Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam

Highlights season 2015/2016

Highlights season 2015/2016

After the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra performed at both SAIL Amsterdam and Lowlands in the summer of 2015, the 2015–16 season officially kicked off with the very first RCO Opening Night. What followed was a season full of special moments. Below we’ve selected a number of those highlights for you.

Festival summer

The summer of 2015 centred on the orchestra’s performances at the SAIL Amsterdam and Lowlands festivals.


On 19 August 2015, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra made an appearance at SAIL Amsterdam, Europe’s largest free maritime event. On a floating stage on the IJ under the direction of Daniel Harding, the orchestra performed two seafaring works: the overture to Wagner’s opera about an accursed ship captain and Debussy’s La mer, a colourful musical depiction of the sea in all its guises. The final work on the programme was Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps. Immediately following the performance was a spectacular fireworks display.


A few days later, on 23 August 2015, the orchestra made its very first guest appearance at the Lowlands festival in Biddinghuizen. After an introduction given by Tijl Beckand, the RCO performed Igor Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps, again under the direction of Daniel Harding. 

Very first RCO Opening Night

On 10 September 2015, the orchestra gave its very first RCO Opening Night under the direction of Daniele Gatti. It was a festive opening to the season, a concert which featured a special programme and an acclaimed soloist. RCO Opening Night also saw the master cellist Yo-Yo Ma return to the Concertgebouw Orchestra (after an absence of twenty years) who performed Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto.

The 2016–17 season also kicks off with an RCO Opening Night, and this season, it’s a night for the history books, marking the investiture of Daniele Gatti as the seventh chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Naturally, such an event wouldn’t be complete without Mahler. The world-renowned baritone Christian Gerhaher will be appearing as soloist in the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.

To find out more about this special evening or to order tickets, please click on the link below.

RCO Opening Night 2016/2017

The new educational app

In October 2015, the new Romeo and Juliet educational app was presented at the Cinekid children’s film festival in Amsterdam. Romeo and Juliet is the third app in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s series released under the RCO Kids label in collaboration with publisher Follow a Muse. The successful RCO Kids educational apps are made available to schools free of charge and have been specially designed to work with an interactive whiteboard. Some 275 schools in the Netherlands – and several in Belgium – are already using the apps.

Browse our educational apps here



Childeren play along with the orchestra

On 22 November, an audience of children got the chance to play along with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on their very own home-made instruments.

Prior to the Pepernoten Family Concert for large orchestra, conductor Rory MacDonald had called on children to make their own instruments and bring them along to the performance. The children were given the opportunity to practice with members of the orchestra in several foyers before the concert.

Family Concerts are coming up this season, too. You can order your tickets by clicking on the link below.

Family concerts 2016/2017

Christmas Oratorio conducted by Jan Willem de Vriend

Foto: Renske Vrolijk

Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf preiset die Tage… The Christmas Matinee got under way with cheers and jubilation.

What the great Passions are to Easter, the Christmas Oratorio is during those dark, wintry days at the end of the year. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote the six independent parts of his Christmas Oratorio to be performed on six nights between Christmas and Epiphany.

On Christmas Day, Jan Willem de Vriend led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Cappella Amsterdam and four specialist soloists in the first three parts of the work. It was a long-awaited occasion for many: the Concertgebouw Orchestra last performed this heart-warming Christmas music forty-nine years ago.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet's public masterclass

A close-up look at a new generation of orchestral musicians learning from one of the world’s greatest pianists… That’s just what those present in the Recital Hall of the Concertgebouw were given on 8 January.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Artist in Residence last season, gave a masterclass open to the public during which he coached two very talented young pianists who study with Maria João Pires at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels. The participants were Lilit Grigoryan from Armenia and Leonardo Hilsdorf from Brazil.

The masterclass was made possible in part by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra donors’ foundation Stichting Donateurs.

More information about donations

RCO Club Night

The second RCO Club Night took place at Club Air Amsterdam on 19 February and featured master pianist and Artist in Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who teamed up with members of the orchestra and members of the Academy of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to perform two sets of chamber music in the club’s relaxed setting.

The event was dedicated to the Roaring Twenties. DJ JamesZoo also contributed to the lounge atmosphere. The event was presented by Floris Kortie.

You can listen again to the works performed that evening on Spotify.



Dancing to Bach

The Royal Concertgebouw hosted a real dance party on 13 March, with the children in the hall dancing to music by Bach.

The concert was all about movement. Children danced along to the music with conductor Daniel Harding, and with principal violinist Vesko Eschkenazy as he played some of the most beautiful violin solos in the repertoire. A choreographer was also on hand to teach the children a number of dance steps.

Family Concerts are coming up this season, too. You can order your tickets by clicking on the link below.

Family concerts 2016/2017

First King's eve concert

It would be sheer nonsense to claim that classical musicians only enjoy listening to classical music, and pop musicians only to pop music. After all, music is a universal language and an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, in collaboration with the Entrée youth association, regularly seeks out the elements linking very different types of music. On what used to be called its Queen’s Eve Concerts, the orchestra has shared the stage with the likes of CocoRosie, Patrick Watson, Fink and José James.

The orchestra celebrated King’s Eve 2016 with Benjamin Clementine and his rich, powerful voice. From clochard in Paris to Mercury Prize winner, the British singer, pianist and poet has managed to enchant music lovers all over the world in only a few short years. His searingly intimate songs are insightful, poetic and melancholy.

Orchestrated by Jules Buckley and performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Brad Lubman, these songs came across as never before. The orchestra also performed a number of classical works. It was a truly unforgettable King’s Eve concert on which two worlds came together!

Unesco to grant patronage to RCO Meets Europe

In May 2016, UNESCO announced that it would grant patronage to RCO meets Europe, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s European tour which gets under way in September of this year. As part of the tour, the orchestra will be performing in all twenty-eight member states of the European Union over three seasons. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has also expressed his willingness to act as patron of the tour.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, stated that the initiative is ‘in line with UNESCO’s mission’, since the tour promotes intercultural respect and a ‘culture of peace’. She said she was confident that the concert series will also help ‘keep alive Europe’s musical heritage and pass it on to future generations’.

RCO meets Europe now proudly bears the logo of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Meer over RCO meets Europe


'What is life? A game!'

Mariss Jansons returned to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as guest conductor in June and July in the season immediately following his last as the orchestra’s chief conductor. And how! With Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s brilliant opera The Queen of Spades at the Dutch National Opera.

Jansons led the RCO in two previous opera productions to great acclaim: Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District in 2006 and Tchaikovsky’s Yevgeny Onegin in 2011.

In The Queen of Spades, an army officer’s compulsive gambling leads to his downfall – at the gambling table, in love and in life. Full of humour and tenderness, the libretto was written by the composer’s brother Modest Tchaikovsky. ‘What is life? A game!’