New European Ensemble
One universal language
Music can bring about change and fraternisation. It is with this motivation that Hanna Shybayeva, Maya Fridman and Konstantyn Napolov enjoy performing together. They moved to the Netherlands from Minsk, Moscow and Odessa respectively. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned their lives upside down. But they are determined to show that music can bridge differences and that musicians share a common language.
Together with New European Ensemble, they present a premiere programme of Ukrainian pieces and compositions by composers from Belarus and Russia who resist dictatorship. Maya Fridman will play the Dutch premiere of the Cello Sonata by Evgeny Kissin, the world-renowned Russian-born master pianist who takes a strong stand against the war, including with his compositions.
The programme also offers world premieres by Maxim Kolomiiets and Victoria Poleva, two prominent young Ukrainian composers. The Belarusian Kanstantin Yaskou was a figurehead of musical life in his homeland, which he fled. A major new work for the New European Ensemble will be premiered at our festival.
Reflections of Emptiness for percussion and piano
Shades for percussion, viola and piano
Nocturne for ensemble and electronics
Oneness for ten musicians
This concert will be livestreamed.
A panel discusses the current situation in Belarus. The work of many Belarusian artists, composers and musicians was banned in their own country. The New European Ensemble will therefore play works by Yaskou, Podgaiskaya, Voronov en Omelchuck.
This concert will be livestreamed. Order a free ticket for the livestream here.
In 2018 Daphnis et Chloé premiered to the music by Ravel, and in 2020 The Echo of Being, to music by Mahler. Watch them both in one evening! (separate tickets required)
The Mad King, by OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble, is an immersive and colorful theater experience, in which a powerful man in isolation fights his delusions, a strange guest enters, astonishing sounds can be heard, and we can escape our seclusion for a while, corona proof – on the wings of art.
Surrounded by his wondrous bird collection, the man cranks up his barrel organ and becomes inspired by the sound and color of remarkable mechanical instruments: all meant to stifle the cackling voices in his head. But then a strange guest flies in. It is a migratory bird from Asia that takes up residence in one of the cages, thus posing a threat to the magnificent collection of songbirds. The beginning of a free fall, which forces him to face his fears, beliefs and habits.
The legendary “Eight Songs for a Mad King” by composer Peter Maxwell Davies have their roots in history. The ‘mad king’ is George III of England, the monarch who, in addition to the American colonies, also lost his mind. He used the tunes from a mechanical organ to teach his collection of bullfinches to sing. In 1969, Peter Maxwell Davies converted these melodies into a range of music styles that form a poignant theatrical account of madness and insanity. These crazy and outlandish songs are the ultimate challenge for a baritone, who has to use his voice from frighteningly high to heart-sagging low, performed with extreme expressiveness.
In The Mad King by OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble, the eight songs are heard amidst the isolated man’s fabulous fantasies. In these, the music of court composer Georg Frideric Handel plays a major role. The music from his operas and oratorios, also full of bird song and folk music, fits extremely wonderful into the universe of The Mad King.
Worth a special mention is the collaboration with Museum Speelklok – the specialist in the field of mechanical organs and musical instruments.
Concept and stage direction Stefano Simone Pintor
Music Peter Maxwell Davies, Georg Frideric Handel, Brendan Faegre
Libretto “Eight Songs for a Mad King” Julian Randolph Stowe, based on the writings of George III of Great Britain
Design of the musical universe Brendan Faegre
Musical direction Hernán Schvartzman
Artistic direction New European Ensemble Emlyn Stam
Scenography Herbert Janse
Light design Uri Rapaport
Sound design Arne Bock
Technical producer Ronald Tebra
Costume design Mirjam Pater
Hair and make-up Nienke Algra
Baritone Charles Johnston or Wiebe Pier Cnossen
Mime Bodine Sutorius
Ensemble Six musicians of the New European Ensemble (on stage)