Asko|Schönberg with Barbara Hannigan

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008 @ 20:30
Muziekgebouw Grote Zaal

Asko|Schönberg presents music by Corrie van Binsbergen, Michael Oesterle, James Rolfe and Claude Vivier, with soprano Barbara Hannigan and conductor Etienne Siebens. Pre-concert talk with Thea Derks 19:30.

Corrie van BinsbergenSidenote: howard report, page 30
Michael OesterleCoureurs des bois
James RolfeAsk You Dance Me
Claude VivierLettura di Dante


Photo of Asko|SchönbergSince September 1, 2008, the Asko and Schönberg Ensembles have been united as Asko|Schönberg: not an ensemble, not an orchestra, but a flexible group of musicians who appear in formations of any needed size to perform the 20th- and 21st-century music of established composers, such as György Ligeti, György Kurtág, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel and Louis Andriessen; emerging composers such as Michel van der Aa, Martijn Padding and Julian Anderson; and an even younger generation, whose compositions are still wet with ink. Asko|Schönberg performs its own Contemporaries series in the Concertgebouw and has also performed as part of Proms on the IJ (at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ) as a guest of the renowned Saturday Matinee concert series, in the Holland Festival, with the Netherlands Opera and the Nationale Reisopera, on special occasions such as hall openings and jubilees, and for a series of performances for families in coordination with (youth) theater companies. Asko|Schönberg is also involved in educational projects for 7-year-olds, composition projects for graduating secondary school students and collaborations with Conservatory composition departments. Asko|Schönberg recently began the György Ligeti Academy, an initiative for advanced conservatory students who want to gain expertise in contemporary repertoire. In collaboration with the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Asko|Schönberg will open a production house in which talented, young composers will get the opportunity to give a sample of what they can do; they are also collaborating with theater companies to develop a new form of music theater. This dedicated group of versatile musicians works with chief conductor Reinbert de Leeuw and guest conductors and soloists from the Netherlands and abroad.

For more information on Asko|Schönberg please visit

Photo of Barbara HanniganCanadian soprano Barbara Hannigan received her Bachelor of Music (1993) and Master of Music (1998) degrees from the University of Toronto where she studied with Mary Morrison. Further studies took place at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, the Centre d'arts Orford, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland where she studied with Meinard Kraak. 


Her operatic roles include Lucia in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, Despina in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Amore in Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice and Anne Truelove in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress; she performed the title role in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen and the title roles in Hasse's La Contadina and La Fantesca.

Hannigan has performed the world premiere of operas including Louis Andriessen's Writing to Vermeer (Saskia) with the Netherlands Opera, Jan van de Putte's Wet Snow (Liza) with Holland's National Reisopera, Luca Mosca's Signor Goldoni (Despina) at La Fenice, Michel van der Aa's solo opera One for soprano, film and electronics, and Gabrielle in the world première of Gerald Barry's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant at English National Opera. She recently gave the world premiere performance of Passion, the new opera by Pascal Dusapin, at the Festival of Aix en Provence, now starting its European tour.

She has performed with orchestras and ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony and the Asko and Schönberg Ensembles, in repertoire ranging from Händel to Ligeti. She has worked with conductors Reinbert de Leeuw, Esa Pekka Salonen, Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Ingo Metzmacher, Peter Oundjian, Oliver Knussen, and Peter Eötvös, and has had the privilege of working with composers György Ligeti, Louis Andriessen, Gerald Barry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Oliver Knussen and Henri Dutilleux, among others.

Upcoming engagements include opera productions at La Monnaie and the Netherlands Opera, concerts with Ensemble Modern, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Deutsche Symphonie Orkest, Ensemble Intercontemporain, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, and the title role in Stravinsky's Le Rossignol with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Photo of Etienne SiebensBorn in Belgium, Etienne Siebens established himself first as a double-bass player. He earned several national and international prizes and soon achieved success on the most important concert platforms of the international music scene. He studied at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels and at the Academia Chigiana in Siena.

He made the transition into conducting with the same discipline and precision that had characterised his earlier career. He chose Lucas Vis, who was extremely impressed by his talent, and Jorma Panula as teachers. Since his debut Etienne Siebens has been active as a conductor with several national and international orchestras and ensembles. Recently he conducted new opera works at the Brussels National Opera and the world-premiËre of a new opera by one of Britain's leading composers, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, recorded live on BBC3 radio and television.

Etienne Siebens' rise as conductor to international musical prominence, in a period of less than five years, has been an astonishing phenomenon. Conducting some extraordinary concerts and operas set in motion a chain of events that has catapulted him to a position at the heart of the Belgium musical scene, and has earned him international recognition. National and international reviews are unanimously favourable.

Etienne Siebens conducted the Asko Ensemble at a concert during the International Gaudeamus Music Week in September 2002 in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) with among others works of young Dutch composers (Michel van der Aa, Mayke Nas and Merlijn Twaalfhoven).

Etienne Siebens is the Artistic Director of the Prometheus Ensemble, one of Belgium's leading Contemporary Music Groups, and recently he became the regular guest conductor for the Flemish Radio Orchestra.

Upcoming engagements include concerts in Australia, France, England and the United States.

Michael Oesterle was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1968. He immigrated to Canada in 1982, and since 1996 has been living in Montréal. He has received several awards, such as the Gaudeamus Prize, the Grand Prize at the 12th CBC Radio National Competition for Young Composers, and the Canada Council Jules Léger Prize. Oesterle's works have been performed and commissioned by ensembles and soloists including Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM), cellist Yegor Dyachkov, Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM), the Ives Ensemble (Amsterdam), sopranos Karina Gauvin and Suzie Leblanc, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris), Continnuum (Toronto), Quatuor Bozzini, Groundswell, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (MCO), Soundstreams Canada, Asko/Schönberg Ensemble (Amsterdam), The National Arts Orchestra (Ottawa), les Percussions de Strasbourg, and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. He has produced projects in collaboration with composer Gerhard Staebler, violinist Clemens Merkel, painter Christine Unger, video/installation artist Wanda Koop and Bonnie Baxter and choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde, Barbara Bourget, and Dominique Porte. He composed the music for CNOTE, a film by animator Christopher Hinton, produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). CNOTE won the 2005 GENIE award for best animated-short. In 1997 he founded the Montréal based Ensemble KORE with pianist Marc Couroux, and between 2001 and 2004 he was composer-in-residence with l'Orchestre Metropolitain du Grand Montréal.

Photo of James RolfeToronto composer James Rolfe has been commissioned and performed by ensembles, orchestras, choirs, and opera companies in Canada, the USA, Europe, and New Zealand. He has been funded through The Canada Council, The Ontario Arts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, The Laidlaw Foundation, Opera.Ca, and CBC Radio. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2003 K. M. Hunter Music Award, the 2005 Louis Applebaum Composers Award, and the 2006 Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music.

Rolfe is one of Canada's leading opera composers. His first opera, Beatrice Chancy (with librettist George Elliott Clarke), received an extraordinary reception from audiences and critics alike during productions by The Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company between 1998 and 2001 in Toronto, Dartmouth, and Edmonton. His masques Orpheus and Eurydice and Aeneas and Dido (librettist André Alexis) were premiered by The Toronto Masque Theatre in 2004 and 2007. Elijah's Kite, an opera for children, was premiered in New York in April 2006 by Tapestry New Opera Works with the Manhattan School of Music, and given its Canadian premiere for the Governor-General at Rideau Hall in October 2006. Swoon was premiered in December 2006 by the Canadian Opera Company, which has since commissioned a new opera to be premiered on their main stage in 2012. Other new works include the opera Inês (librettist Paul Bentley), to be produced by the Queen of Puddings in 2009, as well as pieces for the Netherlands' ASKO Ensemble, Norway's Trio Mediaeval with The Toronto Consort, and marimbist Nancy Zeltsman.

For more information on James Rolfe please visit fuseaction=composer.FA_dsp_biography&authpeopleid=10852.