Biography NJO

The National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands or NJO, founded in 1957, brings young talent from 18 to 26 years of age to the stage during the NJO Muziekzomer, a summer festival in the Dutch province of Gelderland, and the NJO Winter Tour, amongst other concerts.

Total immersion into the world of music for several weeks – that is what the NJO offers young talented musicians, through various activities. The summer project of the NJO, founded by Reinbert de Leeuw in 2001, focuses on curiosity and musical adventure. About 160 students participate in the NJO Summer Festival and Tour every year, recruited from music academies all over Europe (and beyond) via auditions. These young talents are invited to work with famous teachers and conductors, developing their abilities in symphony orchestras, classical chamber music ensembles on historic instruments, in contemporary music ensembles, and even in opera projects. Reinbert de Leeuw, who made a great mark on music in the Netherlands during the past decades, was artistic director of the summer project until 2010. He was succeeded by renowned Chinese-American conductor Xian Zhang, who in turn was succeeded by Ewout van Dingstee (managing director/artistic manager) and conductor Antony Hermus (artistic advisor) in September 2015.

The NJO organises its own festival in the Dutch province of Gelderland every August: the NJO Muziekzomer (NJO Music Summer; 2-18 August 2019) is the stage for the ensembles and orchestras of the NJO Summer Festival and Tour. In January, a symphony orchestra tours the big venues of the Netherlands during the NJO Winter Tour.

NJO ensembles have been conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, Iván Fischer and Jaap van Zweden, among many others. Its composers in residence have included such luminaries as Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, John Adams, Mauricio Kagel and Wolfgang Rihm.

From 2001 until 2019 we have worked or will work with:

Conductors: Reinbert de Leeuw (2001-2010), Philippe Herreweghe (2001-2004), Jos van Immerseel (2005-2008), Iván Fischer (2005), Jaap van Zweden (2003), Etienne Siebens (2004-2007, 2009-2016), Paul Goodwin (2001, 2007), Bart Schneemann (2001), Thierry Fischer (2006), Werner Herbers (2007), George Benjamin (2007), John Adams (2008), Ludovic Morlot (2009), Oliver Knussen (2009), Bas Wiegers (2009-2010, 2016-2017), Richard Egarr (2009-2011, 2013), Hans Leenders (2009, 2012, 2014), Mark-Anthony Turnage (2010), Clark Rundell (2010-2011, 2013-2016), Christian Karlsen (2010-2011, 2015), Ivan Meylemans (2010-2011), Antony Hermus (2011-2012, 2014-2017), Xian Zhang (2011-2012, 2014, 2016), Kevin John Edusei (2012), Jaap ter Linden (2012), Milos Valent (2013), Hidemi Suzuki (2014), Martin Fondse (2015-2016), Steffen Schorn (2015), Jasper de Waal (2015), Jules Buckley (2016), Christian Elsässer (2017), Mark Wigglesworth (2017), Georg Fritzsch (2018), Gustavo Gimeno (2019).

Composers in residence: György Kurtág (2001), Louis Andriessen (2002), Wolfgang Rihm (2003), Thomas Adès (2004), Mauricio Kagel (2005), Sofia Gubaidulina (2006), George Benjamin (2007), John Adams (2008), Oliver Knussen (2009), Mark-Anthony Turnage (2010), Kaija Saariaho (2011), Unsuk Chin (2012), Steve Reich (2013), Robert Zuidam (2014).