cyntillating sounds: w
a column on the state of classics
This year – 2013 – the City, Province and University of Utrecht will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Treaty Of Utrecht. The what?
In 1713, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Prussia gathered in Utrecht as they quite frankly could not agree to gather anywhere else. Having waged bloody wars of succession for generations wherein successively everyone won the battles but did not win the war as the saying goes , truth be told, diplomacy was finally born in the civilized and more or less neutral city of Utrecht. For eighteen months, representatives of said countries gathered there to hammer out what is now recognized as the first document to represent a balance of power – an ultimate compromise in which everyone got enough spoils to go home happy and to insure that peace prevailed for quite some time. Ever since, the Treaty of Utrecht gathering has served as a role model for diplomatic negotiations up and including the end of the most recent world wide war: WWII.
How to celebrate this significant if little known piece of global history played out on a local scale? The Treaty of Utrecht Foundation has invested in both a long term and short time explosions of arts, education, empowerment programs, publications and press information.
wwclassics has played a modest yet noteworthy role in developing, and now producing, manifestations of these celebrations closest to its heart: music. Being the language that never needs translation – ergo the ultimate diplomatic modus- music serves as an important modus in the Treaty of Utrecht celebrations in the coming months and wwclassics has proudly played a part in the programming and production of music events which began on April 11 in the tower of the Dom, city centre, and will end on the runway of the former US Airforce Base Soesterberg.
April 13: De Slag Om Vrede
15 thousand people came to witness a musical theatrical spectacle on the rooftop of the A2 highway which is the future geographical heart of the rapidly growing city of Utrecht:
Music by Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL); Narrative and direction by Luca Andrea Stappers; Texts by Paul Feld; Realisation and production by WINK Experience Architects. Costumes by Dieuweke van Reij; Lighting by Koen Peters; Pyrotehcnics by Lieven Slabbinck; decor by Bart Meyburg.
Project direction: c. wilson, wwclassics.
Performed by The Metropole Orchestra, actor Peter Blok, the Kathedrale School Choir, actors Jimmie Feld, Daphne de Bruin and Emma Brandenhorst. Also actors from the HKU Utrecht: Maxime, Tessa, Jolijn,Joep, Yamill, Ayrton,Liza, Dennie, Yorke and Kevin; Dancers from the ROC Midden Nederland: Joni, Robin, Brahm, ELRomeo,Karim, Jay, Maaike, Negestey, Meatia. All led by conductor Anthony Weeden. Prelude performance by De Bazuin and trompetist Peter van Dinther.
Ø April 11: at 17.13 o’clock, the certified bell ringers of the Dom tower will ring the bells of peace. Their action will, in estafette, be adopted by their colleagues throughout the city, the province, the country, the continent, and the world. 400 societies of bell ringers have been contacted from Utrecht, many of which have responded with wonderful, enthusiastic plans of actions, the majority of which will be visible through you tube uploads throughout this 24 circuit of global bell ringing sound. Decibelle limitations will go into overload!
Ø That same evening the Netherlands Bach Society and star violinist Janine Jansen will perform music of the 16th, 17th and 20th century in the Dom Cathedral. Declamations of important texts concerning war and peace will be given by internationally acclaimed Dutch actor Derek de Lint in a direction by Elbe Stevens (works by Wilfred Owen, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi et al). Unfortunately, this event is by invitation only. However, the Dutch public corporation NOS will broadcast a 45 minute program immediately following Nieuwsuur on that same evening dedicated to the start of the Treaty of Utrecht celebrations. Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima will be in attendance. This will be Her Majesty’s final visit to Utrecht before her abdication on April 30. She will ignite the Dom Cathedral Tower in an art work of light produced by Speirs and Major of the United Kingdom.
Ø April 12: in a festive Friday from Vredenburg, Thomas Zehetmair will lead the Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Choir and a cast of significant vocal talent in Beethoven’s iconic Symphony representing respect, tolerance, peace and joy, Number Nine. As a prelude, Dutch composer Peter van Onna will present his ‘Treaty of Utrecht’ suite and as a coda, students, alumni and international teachers of the Utrecht Conservatory will join cross-genre forces in an Ubuntu jazz project, named for the term used by Bishop Desmond Tutu for true reconciliation, ubuntu. Alas, this concert is sold out, but it will be broadcast live, as well as delayed live by both ‘Radio Four’ and the ‘Concertzender’.
April 13: for this event there is room for everyone and it is FREE! De Slag om Vrede: the Battle for Peace is a music theatre spectacle that will take
place on the roof of the tunnel over the A2 highway – the future geographical
heart of this immensely growing and young city. Please come and participate as
passive attendance is impossible! This is doable! This spectacle has been
conceived by wwclassics and WINK, dynamic Utrecht event architects (www.welcometowink.nl), composed in
commission by Tom Holkenbourg - alias Junkie XL – constructed in a concept by
Luca Andrea Stappers (monsterverbond) with texts by Paul Feld (Growing Up in
Public). The spectacle will be performed
by the Grammy award-winning Metropole Orchestra directed by Jules Buckley, the
Cathedral Choir School Of Utrecht, actors and dancers from the University of
Applied Arts Utrecht and, last - but certainly not least, 200 soldiers provided
by- even commanded by- the Dutch Ministry of Defense. O yes, I almost forgot
the fireworks! What’s the story here? The historic and significant move from
the battlefield to the negotiations table: captains of war become super heroes
of diplomacy. So Welcome all! Free! The more the merrier! You can reserve a (paid)
parking space in advance or be adventurous and step up into one of the Army
vehicles which will transport the public from downtown city centre to the A2
location. Where wellies and raincoats because
you never know in Holland in April: it could get muddy and wild! But it is for
sure war and peace and party! and for sure it was!
Ø April 15-17: in close cooperation with the Centre for the Humanities of Utrecht University, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Edward Said, an icon of the philosophy of respect for the other, significant in his own time, still newsworthy in ours. This academic conference is sold out, yet there are still a few places for the cultural program that will be presented, initiated in commission by wwclassics by the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation: In the Time of Not Yet, with key note speeches by Mariam Said and Maestro Daniel Barenboim. April 15: a concert by Utrecht String Quartet in cooperation with pianist Karim Said, in works by Ullman, Bosmans, Boulez, Schoenberg and Schumann. April 16: an evening with works by filmmaker Udi Aloni and his Freedom Theatre of Jemen Refugee Camp. April 17: Now the Fields are Open, an evening of choreography by Iranian citizen of Norway Hooman Sharifi: traditional Persian music in confrontation with western classical ballet and hip hop. For tickets to all these events, please see www.vredevanutrecht2013. nl or, for April 17, our partner www.springutrecht.nl.
Fast forward to June when yet another UUtrecht conference will be undertaken concerning the dark side of the Treaty of Utrecht, the slave trade: the Post-Colonial Legacy conference has given us all profound thought. How does one cope with this never-ending evil, realizing that there are more slaves on earth these days than ever before, in this year that we ‘celebrate’ ending it in the Netherlands, in this year that ‘Lincoln’ is yet again a hero? For the cultural program to accompany this second academic conference in our Treaty of Utrecht year, wwclassics, in close cooperation with Tori Oso of Utrecht and the Stadsschouwburg- City Theatre of Utrecht- has programmed an evening of stand up music, comedy and debate entitled ‘Kid Dynamite’. For tickets, please see the vredevanutrecht website and/or www.stadschouwburg-utrecht.nl.
Fast forward to August 31: the final evening of the Festival of Early Music Utrecht as well asthe first evening of contemporary music festival Gaudeamus Music Week, certainly reason to gather forces to produce an exceptional event on the Dom Square: DJVJ Beats Baroque. After a performance by Lars Ulrik Mortensen and The European Union Baroque Orchestra of works by Handel and Croft, the public will immerge from the Dom cathedral and be immersed in a new work by Dutch composer René Uijlenhoet, a Treaty of Utrecht commission that will involve 6 carillons from European cities relevant to the Treaty, performed and sampled by carilloners Arie Abbenes and Malgosia Fiebig in dialogue with live performance from the Dom tower instrument. Visually accompanied by a Born Digital production, slowly but surely these historic yet hip sounds will give way to ‘the beat’ whereupon local hero Thomas Kypski and international golden boy Francesco Tristano will DJ us through the night, assisted by the Born Digital visuals Utrecht has come to admire in the past few years.
Fast forward to September 13- 22 when Festival ‘De Basis’ will bring art, music, theatre, education, and participation to the former US Army base Soesterberg, an amazing landscape full of (cold war) history and as yet untold mystery. More on this program very soon so stay tuned to this special year of 2013!
wwclassics, as commissioned by the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation. vredefor you tube fun see:
for a complete biography, see W & W