Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is one of the very best orchestras in the world. Time and time again, critics have lauded its unique sound. The RCO’s string section has been called ‘velvety’, the sound of the brass ‘golden’, the timbre of the woodwinds ‘distinctly personal’ and the percussion have an international reputation. While the exceptional acoustics of the Concertgebouw play an important role in this respect, no other orchestra sounds like the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Main Hall. Equally important is the quality of the musicians themselves and the influence exerted on the orchestra by its six chief conductors: Willem Kes (1888-1895), Willem Mengelberg (1895–1945), Eduard van Beinum (1945–1959), Bernard Haitink (1963–1988), Riccardo Chailly (1988–2004) and Mariss Jansons (2004-2015). With effect from the 2016-2017 season, Daniele Gatti will assume the post of chief conductor.
Leading composers such as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky conducted the orchestra on more than one occasion. The orchestra still regularly collaborates with contemporary composers, including John Adams, George Benjamin, Tan Dun and the orchestra’s three house composers, Michel van der Aa, Detlev Glanert and Richard Rijnvos.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is made up of 120 players hailing from over 25 countries. Despite its size, the orchestra actually functions more like a chamber orchestra in terms of the sensitivity with which its members listen to, and work in tandem with, one another. Indeed, this requires both a high individual calibre and a great sense of mutual trust and confidence.
In addition to some eighty concerts performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra gives forty concerts at leading concert halls throughout the world each year. In celebration of its 125th anniversary, in 2013 the orchestra undertook a world tour, visiting six continents in a single year. Thanks to regular radio and television broadcasts, that exposure is further increased. The orchestra has made over 1,100 LP, CD and DVD recordings to date, many of which have won international distinctions. Since 2004, the Concertgebouw Orchestra boasts its own in-house label, RCO Live. In 2013 RCO Editions was launched, the orchestra’s innovative online application for iPad and iPhone.