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Gaudeamus Festival knows no boundaries and keeps on innovating

Wednesday 10 May 2023 — The Gaudeamus Festival will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands, from 6 to 10 September 2023. The festival boasts more than 50 concerts, multidisciplinary performances, the Gaudeamus Award, workshops, lectures and a seminar. This year’s programme includes cellist, singer and composer Mabe Fratti, singer-songwriter and producer Klein, composer/performer Aurélie Lierman and Dutch clarinettist Jelmer de Moed. All of them will be presenting new works, many of which will be performed for the very first time. Ticket sales will start on Wednesday 10 May. The full programme will be announced on 16 August. 

Gaudeamus scouts talent from home and abroad and, as commission-granter, producer and podium, contributes to the development of the careers of innovative composers, (sound) artists, performers and musicians. They are challenged to create new, ground-breaking works. This is often accompanied by years of support and guidance.

Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman
One of the most poignant performances is undoubtedly Umva! by Rwandan and Rotterdam-based composer Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman. On the closing night of Gaudeamus, she will join with Silbersee to perform a portrait of her 113-year-old (!) grandfather Kanyoni Ladislas, who during his long life as a traditional doctor and hunter saw Rwanda transformed by colonisation, independence struggles, genocides and post-war massacres. The basis of this performance is formed by lengthy conversations that Aurélie recently had with her grandfather. Through headphones, the audience is immersed in a hybrid sound world in which family stories, traditions and rituals come to life. Boundaries between radio art and storytelling are blurred. Later in the year, the performance will also be played at De Doelen and at November Music.

Jelmer de Moed
Clarinettist Jelmer de Moed premieres Schaduwspel (‘Shadow Play’), for which he gave composition commissions to Amarante Nat and Nuno Lobo. Jelmer de Moed: “Shadows move between light and dark. They are always present but sometimes they suddenly grab our attention. In Schaduwspel, together with soprano Elisabeth Hetherington, I explore shadows in music, in space and in film. Between text and melody, leading and following, watching and being seen.” This is the first production of his newly founded Studio De Moed, in which he brings together makers from different disciplines with the aim of renewing and enriching classical concert practice. Jelmer de Moed receives long-term support from Gaudeamus.

Mabe Fratti
Cellist, singer and composer Mabe Fratti, originally from Guatemala and now based in Mexico, has become a fixture in Mexico’s thriving improvised music scene. In her hypnotic pieces, she combines contemporary elements like shoegaze and dreampop with ancestral influences ranging from Gregorian chants to Sephardic music. At TivoliVredenburg, together with her band and a contemporary choir from London, she will perform a brand new programme based around vintage analogue synthesizers, which will also form the basis for the album she will release later this year. In the weeks leading up to the performance, Gaudeamus has offered Fratti a space in the Willem Twee Studios in Den Bosch, to help her put the finishing touches to this performance.

British producer/songwriter Klein comes from the world of electronic music and is a big name in the UK underground scene. ‘Above ground’, she is increasingly emerging as an internationally respected performing artist. To call her work ‘multidisciplinary’ is a major understatement. Whether it is her feature film Care, her visual art, her web design projects or her work in film and sound: everything is intertwined. As a radical composer, she brings together elements of classical music, drone, noise and rap in an avant-garde manner. Klein, who is also receiving long-term support from Gaudeamus, is working on an entirely new performance for drums and visual illusions, which will see the light of day in September in TivoliVredenburg.

Voices of the Violin
When top violinist Joe Puglia had to return his beloved violin, which he had played for nine years, to its owner, he tried out more than eighty violins before finding a ‘successor’. He discovered how each violin has its own personality and voice. This insight is at the heart of Voices of the Violin: Puglia plays new pieces for solo violin, focusing not on the violinist but on the personality of the violin.

No one is too small
The four Amsterdam-based Portuguese members of the Maat Saxophone Quartet, winners of the Dutch Classical Talent Award 2022, call for action against climate change in their new programme No one is too small. We hear new music by young composers including Peter Vigh, Frieda Gustavs and Camiel Jansen, and we see powerful drawings by Portuguese artist Adriana Oliveira. After its premiere at the Gaudeamus Festival, the quartet will perform this programme more than 20 times in the Netherlands and Portugal over the course of the season.

Opening concert
As tradition dictates, during the opening concert Asko|Schönberg plays work by the five nominees for the Gaudeamus Award, and ‘musical journalist’ Andrea Voets performs her project Millenial History together with recorder player Sarah Jeffery and composer/keyboardist Luke Deane. Brazilian cellist, composer and instrument builder Rafaele Andrade explores the possibilities of the Knurl, a self-designed, cello-based, 3D-printed instrument that allows her to create electronic harmonies and manipulate sound in real time.

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