Made in America

From Friday, 28 January to Sunday, 30 January, we will be sharing a mosaic of compositions from the United States on this page: solo concertos, symphonic music and chamber music performed by our own musicians. We will be kicking off Made in America with an online pub quiz on Friday at 8.00 p.m.

Made in America
Illustratie ontworpen voor Made in America door Christopher DeLorenzo
Experience a whole weekend of music brimming with the energy and diversity of the United States. Recordings of chamber music, iconic film music and symphonic works by composers including Ives, Adams, Wolfe, Higdon, Dvořák and Copland and three concerts streams from the Concertgebouw.

Pub quiz

Made in America online kicks off - Friday, 28 January 8.00 p.m.

On Friday, we’re kicking off Made in America online with a pub quiz. Play along, and learn more about classical music from the USA. Our musicians will be performing chamber music, and our artistic director Ulrike Niehoff will be giving a brief interview. The Belgian television host Thomas Vanderveken will be hosting the pub quiz in English.

Taking part in the pub quiz is simple.  Starting from 8.00 p.m., Thomas Vanderveken will let you know here which site you need to access in order to play along. Be sure to have a second device (e.g. a mobile phone, tablet or laptop) ready to hand to answer the questions live.

You can play on your own or as part of a group, and don’t need to sign up.

Lastly, you can also watch and listen without taking part in the quiz.

Streams of the concerts from the Concertgebouw

Saturday, 29 Jan 8.00 p.m. - Susanna Mälkki conducts Perry, Adams and Ives

Susanna Mälkki, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin

Julia Perry - A Short Piece for Orchestra
John Adams- Violin Concerto
Charles Ives- Symphony No. 2

Introduction by Thomas Vanderveken

About this concert 

American composers did not seek out their own musical identity until very late. The use of popular music and jazz converged with the influential neoclassical style imported from Europe in the early twentieth century. Listening to the works of Charles Ives, Julia Perry and John Adams, whose lifetimes together span nearly a century, and recognising them now as distinctly American-sounding have much to do with all these developments.

Susanna Mälkki conducts Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 2, a work brimming with familiar and lesser-known melodies. Symphonic collages incorporating popular songs which coloured the memories of his youth in New England, as well as the music of Bach, Beethoven and Wagner prove that Ives was far ahead of his time around 1900.

Julia Perry, too, incorporated the folk music of her youth in her music – in her case mainly African American spirituals. Perry’s career got off to a promising start, but her work eventually faded into oblivion. A Short Piece for Orchestra shows just how undeserved that was: this exciting work showcases a wholly original voice in American music.

In his Violin Concerto, the world-famous American composer John Adams allowed melody back into his rhythmically pulsing music for the first time in years. And how! The solo violin threads one soaring melody to the next. Very few violinists are capable of performing this extremely difficult work. Fortunately, there’s Leila Josefowicz, a tireless champion of contemporary music, and above all a great violinist who never shirks from a challenge.

Sunday, 30 Jan 2.15 p.m. - Famous film music from Vertigo, Star Wars and E.T.

Stéphane Denève, conductor
Kelley O'Connor, mezzo soprano

Introduction by Thomas Vanderveken

Jennifer Higdon - blue cathedral
Peter Lieberson - Neruda Songs
Alfred Newman - 20th Century Fox Fanfare
Erich Korngold- The Sea Hawk
Bernard Herrmann - Vertigo: Prelude/The Nightmare, Scene d'amour
John Williams - E.T.: Adventures on Earth
John Williams - Star Wars: Princess Leia's Theme
John Williams - Star Wars: Main Title
John Williams - Star Wars: The Imperial March

About this concert

‘America is the only country which is home to so-called film composers. Outside the US, there are composers who occasionally work on a film,’ claimed Bernard Herrmann, who set his terrifying musical seal on many of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. The days when film music was dismissed as second-rate are well and truly over. Various film scores have since earned a well-deserved place in the orchestral repertoire.

No such programme would be complete without John Williams, of course. After all, what would Steven Spielberg or George ‘Star Wars’ Lucas have done without him? Then there’s Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who was an acclaimed opera composer in Vienna until the threat of Nazism forced him to flee to California. His sense of theatre was put to good use in his brilliant scores for romantic adventure films about duelling musketeers and passionate love stories.

Many American composers write ‘cinematic’ music which needs no film at all. Evoking emotional images, Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral is a work dedicated to the memory of her brother who died young. The first performances of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs were the heartbreaking farewell of his terminally ill wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, to her audiences.

Sunday, 30 Jan 8.00 p.m. Klaus Mäkelä conducts Dvořák, Wolfe and Copland

Klaus Mäkelä, conductor
Calogero Palermo, clarinet

Julia Wolfe - Fountain of Youth
Aaron Copland- Clarinet Concerto
Antonín Dvorák- Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’

Introduction by Thomas Vanderveken

About this concert

Vast prairies, the chaos of the metropolis, mountains and forests, deserts and skyscrapers. The scenic diversity of the United States is infinite. Its population is equally diverse – a mosaic of cultural backgrounds. That diversity is also reflected in American composed music. Yet all these musical styles often seem to be connected in some way. What makes American music American?

Conductor Klaus Mäkelä conducts a colourful programme in which classical music, popular styles and experimentation enrich one another in a way which could only be possible in America. Take, for instance, Julia Wolfe’s energetic opening work Fountain of Youth, which is an example wherein accessibility and experimentation go hand in hand.

The melting pot of cultures which is the United States has resulted in all kinds of blends of classical music, jazz and Latin. The orchestra’s principal clarinettist Calogero Palermo takes centre stage in Aaron Copland’s jazzy Clarinet Concerto. The programme also features Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (‘From the New World’).