The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Based in Amsterdam, the Concertgebouworkest was founded in 1888 and officially received the appellation ‘Royal’ on the occasion of its Centenary Celebration in 1988. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands is patroness.
The Concertgebouworkest is one of the very best orchestras in the world. It has long garnered praise for its performances of the music of Mahler and Bruckner. It also upholds a number of time-honoured concert traditions, such as the Passion performance and the Christmas Matinee. The orchestra has always collaborated with the greatest conductors and soloists. Such composers as Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Igor Stravinsky all conducted the Concertgebouworkest on more than one occasion. To this day, the orchestra continues to foster long-term relationships with contemporary composers.
The Concertgebouworkest has cultivated a very distinct, individual sound, one which is due in no large part to the unique acoustics of The Concertgebouw. Another determining factor is the influence exerted by the orchestral musicians, and that of the chief conductors, of whom there have been just seven to date: Willem Kes, Willem Mengelberg, Eduard van Beinum, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly, Mariss Jansons and Daniele Gatti. Nikolaus Harnoncourt was largely responsible for the orchestra’s reputation with respect to eighteenth-century repertoire. Iván Fischer is honorary guest conductor with effect from the 2021–22 season. Pierre Audi works with the orchestra as its creative partner.
In addition to some eighty concerts performed at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the orchestra gives forty concerts at other major concert halls throughout the world, reaching roughly 250,000 concertgoers every year. The orchestra expands its reach through videos, streaming, and radio and television broadcasts. It also releases CD and DVD recordings on its Concertgebouworkest Live label.
Each year, the Academy of the Concertgebouworkest successfully moulds young, talented musicians into orchestral players of the highest calibre. Every summer, Concertgebouworkest Young brings together hidden talent aged fourteen to seventeen from all over Europe.
The Concertgebouworkest is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Municipality of Amsterdam, sponsors, funds and numerous donors all over the world. The largest portion of its income is generated by proceeds from the concerts it gives in and outside the Netherlands.