Saturday, 6 December 2014

Gothic Project

During research this autumn in the historic Weimar Theatre archives for his Gothic Project, Simon Murphy has made some very exciting repertoire discoveries.

Containing original working material from the theatre's writers and directors including Goethe and Schiller, Murphy found exactly what he had been hoping for in the collection. Tales of the supernatural, of bracing Romantic turbulence, of horrific visions and terrifyingly irresistible destructive urges, of the eeriness of the unexplainable, of corrupted knights and vampires, jumped at him from the pages of the theatre's music manuscripts.


In the months since, Murphy has been enthusiastically weaving several of his musical discoveries into the Gothic Project's concert productions, enhancing the programmes' content and further tweaking the productions' flow and impact.

Intertwining powerful symphonic works with arias and spoken word, the project's theatrical concert productions include "Black Magic", "Great Scot" and "Gothic Stories". The programmes explore the world of ghosts, spirits, shape-shifters and the undead, as well as the real world heroes - flawed or otherwise - who battle them, with gripping stage and concert music by Mozart, Reichardt, Weber, Spohr, Gade, Mendelssohn, ETA Hoffmann, Lortzing, Marschner and Wagner, alongside the new Weimar discoveries. Literary works explored in the project's productions include Polidori's The Vampyre, Macpherson's Ossian, Shelly's Frankenstein, Apel and Laun's Tales of the Dead, Bürger's Lenore and Goethe's Faust.

The project's first concert production, "Black Magic", was recently successfully premièred by conductor Murphy and soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto in The Hague's Philipszaal.

Watch Murphy and Otto perform the Witches Scene from Reichardt's setting of Macbeth from the première performance of the programme "Black Magic"

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For more information on booking one of the productions
with Simon Murphy and the New Dutch Academy (halls or festivals),
or contracting one of the productions
with Simon Murphy as guest conductor (symphony orchestras),
please send an email to
or call direct on + 31 614 975 395

Monday, 1 December 2014

Egmont and Wallenstein

Simon Murphy has been asked to create and perform a special new production for the Netherlands' Council of State.

Commemorating the 450th anniversary of a seminal address of William the Silent to the Council of State in which the Dutch leader outlined his vision for what would become the Dutch constitution, Murphy's hand-tailored concert programme includes music, spoken word and arias from Reichardt's setting of Goethe's Egmont, from Schiller's Don Karlos and Wallensteins Tod, together with other vocal and orchestral works by Abel, Mozart and Beethoven.

             Simon Murphy Conductor with Dutch Royal Family

The engagement follows previous performances by Murphy and the New Dutch Academy for the Council of State and for the Dutch royal family. Vice-President Donner will host the January 2015 event.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Burning Desire

Cleopatra, Delilah, Judith, Lucretia ...

Opening the new season in The Netherlands, Murphy presents a fiery and passionate programme of arias by Handel, Vivaldi and their contemporaries, together with instrumental music by Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann. For the performances, Murphy directs The Hague's Baroque orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA), with soprano Julia Kogan.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

German Divas Headline Murphy's 2014 Festival Offerings

Fresh from her triumphs at the Salzburger Festspiele and Komische Oper Berlin, German star soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto treads the boards in The Hague this September for Simon Murphy's classical stage at the Netherlands' Embassy Festival. She is joined by the newly crowned, Nordhorn Competition winner, German recorder virtuoso Elisabeth Champollion for performances of works by Handel, Vivaldi and De Fesch.

Embassy Festival Classical / Jazz Programme 

Held annually in the beautiful, historic centre of The Hague, the Netherlands' Embassy Festival is a vibrant and cosmopolitan celebration of the world's musical and culinary arts.

Curated by Dutch-based Australian conductor and violist Simon Murphy (Sydney, 1973), the 2014 festival's classical/jazz stage features a rich variety of musical styles performed by leading international musicians in a series of concert programmes of music from 5 continents with repertoire spanning 5 centuries.

Murphy's previous festival editions featured Dutch musical superstars harpist Lavinia Meijer and violinist Frederieke Saeijs, Australian classical saxophonist Amy Dickson, Swedish lute virtuoso Karl Nyhlin, Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli, Germany's Boreas Quartett, award-winning Canadian soprano Stefanie True, U.S. pianist Bobby Mitchell and the Netherlands' celebrated Rembrandt Frerichs Trio.

This year's programme again offers audiences a delectable array of musical styles, from effervescent Baroque instrumental masterworks to sweaty, smoky Bluegrass; from delicate, French impressionist musical portraits to dynamic, modern, new world composition. Music for the ears, eyes, heart, soul and mind.

Festival Programme 2014

Headlining Murphy's 2014 festival programme is star soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto. The singer will appear in recital with pianist Stefan Haselhoff performing lieder by Dowland, Handel, Ravel, Mozart, Dvorak, Verdi, Kilpinen, Grieg and Schumann.

Other 2014 artists include the winner of the Netherlands’ National Music Prize, flautist Felicia van den End in a colourful recital programme with pianist Hanna Shybayeva of works by Piazzolla, Schubert and Poulenc. Dutch novelist Anja Sicking delivers spoken word, reading from her musical novel Silent Sin, Ardesko Chamber Orchestra performs music by Australian Composer Ross Edwards, and accordionist Marieke Grotenhuis plays a programme of intoxicating, hypnotic tango rhythms, complemented by works by Bartok, Bloch and contemporary Dutch composer Padding.

Stand out 2014 festival highlights:

13:30 Elisabeth Champollion, recorder, Sound Garden

Award-winning German recorder virtuoso Elisabeth Champollion presents enchanting, sensual works for her instrument. Performing on all sizes and models of recorder and other historical wind instruments, her deeply touching and effervescent style has captivated audiences around the world. Centring around Der Fluyten Lust-Hof (The Flute’s Garden of Delights) by 17th century Dutch master Van Eyck, Elisabeth performs a selection of works which Van Eyck himself originally performed outside on magical, long Dutch summer evenings. Elisabeth will be accompanied by Baroque lutenist Karl Nyhlin and Baroque cellist Aleksandra Renska, with a special appearance by soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto.

16:30 Gudrun Sidonie Otto, soprano, Around the World

German star soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto has established herself as one of the most exciting, international younger generation vocalists today. Since winning first prize in the prestigious Schloss Rheinsberg competition in 2007, Sidonie has wowed audiences with her style, virtuosity and warmth, performing on the illustrious stages of major European opera houses and festivals, from the Komische Oper Berlin to the Salzburger Festspiele. “Crystal clear and deeply expressive” lauded the German press. Accompanied by pianist Stefan Haselhoff, Sidonie presents a whirlwind musical trip Around the World with works by Dowland, Handel, Ravel, Mozart, Dvorak, Verdi, Kilpinen, Grieg and Schumann.

Festival Location and Atmosphere 

A stone's throw away from the city's historic concert halls, opera houses and art galleries, the tree-lined boulevard of The Hague's Lange Voorhout makes the perfect backdrop for the Embassy Festival's international classical and jazz programme. In this inspiring festival setting, along cobblestone streets once walked by Mozart, Beethoven and Dussek, modern audiences now have the opportunity to savour some of the world's most exciting contemporary performers in a series of engaging concert presentations. Other festival offerings include culinary delights from around the world, theatre, street art and more.

Embassy Festival Classical and Jazz Programme

Festival organiser is Prooost in partnership with the city of The Hague. Major festival sponsors include APM Terminals and ABN AMRO.

The Embassy Festival is part of The Hague's festive, cultural season's opening weekend “48 uur van Den Haag” (48 hours of The Hague)

Festival Details

Embassy Festival, Lange Voorhout (outside), The Hague
Saturday 6 September 2014, 12:00 to 21:00
Entrance FREE!

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For further information on conductor Simon Murphy's other projects and performing activities, visit:

Working at the Classic Philips Studios

Simon Murphy writes about his experiences working at the classic Philips Studios throughout the years in a highly personal article for the world's most read, on-line classical music journal. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Strasbourg Début

Simon Murphy will make his début with the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra (OPS) this December.

Taking audiences on a musical road trip of 18th century European symphonic centres, Murphy will conduct a series of concerts of Mozart arias and symphonies in a programme specially created by him for the French orchestra.

Following Murphy's pioneering research and performance work on the birth of the symphony and symphony orchestra, the programme features several of his musical discoveries including the Symphony in E flat by J Schmitt a.k.a. "The Dutch Haydn". The performance opens with a newly edited symphony by Mannheim master FX Richter who preceded Pleyel as head of music at Strasbourg Cathedral which celebrates its millennium jubilee (1015 - 2015) this coming year.

German soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto appears as the programme's soloist in works by JC Bach, Cimarosa, Paisiello and Mozart. The programme concludes with Mozart's "Haffner" Symphony.

                     Conductor Simon Murphy

Explore the programme and read Murphy's personal introduction to the concert

Listen to Murphy's recordings of early Mannheim symphonies by Richter, and Schmitt's "Hurdy Gurdy" Symphony, for PentaTone Classics

Look at a selection of Murphy's other hand-tailored guest-conducting programmes

Check out the concerts on the Strasbourg Philharmonic website

Tour to Hong Kong and China

June 2014 sees conductor Simon Murphy and The Hague's Baroque orchestra, The New Dutch Academy (NDA) make their second tour to Hong Kong and China together.

Performing the programme "Bach and his Dutch Contemporaries", Murphy and the NDA are touring to the area at the invitation of Hong Kong's PPHK.

            Simon Murphy Baroque Viola

The programme features music by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi as well as by Dutch Baroque composers De Fesch, Schickhardt, Van Eyck, Hacquart and Van Wassenaer. Soloists include soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto and recorder virtuoso Elisabeth Champollion. Alongside directing the programme, Murphy will also appear as soloist in Telemann's classic Viola Concerto in G.

During the tour, Murphy and the NDA will perform several evening concerts for PPHK as well as contributing to the organisation's innovative outreach programme PLAY!

As part of the tour, Murphy will return to Hong Kong's Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA) to give a series of masterclasses and orchestral workshops, and conduct the HKAPA orchestra in performances of works by Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel and Schumann.

            Simon Murphy and New Dutch Academy

The June 2014 tour follows Murphy's first, 4-city tour to China in 2012 which saw the maestro conduct orchestral music by Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. During the trip, Murphy also gave a series of masterclasses and workshops at institutions including the Shenzhen Arts High School, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Hangzhou University and Beijing Central Conservatory, and curated and performed the musical programme for the official celebrations of 40 years of diplomatic relations between China and the Netherlands.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

New Horizons

In a new partnership with Limelight Magazine, conductor Simon Murphy's blog column, "New Horizons", features personal stories on international musical travels, explorations and discoveries.

Entitled "The Italian Job", the first instalment gives insights into Murphy's ground-breaking work rediscovering Corelli's orchestral soundworld and looking at its influence on Handel and others.

In the second instalment, Murphy discusses his new show exploring the heady atmosphere of Mrs Cornelys' swinging 1760's London.