Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Jubilee Season's New Year's Concert

Chief-conductor of The Hague's Baroque orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA), Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) has opened the new year with sold out performances centring around J.S. Bach's uplifting Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” (BWV 51). 

Performance locations of the programme included the Gothic Hall of The Hague's Council of State buildings (previously the van Wassenaer family's city palace) and Gent's historical concert hall De Bijloke, as part of the Belgian municipality's official new year's celebrations. 

2012-2013 sees the NDA orchestra and conductor Murphy celebrate their 10 year jubilee together with a festive season's programme in the NDA's home city of The Hague comprising symphonic, Baroque orchestral and chamber concerts. The season also sees the orchestra tour to China for the first time.

Murphy (centre, on viola) and the NDA Chamber Soloists 
 Council of State, The Hague 
 (Photo Fernando van Teijlingen)

Swedish Soprano Anna Jobrant 

The 2013 new year's programme saw Swedish soprano Anna Jobrant make her highly anticipated début with Murphy and the NDA. Alongside vocal music by Bach, Jobrant performed a selection of musical gems which she personally unearthed in Sweden's Düben music manuscript collection, including the Cantata “Ich will den Herrn loben” by the 17th century northern German composer Hanff, which also features on her new solo CD Düben Delights. 

The Hague's rich musical heritage was also represented with performances of instrumental music by van Wassenaer and Hacquart. The programme was completed by Vivaldi's Winter concerto in a special version for recorder and strings featuring German recorder virtuoso Anna Stegmann. 

Warm and Genuine 

Following her studies with Baroque singing doyenne Emma Kirkby, Soprano Jobrant (Gothenburg, 1973) has made an international name for herself, impressing with her keen musicality, emotional warmth, genuine communication and radiant stage presence. With her beautifully warm, open voice and finely-honed technique, Jobrant produces, seemingly effortlessly, highly polished, beautifully formed, eloquent results. Her performances regularly feature highly interesting repertoire – music which she has often rediscovered herself.

This January, Jobrant won the hearts of the Dutch and Belgian audiences with her performances of Bach's Cantata no. 51 as well as with her noticeably stirring renditions of Stötzel's “Bist du bei mir” and J. Cph. Bach's classic aria “Mein Freund ist mein, und ich bin sein” from the Cantata “Meine Freundin, du bist schön”. 

Swedish soprano Anna Jobrant 
 (Photo Fernando van Teijlingen)

German recorder virtuoso Anna Stegmann 
 (Photo Fernando van Teijlingen)

Murphy and the Music of Bach 

Alongside his attention for classical symphonic repertoire, NDA conductor Simon Murphy has earned a strong reputation for his distinctive performances of Bach's sacred and orchestral works. 

“Effervescent Bach! … conductor Simon Murphy doesn't only present the Baroque in a lively and captivating manner – he paces the musical development beautifully, letting the music breathe and rest along the way, whereby the listener's ears remain fresh and alert until the final chord.” Dagblad van het Noorden 

His appearances at major European festivals including the Holland Festival of Early Music Utrecht, Händel Festspiele Halle and Bachfest Leipzig with music by Bach, Handel and their contemporaries have garnered considerable critical acclaim. 

“Murphy is a Baroque musician with “guts”: a conductor with the passion and conviction of a born missionary. He serves his music up to his audience con spirito and presto energico.” De Volkskrant, The Netherlands

“Murphy's soundscape is refreshingly lively, transparent and full of noblesse, successfully communicating full emotional range and capturing the finesses of the musical style beautifully.” Concerto, Germany

Murphy's other recent concert highlights 

In October 2012, Murphy opened the NDA's 10th anniversary season with the symphonic programme Black Magic. Exploring the late 18th/early 19th century's obsession with destiny and the supernatural, the programme featured music from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Reichardt's Macbeth, Rust's Colma's Klage, von Weber's Der Freischütz and Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream with soloists including German soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto. 

In November 2012, he made his conducting début in China with appearances in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Beijing, also giving master-classes and workshops at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Beijing Central Conservatory. In December 2012, Murphy made his Baltic début conducting Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Latvian State Choir in Riga, earning several return conducting engagements, including for Riga's musical celebrations as European cultural capital in 2014. 

Upcoming performances 

In May 2013, Murphy will conduct the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in a double bill featuring music by Corelli, Handel, Stamitz, Abel and JC Bach. Entitled Roman Holiday and New Generation, the concerts will be broadcast live by the Australian national broadcaster, ABC. At home in the Netherlands, Murphy's NDA 10 year jubilee season includes symphonic programmes Heaven on Earth and Ein Heldenleben with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Schmitt, Romberg and Spohr. 

Background – About Simon Murphy 

Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973) is chief-conductor of The Hague's Baroque Orchestra, The New Dutch Academy. He studied with the leading lights of the Dutch early music movement, performing extensively with legendary figures such as Gustav Leonhardt. Murphy has won much recognition for his work as a “repertoire refresher”, working with modern symphony orchestras as well as specialist, period instrument orchestras, presenting fresh perspectives on established masterpieces and introducing newly rediscovered musical gems:

“The repertoire-refresher, conductor Simon Murphy radiates joie de vivre. His interpretation distinguishes itself by its enthusiasm and his approach possesses a classic élan, displaying delicate sensitivity.” 
Diapason, France

“Murphy exhibits liveliness, groove, great dynamic profile and beautiful use of timbre” 
Frankfurter Neue Presse, Germany

“Breathtaking, compelling, technically brilliant and unusually effervescent! 
Murphy has it all - verve and pulsating temperament - presented with the finest finesse.” 
Concerto, Germany

“Murphy's music making is full of imagination, great love and unstoppable drive” 
NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands

Relevant Links

Murphy/NDA CDs on PentaTone Classics 


Murphy's “legendary” recording of Corelli's Concerti Grossi made with the NDA at the Holland Festival of Early Music Utrecht recently chosen in the top five highlights of the festival's 30 year history