The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is pleased to announce that its artist in residence in the 2017–18 season is none other than the Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek. Her masterful performances of great operatic roles have brought her international fame. But Westbroek is also known for taking the road less travelled – although she cherishes the standard repertoire, she also has a special love for more modern and lesser-known works. The American composer Samuel Barber’s vocal music, for example, is seldom heard here. His orchestral song Knoxville: Summer of 1915 beautifully evokes a foregone summer, and is a veritable tour de force for the soprano soloist. Barber also proved to be a composer of highly effective, neo-Romantic operas, from which Westbroek sings two dramatic arias.
Gustavo Gimeno, who served for many years as principal percussionist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, learned the tricks of the conducting trade from none other than Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink and Mariss Jansons. His impressive 2012 debut as guest conductor launched his international career, and he is hailed as a maestro who knows how to shed new light on familiar works – like Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy, which many feel is some of the most beautiful symphonic music ever written.