Five Years of @ClassicalNEXT – Opening in Rotterdam – 2017 Dates and Location

Congratulations! Classical:NEXT, the global meeting for all art music innovators, opened its 2016 edition on May 25 with a ‘Dutch Mountains’ gala opening in de Doelen concert hall, including keynote speeches by Dr Clemens Trautmann, CEO of Deutsche Grammophon; Hans-Hermann Rehberg of the Berlin Radio Choir; and Beth Morrison of Beth Morrison Projects, as well as the star conductor Michael Tilson Thomas via video.

Classical:NEXT

Classical:NEXT

Classical:NEXT celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, gathering music professionals from 45 countries from all over the world for four days of conferences, showcase concerts and networking at the expo. The registration numbers were up by more than 10% before the event even started, with more one thousand participants confirmed by organisers Piranha Arts – exact numbers are to follow with the final press release on Saturday.

Immediately embraced by many labels and distributors when it was initiated in 2012, the Classical:NEXT community has expanded considerably within five editions, as the live sector and music media have also made it their international platform. Meanwhile, the event has developed into the biggest meeting for artists, entrepreneurs and multipliers from all branches of the classical and contemporary music scene.

This year marks the second time Classical:NEXT, which is organised by Berlin-based Piranha Arts, takes place in Rotterdam with the main venue and local production partner being Rotterdam’s renowned de Doelen concert hall and congress centre.

“It is truly amazing to see the development of Classical:NEXT – it appears to flourish in its Dutch home,” believes Classical:NEXT Director Jennifer Dautermann. “Not too surprising, actually, considering the context of the optimal conditions offered by our hosts, the city and the cultural scene in the Netherlands overall.”

Neil Wallace, programme director of de Doelen and also producer of this year’s opening enthuses: “This year feels even more exciting than last year – you can literally feel the Classical:NEXT vibe throughout the city, running into international artists and classical music professionals networking everywhere.“

Dutch Mountains Opening presents Netherlands’ finest

After Austria, Luxembourg and Canada, this year’s opening country was the Netherlands. The ceremony was produced by Classical:NEXT 2016 hosts De Doelen, who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary this month.

For a country renowned for its flatness, the heights the Netherlands’ art music were very much on show at the Classical:NEXT 2016 gala Opening. The “Dutch Mountains” Opening featured a wide range of Dutch talent. The concert was heralded by contemporary marching band 9 x 13 and featured classical guitar innovator Aart Strootman (who performed the world premiere of his ‘Counterpoint 21’), sonic adventurers Ensemble Klang, boundary-breaking collective LUDWIG (who tonight announced the inclusion of Barbara Hannigan as a member of its collective), celebrated proponent of ‘pianism’ Ralph van Raat and anti-traditional percussion ensemble Slagwerk Den Haag all took to the stage. These glimpses into the Dutch art music world were connected and interwoven with specially-commissioned work by pioneering video-maker Jules van Hulst of the acclaimed 33⅓ Collective. A tutti performance of Louis Andriessen’s piece ‘Workers Union’ wrapped-up the tightly-curated evening that brought together such disparate  as operatic spinning tops, jawbones-as-percussion and tales of Buddhist moss-gardens.

The opening was produced on behalf of, and with the support of, Dutch Performing Arts. The opening artists were selected by De Doelen, advised by young Dutch curators Masa Spaan, Shane Burmania and Floris Kortie.

“Create works that tell the story of our time”: Keynotes give food for thought – Deutsche Grammophon and Apple Music announce new cooperation

A highlight of the evening was the keynote address, which was split four ways: statements were made by Dr Clemens Trautmann, CEO of Deutsche Grammophon, Hans-Hermann Rehberg of the Berlin Radio Choir, and Beth Morrison of Beth Morrison Projects, and a specially-recorded video message was delivered by world-famous conductor and orchestral director Michael Tilson Thomas.

Acknowledging Classical:NEXT as one of the industry’s most important events, Trautmann exclusively announced Deutsche Grammophon’s new initiative with Apple Music, creating a curated online space which can become a “prime destination for veteran followers, as well as new listeners”. (More details will follow in their press release on Thursday 26 May).

A prominent topic of the keynote was the need for continuing accessibility and relevance. Morrison urged the art music world to “create works that tell the story of our time”; Trautmann gave advice for the assembled Classical:NEXT delegates: “Stay curious, stay hungry and stay paranoid. As we know, only the paranoid survive. But most importantly, have fun!”; and Rehberg summarised the core tennet of Classical:NEXT in proclaiming “the reason why I am here is to talk to many of you in order to get new ideas, be inspired and create something new for both the Berlin Radio Choir and its audience”.

For downloadable press photographs from the Opening concert, see below.

New Programme Items, New Networks and Fellowships

New features this year include focuses on “NEXT:Tech” and music theatre, with extra conference programme as well as Operadagen Rotterdam and the Music Theatre Now competition being held parallel to Classical:NEXT, next door. New networks are also present at Classical:NEXT and engaging with the programme, e.g. with Codarts (Rotterdam’s renowned conservatory and university for the arts) and PRS for Music Foundation (the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres) starting a Classical:NEXT Fellowship programme for young composers and artists. The two organisations have both selected three outstanding talents and are enabling them to visit Classical:NEXT 2016 in Rotterdam to engage with more than 1,000 classical music professionals.

Ongoing network initiatives include and international orchestra network as well as an “indie classical” network. The world’s largest distributor and classical label Naxos held their meeting earlier in the week of Classical:NEXT and both organisers announced that they will continue to find the most convenient solution possible for international delegates to attend both events. Head of Naxos Klaus Heymann will speak in a talk, which will be part of the public Classical:NEXT Festival. The Festival will feature eleven international showcase acts, plus further Dutch talent and an appearance of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and a Classical Music Rave from Thursday until Saturday. The final day of the event will see proceedings come to a close with the ceremony of the second Classical:NEXT Innovation Award for outstanding projects, which were voted on by the Classical:NEXT online community.

Classical:NEXT 2017 – in Rotterdam again

With the success of what are now two editions and the location very well accepted among delegates and artists alike, Piranha Arts and de Doelen have agreed to hold Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam again next year; the dates of this sixth edition will be 17 – 20 May 2017.

Useful links for press

You can find photographs from tonight’s Opening concert at the dedicated Dropbox folder, as well as more from the event to be updated throughout the week, at the Classical:NEXT 2016 Press Photos Dropbox.

More downloadable media, including audio and video to come, can be found in the press section of the Dropbox.

For more information on the Classical:NEXT 2016 Opening concert, visit the Opening page at classicalnext.com.

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