Amsterdam Sinfonietta has occupied a unique position as the only professional string orchestra in the Netherlands for the past 25 years. Founded in 1988, with Lev Markiz as its first artistic director, the ensemble has performed throughout the world, touring Europe, China, the United States and Australia. It has appeared at major venues sich as the Barbican Hall in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing and the Berlin Konzerthaus.
The ensemble comprises 22 string players who perform under the leadership of its concertmaster and artistic leader Candida Thompson. This approach to music- making without a conductor is what distinguishes the group from ‘regular’ chamber orchestras. It calls for an extremely intense degree of involvement from all the musicians. The repertoire covers a variety of styles, extending from the Baroque repertoire to contemporary works. Alongside performances of mainstream repertoire, the orchestra frequently champions unjustly neglected or new works. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has recently premièred compositions by David Matthews, Michel van der Aa, Kate Moore, Tigran Mansurian and Peteris Vasks. Leading composers such as Thomas Larcher, Rozalie Hirs and Sofia Gubaidulina are currently composing new works commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
The ensemble has gained a reputation for creating highly innovative programmes; its trademark versatility recently earned it the prestigious classical music prize De Ovatie [The Ovation] in 2013. It frequently presents original and compelling combinations of works, initiates surprising collaborations and embraces groundbreaking concepts involving video art, dance or theatre. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has worked with a host of internationally renowned musicians, such as Sergei Khachatryan, Barbara Hannigan, Thomas Hampson, David Fray, Janine Jansen, Dejan Lazic, Steven Isselis, Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Nino Gvetadze, Christianne Stotijn, Bobby McFerrin and Wende Snijders.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s educational KleuterSinfonietta performances are enjoyed by thousands of young children in the Netherlands each year. It also organises the Sinfonietta Strijkersdagen [Sinfonietta String Players Days], giving young musicians the opportunity to participate in workshops and perform in public in specially formed string orchestras.
Within the past decade Amsterdam Sinfonietta has produced an impressive array of CDs under Candida Thompson’s leadership, in collaboration with the high-quality
Channel Classics label. These include ‘The Mahler Album’ (2011), ‘Britten’ (2013) and ‘Shostakovich & Weinberg’ (2013). ‘The Argentinian Album’ was released in October 2014. Recently the orchestra has also recorded CDs for labels such as ECM, Sony Classical and Deutsche Grammophon.
During the last few seasons Amsterdam Sinfonietta has undertaken international tours with Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Martin Fröst. In early 2014 it joined forces with the American baritone Thomas Hampson, performing a unique song programme in twelve concert halls across Europe. Upcoming projects include a tour of Japan and concerts in the Benelux, Germany and Austria with the cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.