Holland Festival 2018

International Performing Arts Festival

By Holland Festival

Holland Festival 2018

Holland Festival 2018 - promoHolland Festival

Holland Festival 2018 (2018) by Maurice BoyerHolland Festival

The seventy-first edition of the Holland Festival was the final year with Ruth Mackenzie as the artistic director.

The festival continued its tradition of innovation with Mackenzie, who placed her own emphases. The Holland Festival became even more accessible and audience-friendly, and showed more art outside the capital’s major music and theatre venues, as well as digital art, collaborations with visual artists and free events. The festival became more visible in the city, thanks to the colourful new corporate design that the Thonik design agency designed for the festival four years ago.

Holland Festival Tram 2018 (2018) by Maurice BoyerHolland Festival

For the whole month of June this year, ­Amsterdam was again dominated by the international performing arts with a wide variety of performances, concerts, discussions and media attention.

The festival presented art at usual and unusual places, such as the Lloyd Hotel tower and the square in front of the entrance to the Stedelijk Museum. The Holland Festival tram also returned to the city: a GVB tram was entirely clad with the festival colours and reminded thousands of passers-by every day that it was Holland Festival again.

Citydressing 2018 (2018-06-08) by Ada NieuwendijkHolland Festival

The figures: 41 companies performed 107 productions in 25 days. 

The festival achieved an average seat occupancy of 80% and welcomed 83,000 visitors. The free events, including Longplayer in the Lloyd Hotel tower, Danse des guerriers de la ville, Opera in the park (a live screening of Les contes d’Hoffmann in Park Franken­dael), Ralph Lemon’s Chorus, the lunch concerts in the bicycle passage of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum and free context activities accounted for 16,000 visitors. 

Hadra Chefchaounia (2018-06-20) by Ensemble Rhoum El BakkaliHolland Festival


borders and boundaries 

Over the past four years the Holland Festival did not ignore international political and social developments, and showed what the role of art and artists can be in the midst of major social changes. This was expressed in festival themes such as The Edges of Europe (2016), Democracy (2017) and this year: Borders and Boundaries. 

Hadra Chefchaounia (2018-06-20) by Ensemble Rhoum El BakkaliHolland Festival

Hadra is an ancient musical sufi tradition from the Moroccan mountain town of Chefchaouen, exclusively performed by women. The famous hadra choir from Chefchaouen performed an intimate concert at The Meervaart. They also performed at the Holland Festival Proms, in which the choir performed in an innovative collaboration with the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra and the Orchestre Temsamani (Tetouan).

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower (2018-06-21) by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson ReagonHolland Festival

The American composers and musicians Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower is a post-apocalyptic piece that draws on two hundred years of Black music. The work is based on Octavia Butler’s science fiction novels in which a young woman leaves a gated community in the suburbs of a future Los Angeles, racked by escalating violence caused by rampant corporate takeover of public resources, poverty and climate change.

Opening Holland Festival 2018 - Richters Patterns (2018-06-07) by Ensemble Musikfabrik, Cappella Amsterdam, Morton Feldman, Marcus Schmickler, Gerhard Richter, and Corinna BelzHolland Festival

Many companies and performances explored numerous kinds of boundaries during this edition. 

Several double concerts crossed national borders. The Gurdjieff Ensemble from Armenia performed with the Hewar ensemble from Syria. The Dutch Metropole Orkest shared the stage with soloists of the Syrian Big Band in Carré. The Kronos Quartet went a step further, spending an entire day at the Muziekgebouw and the Bimhuis with numerous international guests from Vietnam, Iran and Mali among others. Figurative boundaries were also explored, like those between artists and the audience, the various art disciplines and the limits of permissible behaviour. The dividing lines between music, film and visual art were overturned in the opening performance Richters Patterns, a concert with film based on work by German painter Gerhard Richter. Overstepping social boundaries was the subject of performances such as Gesualdo and Crowd.

Metropole Orkest & Soloists of the Syrian Bigband (2018-06-08) by Metropole Orkest, Kinan Azmeh, Moslem Rahal, Dima Orsho, Ibrahim Keivo, Eric Vloeimans, Calliope Tsoupaki, and Jules BuckleyHolland Festival

The Syrian Big Band was the first of its kind in the Arab world and gave big band a voice in Syria. Working with the Metropole Orkest, soloists of the Syrian Big Band played a concert at Carré.

Kronos Sessions (2018-06-17) by Kronos QuartetHolland Festival

The world-famous Kronos Quartet took over the Muziekgebouw and the Bimhuis for a whole day. A mini-festival with concerts, films, public master classes and plenty of music by Kronos and friends.

Written on Skin rehearsals (2018-06-27) by Geoffroy Schied - Mahler Chamber OrchestraHolland Festival

Composer in focus: George Benjamin

George Benjamin, one of the most important contemporary composers, was the composer in focus at this year’s Holland Festival. In a special programme, which the festival produced in consultation with the composer, we showed the music theatrical development in his work – from one of his first vocal compositions to his very latest opera Lessons in Love and Violence, in which transgressive behaviour was also portrayed. The programme also included a concert performance of his opera Written on Skin, the composition Sometime Voices at the Holland Festival Proms and an evening in Pathé Tuschinski with the composer accompanying the silent film classic Der müde Tod by Fritz Lang on piano.

Lessons in Love and Violence (2018-06-25) by Dutch National Opera and George BenjaminHolland Festival

George Benjamin and the Dutch National Opera premiered their newest opera Lessons in Love and Violence during the festival. One of Benjamin's most succesful works the opera Written on Skin was was performed as well by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Holland Festival Proms: Tribute to Blackstar (2018-06-23) by s t a r g a z e, Anna Calvi, Soap & Skin, Laetitita Sadier, and Jherek BischoffHolland Festival

On the 23rd of June the Holland Festival Proms took place. For a whole day, from noon until late at night, there was a vibrant mini-festival in The Concertgebouw. The Holland Festival Proms consisted of five concerts and an installation. With music by o.a. Ensemble Rhoum El Bakkali, Daniel Bjärnason, Colin Benders, David Bowie and George Benjamin.

Trojan Women (2018-06-17) by National Changgeuk Theatre of Korea and Ong Ken SenHolland Festival

For years now, the festival’s consistently high seat occupancy has reflected how the audience appreciates the festival and keeps returning for its exciting programming. It also means that the audience is adventurous, because this year’s programme included plenty of artists who had never before been seen in the Netherlands. The festival presented the French artist Caroline Guiela Nguyen’s performance Saigon and her countryman Mohamed El Khatib’s play Stadium, both of which provided much material for discussion. Interesting work was shown by choreographers Anne Nguyen, also from France, and Nadia Beugré from Côte d’Ivoire. The National Changgeuk Company of Korea and director Ong Keng Sen’s opera Trojan Women was also impressive.

Holland Festival Proms: Electro Symphonic Orchestra (2018-06-23) by Colin BendersHolland Festival

The Dutch artists Colin Benders and Arno Schuitemaker made their debut at this year’s festival with new productions. Both Benders with his Electro Symphonic Orchestra at the Holland Festival Proms and Schuitemaker with his dance performance The Way You Sound Tonight explored the limits of their disciplines.

Steve McQueen on Paul Robeson (2018-06-10) by Steve McQueen and David DibosaHolland Festival

As well as these promising
artists, the festival showed work by today’s big names. 

For three weeks, Steve McQueen was a guest at Loods 6 with his video installation End Credits. 

Neues Stück I Seit sie - Ein Stück von Dimitiris Papaioannou (2018-06-20) by Dimitris Papaioannou and Tanztheater WuppertalHolland Festival

Tanztheater Wuppertal caused long queues at the Stadsschouwburg with its first new, full-length performance since founder Pina Bausch’s death - directed by Greek artist Dimitris Papaioannou.

hyena (2018-06-13) by Georg Friedrich Haas, Mollena Lee Williams-Haas, and Klangforum WienHolland Festival

The Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas and his wife, the actress and writer Mollena Lee Williams-Haas, surprised the audience with HYENA, a narrative concert about Williams-Haas’ alcoholism. A documentary about their life together "The Artist and The Pervert" by Beatrice Behn and Rene Gebhardt was also shown during the festival.

Crowd (2018-06-27) by Gisèle VienneHolland Festival

Gisèle Vienne returned to the festival with her hypnotizing dance performance Crowd. Crowd is a dialogue with our intimate self in all its deepest aspects.

Roman tragedies (2018-06-15) by Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Ivo van HoveHolland Festival

Ivo van Hove and Toneelgroep Amsterdam performed the last Dutch performances of Roman tragedies in Royal Theatre Carré.

JR (2018) by FC BergmanHolland Festival

The Flemish actors’ collective FC Bergman presented its spectacular production JR at the Central Market Hall in Amsterdam West

Gesualdo (2018-06-22) by De Warme Winkel and Nederlands KamerkoorHolland Festival

The Nederlands Kamerkoor and De Warme Winkel searched for the sublime in music theatre about the Italian composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo.

Kata (2018-06-09) by Anne Nguyen and Compagnie par TerreHolland Festival

The dance performance Kata by Anne Nguyen and Compagnie Par Terre. In this choreography hip hop mixes with martial arts.

Anna Karenina - allerdings mit anderem text und auch anderer melodie (2018-06-08) by Deutschesschauspielhaus Hamburg, Clemens Sienknecht, and Barbara BürkHolland Festival

Anna Karenina - allerdings mit anderem text und auch mit anderer melodie by the Deutschesschauspielhaus Hamburg. The classic Anna Karenina as a swirling 70s and 80s radio show.

Dear Esther (2018-06-23) by The Chinese Room and Jessica CurryHolland Festival

Another priority of Ruth Mackenzie was digital art. This year it led to a day at the Muziekgebouw in which two musical computer games could be experienced live: Dear Esther, by The Chinese Room, and Oikospiel II: Heat Cantata, by David Kanaga. Kronos Quartet and visual artist Trevor Paglen also presented the multimedia concert Sight Machine about the ubiquity of artificial intelligence.

Lauren op IJburg (2018-06-16) by Ada NieuwendijkHolland Festival

The Holland Festival also produced an extensive and successful context programme for an audience seeking an in-depth look at the festival themes. As well as the always-popular introductions and follow-ups, the programme included interviews, films, radio shows, various education projects and more.

Chorus (2018-06-15) by Ralph LemonHolland Festival

Again this year the festival provided freely accesible events. Such as Opera in the park, the dance performance Chorus by choreographer Ralph Lemon that we coproduced with the Stedelijk Museum and the music-installation Longplayer that could be visited during the whole of the festival in the tower of the Lloyd Hotel.

Credits: Story

Artistic team Holland Festival 2018

Artistic director: Ruth Mackenzie
General director: Annet Lekkerkerker

Programming Director dance & theatre: Annemieke Keurentjes
Programming Director music & music theatre: Jochem Valkenburg
Programmer: Ravian van den Hil

Credits: All media
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