News overview

Mahler Festival 2020 Online

30 April 2020

Royal Concertgebouw and Concertgebouworkest present Mahler Festival Online

To the programme

Together with the Royal Concertgebouworkest, the Royal Concertgebouw presents the Mahler Festival Online, an alternative to the Mahler Festival scheduled to take place in Amsterdam from 8 thru 17 May. This new festival includes an extensive line-up of digital programming: more than twenty-five streams will be shown via social media and our website, as well as broadcast in part on AVROTROS and NPO2 extra. Mahler symphonies have been selected from the Concertgebouworkest collection of recent recordings, including performances led by past chief conductors Mariss Jansons and Bernard Haitink. Baritone Thomas Oliemans and the Alma Quartet have created new programmes for two special editions of the Empty Concertgebouw Sessions. Also Mahler's Universe – a documentary series shot the world over featuring interviews with renowned individuals such as Jessye Norman, Jaap van Zweden and granddaughter Marina Mahler – will be made available for viewing. In the meantime, the Concertgebouw is working hard on plans for a future Mahler Festival.

An Online Alternative to the Real Festival

In 2013 the Royal Concertgebouw set about organising the third Mahler Festival in a hundred years, a unique gathering of top orchestras from all around the world. The present corona crisis has made staging the 2020 festival impossible. Managing Director Simon Reinink: ‘Not only are we enormously disappointed, this applies to the musicians and audiences as well. It makes me proud in these uncertain times in both society and the cultural sector that, working together with our partners, we have managed to launch a superb alternative in a short amount of time. We hope with this initiative to reach as many people as possible and to offer comfort in trying times through Mahler's music.’

High-Quality Programme

The original Mahler festival involved six different orchestras, but for our online festival the choice has fallen on streaming Mahler’s symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde performed by the Concertgebouworkest. Managing Director David Bazen: ‘I’m incredibly pleased that thanks to modern technology we can organise a fitting alternative to the Mahler Festival. The rich Mahler tradition of the Concertgebouworkest has resulted in numerous recordings of the composer’s symphonies and orchestral song cycles. For each piece we had the choice of several high-quality recordings of performances conducted by the best in the world. While this is quite different from experiencing a new work live in the Great Hall, the advantage is being able to hear the most splendid Mahler recordings at home with introductions by our own musicians.’ Every day at 3:00 p.m. a member of our own orchestra will introduce the evening’s 8:30 p.m. symphony with a special presentation.

Documentaries: Mahler's Universe

The universal themes of Mahler's music are relevant for everyone today. With this in mind, the Royal Concertgebouw sent a group of documentary filmmakers (MediaLane) all around the world. The result is a series of ten documentaries meant to introduce the composer’s symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde. Musicians and experts such as Anna Stoll Knecht, Roderick Williams, Lahav Shani and Thomas Hampson express their thoughts. The composer’s intriguing life story is told by his granddaughter Marina Mahler. Also, important to mention here is the film series’ interview with Jessye Norman that took place last summer, a few weeks before her untimely death. In an inspiring way, Norman reflects on Mahler's music and her performances in The Concertgebouw.

Documentary Mahler's Universe on YouTube & Facebook
  • 8 thru 17 May 2020, daily at 8:00 p.m.
Empty Concertgebouw Sessions

As part of the Mahler Festival Online, two live performances of Mahler’s music will be broadcast from an audience-free Concertgebouw. Baritone Thomas Oliemans will perform a programme of several Mahler’s songs taken from Hans und Gretel and Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen. The Alma Quartet, comprised of members of the Concertgebouworkest, will perform an arrangement of the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and – together with pianist Nino Gvetadze – part of the Piano Quartet in A minor.

  • 13 May 12:30 p.m. Thomas Oliemans
  • 15 May 12:30 p.m. Alma Quartet & Nino Gvetadze


Concertgebouworkest vanuit Het Concertgebouw

Friday 8 May

Symphony No. 1 o.l.v. Mariss Jansons (2013) – Introduction by Dominic Seldis

Saturday 9 May

Symphony No. 2 o.l.v. Daniele Gatti (2016) – Introduction by Martin Schippers

Sunday 10 May

Symphony No. 3 o.l.v. Mariss Jansons (2010) – Introduction by Omar Tomasoni

Monday 11 May

Symphony No. 4 o.l.v. Ivan Físcher (2010) – Introduction by Bence Major

Tuesday 12 May

Symphony No. 5 o.l.v. Daniele Gatti (2010) – Introduction by Laurens Woudenberg

Wednesday 13 May

Symphony No. 6 o.l.v. Lorin Maazel (2010) – Introduction by Miriam Pastor

Thursday 14 May

Symphony No. 7 o.l.v. Pierre Boulez (2011) – Introduction by Vesko Eschkenazy

Friday 15 May

Symphony No. 8 o.l.v. Mariss Jansons (2011) – Introduction by Johan van Maaren

Saturday 16 May

Symphony No. 9 o.l.v. Bernard Haitink (2011) – Introduction by Paul Peter Spiering

Sunday 17 May

Das Lied von der Erde o.l.v. Fabio Luisi (2011) – Introduction by Emily Beynon