For the grey and the cool

Marloes Tervoort, Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Standing on Museum Square, admiring the neoclassical Concertgebouw, it’s hard to imagine that as recently as 1881, when the build was approved, this was all marshland beyond the city’s boundaries. However, with the newly opened Stedelijk Museum diagonally across the road and the renovated Rijksmuseum almost immediately opposite, this is now the cultural place to be.

My experiences with the Concertgebouw are many. I saw rising star Wouter Hamel and I often went to see the Sunday morning classical concerts, half asleep amidst a predominantly grey audience.  However, TRACKS (short, powerful one-hour concerts every last Thursday evening of the month) are my favourite, not in the least because of the after-concert cocktails in the glass foyer on the side of the building. I also enjoy the audience they attract: thirty and forty something people that enjoy a great concert but don’t always have time because they need to work, play sports, rest and raise children.

In 2013, the concert hall celebrates its 125th anniversary and in that time it reached world fame with big names like Rachmaninov, Mahler, Strauss, Maria Callas and Cecilia Bartoli gracing the stage. To celebrate this rich past, every month in the anniversary year has a different theme, from ‘The Roaring Twenties’ in April and ‘The Sixties’ in August to ‘Nut crackers and divas’ in September. The website (also available in English) lists the full programme.

And the fact that I will soon attend a ‘kindergarten’ concert, illustrates that the Concertgebouw is now of all ages. I’ll be taking three happy little girls to a concert for strings; a great opportunity to reduce the average age.

Het Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwplein 10, Amsterdam