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DSO on Tour: Opening Tonight in Holland

by Jerome Weeks 11 Mar 2013 3:40 PM

We catch up with the DSO’s director of artistic planning to talk about tour logistics, acoustics, the problems with rosewood and ivory — and why tomorrow will be very special for the symphony.


The Muziekgebouw Frits Phillips in Eindhoven, the concert hall the DSO will play tonight.  Photo by Frank Tielemans

The Dallas Symphony is in Amsterdam on its first European tour in a decade. The orchestra performs its first concert tonight in nearby Holland. KERA’s Jerome Weeks spoke with Aldert Vermeulen, the symphony’s director of artistic planning who’s with the DSO.

  • KERA radio report:
  • Expanded online report:

Weeks: Aldert, I understand it’s pretty cold there.
Vermeulen: “It’s very cold. It’s snowing actually right now. I hope we don’t have any problems getting back to Amsterdam because we’re out in Eindhoven, which is in the south of Holland.”
Weeks: Why is the symphony playing Eindhoven? It’s not a big town compared to the symphony’s other stops like Vienna and Munich.
Vermeulen: “Well, it just happened like that, you know? So we were to go to Amsterdam. And then Eindhoven approached us, or actually Intermusica, the management that does our tour. Because they’ve got a series with great orchestras, and they really wanted Dallas to be on that series. So that’s how we got to Eindhoven.”
Weeks: Touring an orchestra like this is a huge endeavor. Especially so these days? With concerns like security.

Vermeulen: “It has been a concern, and it has been very well prepared by our operations staff. And the musicians were informed that they can be difficult.”
Weeks: That’s because some countries now ban the importing of the kinds of rare woods you can find in musical instruments.
Vermuelen: “It’s actually rosewood. And it’s the tusks of the elephants, the ivory, that’s really forbidden – unless you can prove that it’s an old bow or an old instrument. So people had to bring their certifications of their instruments to prove that it’s an old instrument and that the ivory had been harvested 200 and in some cases 300 years ago.”
Weeks: You’re at the concert hall in Eindhoven right now. It’s relatively new. What’s it like?
Vermeulen: “Yeah, it’s got wonderful acoustics. It’s very clear. So it’s got a warm sound but at the same time you hear every detail. So we just started the rehearsal and the orchestra sounds really great in this hall. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s concert.”
Weeks: And tomorrow night you’re at the Concertgebouw, the famous hall in Amsterdam, where you’ll be playing Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. That hall is where conductor Jaap van Zweden was the lead violinist for 16 years.
Vermeulen: “It’s going to be a very special concert. First of all because, you know, it’s Jaap in his hometown. It’s one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world, and it’s also where Mahler himself played. And the concert is completely sold out.”
Weeks: Thank you. And good luck with it.
Vermeulen: “Well, thank you very much. OK. Bye-bye.”


The Dallas Symphony will present two programs during the upcoming European tour:

Program 1

Korngold:         Violin Concerto

Mahler:            Symphony No. 6


Program 2

Wagner:          Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Korngold:         Violin Concerto

Stucky:            Elegy from August 4, 1964

R. Strauss:      Suite from Der Rosenkavalier


Music Director Jaap van Zweden will conduct. Hilary Hahn will be violin soloist on the Korngold Violin Concerto. Simone Lamsma will be violin soloist on the Korngold Violin Concerto in Vienna only.


The tour itinerary and performance venues will be:

March 11 – Eindhoven: Muziekgebouw Frits Philips – Program 1

March 12 – Amsterdam: Concertgebouw – Program 1

March16 – Vienna: Konzerthaus – Program 1 (with Simone Lamsma)

March 17 – Munich: Gasteig Philharmonie – Program 2

March 18 – Frankfurt: Alte Oper – Program 2

March 19 – Hamburg: Laeiszhalle – Program 1

March 21 – Hannover: Hannover Congress Centrum – Program 2