This year The Hague’s Classical Encounters goes online

Sunday, 17th May.

A chamber music festival – is that possible digitally? The new reality in which we suddenly ended up together challenges us to look for new possibilities. What is still possible if you have to cancel your event as you envisioned it, or rather: what is possible now?

As a musical pioneer of the ‘new normal’, Classical Encounters decides to embark on an adventure. A festival that invariably seeks out the encounter does not shy away from encountering it online. After all, music creates connection and offers comfort, elements that are now indispensable, both for musicians and listeners. That is why Classical Encounters, as excited as it is exploratory, announces the very first digital edition: Classical Encounters Online.

On Sunday 17th May, artistic director Eva Stegeman cordially invites everyone who has a screen with internet to a digital festival day, live from the Lourdeskerk in The Hague. During a live stream that starts at 12:00 and ends at approximately 18:00, you listen non-stop to concerts, short concert introductions, a mini lecture, interviews and surprising musical interludes. The theme Variations, which was the theme of the original edition from 13th to 17th May, remains the main theme in this online version. The still young master pianist Kit Armstrong sounds from his own concert church in Northern France, with Bach’s Goldberg variations. The Rembrandt Frerichs Trio is present in the Lourdeskerk with its own program, just like Erik Bosgraaf and Ernst Reijseger who present an improvising program around Bach. The Nexus String Quartet (Pieter van Loenen, Eva Stegeman, Hannah Strijbos, Sietse-Jan Weijenberg) also performs Beethoven’s String Quartet from the Lourdes Church.74 “Harps” a new work for string quartet (world premiere) by Rembrandt Frerichs. In the series of short concerts ‘Carte blanche voor …’, specially composed for this online edition, a number of prominent musicians will be heard. Violinist Sylvia Huang (Queen Elisabeth Competition 2019 finalist) comes to The Hague and plays a solo sonata by Ysaÿe. Musicians from all over Europe who have long been welcome festival guests join the live stream from their living room. For example, violinist Gordan Nikolic plays from his own Antwerp living room, cellist Ursula Smith lets us listen in from England with Sibelius and percussionist Jeroen Geevers brings from his home town Rosmalen the theatrical piece Case History for one percussionist with trunk

Talent Support has played an important role during Classical Encounters since its inception in 2003. For example, 11-year-old violinist Adinda van Delft and 11-year-old recorder player Christiaan Blom perform live from the Lourdeskerk, and a number of young singers from the Academy of Vocal Arts in The Hague are given a stage by their artistic director Daniëlle van Lieshout. If you want to experience the festival day on May 17, 2020, just go to the website of the festival. The live stream can be followed free of charge. The visitor can choose to donate as a virtual festival ticket.

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About Classical Encounters

Classical Encounters is the international chamber music festival of the region of The Hague, Leiden and the surrounding area. Since its foundation in 2003, artistic director Eva Stegeman has put together a surprising program every year; concerts that are characterized by innovative and inspiring encounters between musicians and audience. The (analog) edition of Classical Encounters was initially planned from May 13-17, 2020.

Photo by Foppe Schut

Listen to a preview of the Festival on ArtsTalk Radio (at 4.10)