More than 700 people enjoyed the rare opportunity to enjoy two breathtaking concerts by conductor Yoel Gamzou and the International Mahler Orchestra (IMO) on 25 August in Amsterdam. Esteemed guests HRH Princess Beatrix, ECF’s President HRH Princess Laurentien and her husband HRH Prince Constantijn were among those who attended the two thrilling performances – at the Portugese Synagoge and then at the Amsterdam Music Theatre – which were both greeted by standing ovations.
Between the concerts, a conversation took place between conductor Yoel Gamzou (1987, USA/Israel/Germany) – winner of the Fifth ECF Princess Margriet Award – and Rob Riemen (Director, Nexus Institute, Tilburg) and Michael Lucas (Director, Phyllis Lucas Gallery, New York). They discussed how to encourage a broader audience to understand and appreciate classical music.
Yoel Gamzou set up the much-praised International Mahler Orchestra (IMO) in 2006, combining promising young soloists and well-known European musicians to explore new orchestral forms and concepts and to present them to a young and new audience. Twenty-four musicians travelled from across Europe to prepare for the Amsterdam performances, working with Gamzou for a week before the epic musical journey.
With compositions by Mahler and Debussy, and also recent work by IMO’s ‘composer in residence’ Elmar Lampson, the concerts offered a diverse programme. The unique event included different musical pieces performed over the two different spaces, with accompanying solo pieces all threaded together by the conductor with a rare degree of independence from the classical musicians.
“The International Mahler Orchestra is not a conventional orchestra, as we know it, and their conductor is not a conventional conductor,” said ECF’s Director Katherine Watson. “They are a dynamic assembly of different voices, on a shared adventure. ECF was proud to bring this adventure, this journey, to the Grachtenfestival.”
Yoel Gamzou received the ECF Princess Margriet Award for his exceptional talent and energy in inspiring different generations of musicians and audiences across Europe. He challenges the conventional structures of the classical musical genre, and in doing so, uncovers its democratic potential.
The concerts on 25 August took place at two characteristic locations in Amsterdam: the Portugese Synagoge and the foyer of the famous Amsterdam Music Theatre. With compositions of Mahler and Debussy, but also recent work of IMO's 'composer in residence' Elmar Lampson, we offered a diverse programme that included 'meet and greet' moments with Yoel Gamzou and the musicians as well.