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.