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Passionate curiosity as a driving artistic force – projects of the conductor Markus Stenz in 2017/18

In a recent interview with music journalist Danny Riley, Markus Stenz was asked why new music inspired such enthusiasm and intense interest on his part, and why he so passionately championed it.. He gave this response: “It all stems from my genuine curiosity for music. I think the biggest asset these composers have is that they can speak to us with total immediacy. There is nothing that is between us and their time, and that makes the living composers different from any music from the past that we conduct.”

As the principal conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Stenz regularly programmes concerts that contrast old and new with the aim of developing “pluralistic listening routines” in our now long since pluralistic society: “To visit music from the past and maybe come up with interesting combinations, or build bridges for people to visit the past through the ears of a contemporary composers, or vice versa.” Even in the first concerts of the 2017/18 season in Amsterdam and Utrecht, he combined Wagner or Beethoven with Joey Roukens or Rob Zuidam, while on 30 September he conducted a première in the Concertgebouw with Pascal Dusapin’s double concerto “At Swim-Two-Birds”.

The Rhineland-born conductor, 52, has engagements across the world in the coming months. His second permanent position alongside Hilversum is in Baltimore in the US state of Maryland, where he holds the post of principal guest conductor.

On 28 November, Markus Stenz will now be conducting the first German performance of Detlev Glanert’s “Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch” in the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg – a fascinating oratorio-like work whose world première the German conductor directed just a year ago with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.
Markus Stenz can also be experienced in Germany on several other occasions: in Hanover (21 + 22 January 2018, Staatsoper), in Berlin (16 + 17 May 2018, Konzerthaus), and Dortmund (9 June 2018). In Munich, Stenz will conduct the Austrian composer Franz Schreker’s epochal stage work “Die Gezeichneten” (The Stigmatized) at three performances in May (12+15+19 May, Nationaltheater) – this work, written after the First World War, fuelled hopes of a new blossoming of opera after Richard Wagner. Stenz already undertook the musical direction of this extremely complex work in Cologne in 2013 with the director Patrick Kinmonth, scoring a great success.

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