artikel in The Strad - juni 2011, over cultuur in Nederland

The Strad – June 2011

How to translate ‘toeter orkest’ – ‘honk orchestra’? This was the term that a spokesman of the new and very influential political party PVV used for the Residentie Orchestra, one of Hollands outstanding orchestras, in a popular television talkshow.
How to translate the tone of voice that the arts encounter these days in The Netherlands? Our society, for ages already known for its cultural life and creative musical environment, with its orchestras of not only great level but also always presenting interesting programs, known for its ensembles for chamber music and new music which are all of a sudden being called ‘left wing hobbyism’ and ‘subsidy profiteers’, seems to not recognise its own cultural calibre anymore. Think of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, of the Radio Orchestras, of the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Composer Louis Andriessen and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw – could they be called names by people who have no idea of what their music sounds like nor of the high international esteem they merit?
Maybe our community is not unique in being confronted with the new language that expresses arrogant looking down on precious art, but however heartbreaking it is to hear how easily art, with its capacity to question, to look beyond the obvious, with its multi-layered sensitivity that does not easily stand up against blank obtuseness, is being brutalised nowadays, the real issue is that people who were in this talkshow on the opposite side, who were there to talk on behalf of the orchestra and of government supporting the arts, were not able to defend the cause.
The Arts Council immediately turned to the economic argument, not the strongest or most imaginary. Sometimes a daring comparison with government support for football strikes a pose, but the elementary words about the existential values of the arts seem to have vanished from our language. Also disappeared: national subsidy for music schools, the idea that musical education belongs to raising our children, singing together in families and at school – the Dutch only sing with football games, and one better not listen.
It seems quite a logical development that the words about music as the ideal language to express both the joy and suffering of the human condition will not be recognised anymore.
However. Last year young string players of the Royal Conservatoire won National Violin Competitions for all age categories (Maxime Gulikers, Pieter van Loenen, Rosanne Philippens), Cello Competitions (Joann Whang, Hannah Collins), and one of our students is the new solo cellist of the Residentie Orchestra (Sietse-Jan Weijenberg). We started an Orchestra Master, we co-operate with the Conservatoire of Amsterdam in the National Youth Orchestra. Our teachers Vladimir Mendelssohn, Vera Beths, Kees Hülsmann and Michel Strauss play concert series with their students. Indeed always only a limited number of people value classical music. But potentially there is a much larger audience available – I myself played Schönbergs String Trio many times also for audiences of no education in classical music whatsoever, or for children, and this schoolyear the Royal Conservatoire and Codarts together performed the Gurrelieder, which was a resounding succes. The Royal Conservatoire hosts Masters T.I.M.E. (Music Theater) and the Joint Music Master for New Audiences and Innovative Practices. We are living a school broad project Improvisation. Recently students played their first Webern Opus 1, other students of the Classical Department created a theater production to be played in The Gemeente Museum The Hague in the Mahler Festival, ‘Alma’, the last orchestra concert of this schoolyear presents Rossini and Beethoven. The strong connection that classical students have with creative departments Composition, Art Science and Sonology, as well as the tradition of founding new ensembles to flourish in Dutch concert halls is still present at the Royal Conservatoire.
As our society is assembling ressentment against the arts because of lack of education and connection with music, our job as musicians becomes clearer again: we have the responsability for the whole area between score and audience. It is our joyful task to deliver music to our community.
Now thát has always been the Dutch way of making music anyhow!

The Hague, April 2011

Susanne van Els is Head of Classical Music at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, The Netherlands.
Susanne van Els was one of the leading musicians in The Netherlands. She was awarded the Alcuinus Prize of the City of Nijmegen in 1998, for her outstanding merits as a performing artist. Amongst others she was a member of String Trio Holland, Ives Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Schönberg Ensemble. A multitude of composers, including Louis Andriessen, have written solo pieces and concerts for her. A series of remarkable solo CDs was released internationally. Van Els played the Dutch premiere of Ligeti’s solo viola sonata, which she recorded on a Capella Amsterdam CD for harmonia mundi – it was awarded the Deutscher Schalplattenpreis and the Diapason d’Or de l’année 2009. She played a Carlo Antonio Testore, 1745.
  The Strad


To You - Elsevier

interview in Luister bij afscheid

Milhaud en To You

recensie To You



Trouw november 2009

recensie Milhaud

recensie Milhaud

bijna laatste concert met Schoenberg Ensemble

recensie laatste concert Susanne van Els als altiste Schoenberg Ensemble

cultuurcoordinator Veenendaal

recensies Lux Aeterna


lezing muziek en spiritualiteit


gemeenteraad Veenendaal

Susanne van Els speelt Hindemith onvergetelijk

Rapport aan Burgemeester en Wethouders van Nijmegen van de adviescommissie voor de Karel de Groteprijs inzake het toekennen van de Alcuinusprijs prijs aan Susanne van Els

Levertranen (roman), Bert van Heste

De Mozart-Saal in Wenen, de nieuwe Philharmonie in Berlijn...

Masterclass, door Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, in de Kleine Zaal van het ConcertGebouw.

Dagboek van een politica, Marjet van Zuijlen

Een zondagmiddag met J.J. Voskuil

Susanne van Els - Componeren is een vak

« Ga terug