The Spring Festival in 2020 will be an historic occasion. The event marks the retirement of our teacher, Cornelis de Bondt, and we are planning a magnificent send-off. Cornelis de Bondt was not only a key member of the Composition department, but also a figure of national renown as a sharp criticaster and visionary activist. For decades he followed in the footsteps of Jan van Vlijmen, Hein Kien, Louis Andriessen en Dick Raaijmakers in training many students, not only as good professionals but far more importantly as confident and engaged artists. To protect his work and preserve the pure autonomy of his art, years ago De Bondt decided to withdraw his work from the public arena.
De Bondt has spent the last few years working on a substantial new oeuvre that we will pay tribute to with the premières of four new compositions. The DOSlab Sonatas for piano are intriguing, extremely concentrated compositions, some of which can be performed either alone or simultaneously. In his new string quartet, De Bondt looks through Beethoven to Bach and vice versa. Pianist Gerard Bouwhuis, together with various other pianists, will perform the première of Metamorphose I in an initial version for a keyboard ensemble.The grand finale will be the première of the majestic Musica Recta for a large ensemble and soprano, written with Reinbert de Leeuw in mind, played by students from the Royal Conservatoire’s Classical Music department and from Codarts.
There is also a lot more on the festival’s programme. Numerous renowned and up-and-coming ensembles will be appearing to perform new work by the students, including the masterful New European Ensemble, which has become a regular guest at the Spring Festival. Ensemble Spaceship, formed last year in the Composition department, will present a new programme that is again full of vitality. Dominic Jarlkarganova will stage her spectacular dance opera and the departments will be presenting the results of their numerous collaborative projects. They include the vocal project, our first project with the saxophone department, and an intriguing new musical production embracing various genres that is the fruit of the collaboration with students from the Royal Academy of Art.
The Royal Conservatoire is saying farewell to one of its most eminent figures in 2020, but the Spring Festival will once again demonstrate the wealth of talent there is among the institution’s young composers.