The Netherlands Chamber Choir exists since 1937, and has been one of the world’s top choirs for decades. The Netherlands Chamber Choir has been internationally praised by critics for its homogeneous sound and for the soloist quality of the singers. One of the choir’s missions is to keep choral music very much alive as an art form, by looking for new formats, by innovative commissions and exciting collaborations. It results in concerts that are not only perceived as beautiful, but that appeal to all senses.
Education and participation are a vital part of the choir’s mission. The Netherlands Chamber Choir provides coaching, workshops, and ‘adopts’ choirs as supporting act for their own concerts.
Besides their own concert series, the choir often collaborates with renowned ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, ASKO|Schönberg, La Fenice and Concert Lorrain.
From August 1, 2015 Peter Dijkstra watches over the unique sound of the Netherlands Chamber Choir The Netherlands Chamber Choir had Felix de Nobel as its first chief conductor. Uwe Gronostay, Tõnu Kaljuste, Stephen Layton and Risto Joost were his respective successors. Each of them gave the Netherlands Chamber Choir, and choral music in general, new, major impulses.
Together with Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf can be considered as one of the greatest composers of Late Romantic lieder. Both of them followed the tradition of Schubert and Schumann, but intensified the gerne with Wagner's techniques of text declamation and harmonic development. What makes Wolf's song cycles special, is the fact that often they are devoted to a single poet, like in his Mörike-Lieder (1889), Eichendorff-Lieder (1889) en Goethe-Lieder (1890). For each cycle, he spent a considerable time studying the text to create the best matching music. His accomodation of musical structure, harmonic subteties and pianistic texture are all inseperable from the lyrics. Partly due to his psychological sophistication his songs can be heard as miniature operas.
Even though he did start writing on several full-fledged operas, it never became a true succes. Only his opera Der Corregidor (1896) was completed. Things went downhill from there. In 1897, Wolf had a nervous breakdown as a consequence of a syphilis infection he had since his teens. After a failed suicide attempt, he was admitted to a clinic in Vienna. The somber Michelangelo-Lieder (1898) would become his last completed composition. Wolf died in 1903, three weeks before his 43st birthday.