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Dallas Symphony European Tour: Triumphant Homecoming!

Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in Noteworthy

By Erica Baker

Dallas Symphony European Tour: Triumphant Homecoming!

Erica BakerWhat a thrill it was to be in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam with the Dallas Symphony last night! The concert was once again sold out, and 2,000 people were treated to a performance of Korngold's Violin Concerto and Mahler's Sixth Symphony.

And what a treat it was. Like in Eindhoven, Hilary Hahn was celebrated with three curtain calls and performed her encore of Gigue from the E Major Partita by Bach to the audience's delight. Also like Eindhoven, after Mahler Six, huge ovations and an encore performance of "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde followed.

"If there was ever a time to be proud to be a Dallasite, it was Tuesday night," said Scott Cantrell in the Dallas Morning News. "In this Dutch city's 125-year-old Concertgebouw, where the world's top orchestras parade through one after another, where standing ovations are rare, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra got one after every piece it played.

"In one of the world's most celebrated acoustical settings - one whose spacious, luminous sound inspired the design of Dallas' Meyerson Symphony Center - the orchestra shimmered, blazed, purred and blasted like, yes, one of the world's finest," Cantrell continued.

"It was the kind of homecoming a conductor might dream of," wrote Jerome Weeks of Art & Seek.

"Dallas Symphony's Mahler was absolutely fabulous: transparent, crisp at times, warm - convincing" wrote Rolf Wennekes, the DSO's translator. "What a sound show. And what a moving discourse! And for Jaap many things came together in Amsterdam. The city loves him."

I couldn't dream of a more successful concert last night, and it seems I am not alone.

The Concertgebouw is a beautiful hall. When I arrived this afternoon for rehearsal and stepped into the hall, I felt as if I had traveled back in time to 1888, when the Concertgebouw opened its doors for the first time. On the walls of the Grote Zall (Great Hall, where the symphony performed) are the names of many famous composers, including Mahler, Mozart, Wagner, Handel, Haydn and countless others. If ever you find yourself in Amsterdam, I encourage you to take a tour of the Concertgebouw, it is truly magnificent.

Not only is the hall beautiful architecturally (and acoustically!), the Concertgebouw holds a very special place in the lives of both Maestro van Zweden and DSO Concertmaster Alexander Kerr. At age nineteen, Jaap van Zweden became the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. When Maestro van Zweden began his conducting career in 1995, Alexander Kerr, at age 26, became the Concertgebouw's concertmaster. I know they are both very excited to be back onstage here in Amsterdam; the history at the Concertgebouw is rich for Maestro van Zweden and our orchestra, and it was a joy to be a part of the homecoming.

For the next two days, we are all able to enjoy a little down time in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Doug Howard, principal percussion, and Karen Schnackenberg, principal librarian, will be traveling to the battlefield of Arnhem, where World War II's Operation Market Garden took place.  Ann Marie Hudson, associate principal viola, will continue her training for the Boston Marathon with a 22 mile run through Amsterdam. I myself hope to finally make it to the Rijksmuseum.

If you have any suggestions for outings in Amsterdam, please let me know in the comments.  And to stay up to date on all things tour, don't forget to follow the Dallas Symphony on Facebook ( and Twitter (@DallasSymphony).


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3 comments for “Dallas Symphony European Tour: Triumphant Homecoming!”

  • Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 9:52:39 AM

    I hate to disappoint you but standing ovations in Amsterdam are not rare at all; in fact they are the rule and something is seriously wrong if there is no standing ovation. Nevertheless a fine concert it was!

    Peter van Laarhoven

  • Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 9:59:51 AM

    I Don't have enough words to express my feelings after reading your report. All I can say is THANK YOU DSO for representing Dallas at such a great level, very proud of you and the Maestro!

    Aída Cortés

  • Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:40:41 AM

    One of the links from Facebook leads to a dead end (404 error code). The main link has the .aspx on the end and works.

    Great column and great concert; I watched the streamed video a couple of hours after the live broadcast. Excellent video and wonderful concert!


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