso and widely acclaimed Georgian pianist Nino Gvetadze then took the stage for a performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, which is an important work historically: the piece's official premiere at the Theater an der Wien in 1808 was the very last time Beethoven was able to perform in front of an audience as a soloist. The Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung called the concert "the most admirable, peculiar artistic and complex concert Beethoven ever produced". Beethoven year 2020, in which the composer's 250th birthday was celebrated worldwide, naturally offered an ideal opportunity to perform this work.

After the interval, Bartók's accessible Concerto for Orchestra was played, with elements from both Western classical music and Eastern European folk music: a real treat for the listener. That was also evident from the ovational applause afterwards!

We made a wide selection of all the beautiful photos that our photographers took to look back at the five concerts and the rehearsals.

Pijper - Symphony No. 3
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58
Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra

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