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Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, 6 October 2010: Torstensson

“(.....) A highlight in his (Torstenssons) oeuvre, besides that wonderful opera The Expedition, is the Self-portrait with percussion (2006) - in reality a percussion solo-concert -, which he wrote for Peppie Wiersma, the virtuose percussionist of the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble. It has also been recorded on CD, exemplary performed by the same ensemble under the outstanding conductor Hans Leenders. But in a live-concert this is still many times more impressive, as could again be confirmed yesterday in the Concertgebouw. (.....) The music is also spectacular. It requires an ultimate precision of the performers, which was ensured with Leenders (who himself was percussionist at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the past) on the rostrum.”

Het Parool, 7 October 2010, Erik Voermans.

Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, 6 October 2010: Klas Torstensson

“MAGNIFICENT DISPLAY OF COLOUR IN PERCUSSION ODE. (.....). According to Torstensson, the music deals with how he has experienced percussions in various kinds of music. (....). Filmic tension was built up, a gong was caressed, a spatial ensemble play ended in rhythmically telling blows, and this all under the confident gestures of Leenders. “Gee!” somebody whispered out loud in the audience. Part four of the Lantern Lectures preceded this percussion ode. (....) The energy which flowed through the ensemble, lively and ecstatic, had a staggering effect. (...)”

De Telegraaf, 8 October 2010,Frederike Berntsen.

Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, at Krakow (Poland) Sacrum Profanum festival for Contemporary Music, 14 September 2010: Klas Torstensson – explosive music of the great Swede in Kraków!

“(…) However, the climax of the evening constituted of a 9-part, 37-minute piece Self-portrait with Percussion, composed in 2006. Klas Torstensson presents with it, using a wide percussion instrumentarium, impressive pictures of wild nature and raw sounds – breaking of tree branches, ice and rock breaking. The composition is exceptionally constructed. (…). The show part of the percussion in this piece was performed by Peppie Wiersma, an artist cooperating with musicians of the class of Riccardo Chailly, Philippe Herreweghe and Frans Brüggen. The unbelievably difficult piece was played by the Dutch musicians amazingly conducted by the young and superb conductor Hans Leenders – a Bernard Haitink scholarship holder, former assistant of Walery Gergiev at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. The artists were awarded with a long ovation, and the composer was called out with applause multiple times.”

Website SacrumProfanum.com, Ada Ginał. Also see youtube film.

Heiner Goebbels Festival, Asko Ensemble, The Hague, February/March 2008: Heiner Goebbels and Hanns Eisler.

“(....)This weekend saw the kick-off of the Heiner Goebbels Festival at the Koninklijk Conservatorium (Royal Conservatory) in The Hague. This school of music organises on average once every four years a project dedicated to a contemporary composer. (......). Goebbels … provides his pieces with multiple entry points, as he says himself. (…..) Also not closed off (in character) was the concert of the Asko Ensemble in the Kees van Baarenzaal. The atmosphere amongst the regretfully few visitors was light-hearted and easy. The inspired musicians were competently led by Hans Leenders and alternated playing compositions of Goebbels and Hanns Eisler, so admired by him. (.....). Impressive music, performed with a lot of inspiration.

De Telegraaf, 4 March 2008, Frederike Berntsen.

Heiner Goebbels Festival, Asko Ensemble, The Hague, February/March 2008: Heiner Goebbels and Hanns Eisler.

“(.....) Leenders steers the score along the right lines. (.....) The Asko Ensemble and actor Hugo Koolschijn gave (....) an impressive sample of (French) language which transforms into a physical, rhythmic base for a composition. (.....) The moment when his spoken text merged perfectly with the fast melodies of the winds of the Asko Ensemble was spectacular. In this complex score, conductor Hans Leenders smoothly guided the combination of samples with live music. (etc).”

De Volkskrant, 3 maart 2008, Bela Luttmer.

Hanze Symphony Orchestra (joint orchestra of the conservatories of Groningen and Bremen), February 2008, Bremen: Smetana, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky.

”HARMONY AND PRECISION. (….).The Maestro on the conductors podium, who used such precise gestures in this work and all the following pieces and modeled the melodic flow in almost dancing and suggestive movements, was conductor Hans Leenders, an experienced orchestra leader, who is sought after in the Dutch music scene and beyond, and who also transformed this concert with students into an excited and exciting, high quality event.”

Bremer Nachrichten, Manfred Züghart, 13 February 2008. download pdf

Orkest van het Oosten (The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra), opening concert 4th “International Piano Competition for Young Musicians”, October 2007, Muziekcentrum Enschede: Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, van Baaren.

“ (.....) In the evening, the competition was officially opened with a concert of the Orkest van het Oosten and the winner of 2004, Dmitry Onyshchenko. (.....). The cooperation with conductor Hans Leenders gave the impression that the two gentlemen had known each other for years. But Leenders showed his best in the 10th Symphony of Shostakovich, which developed into an immense event. (......). The different shapes of the little motive (d, e-flat, c, b, signature of the composer) sounded beautifully last Sunday, from the airy inquiring of the piccolo to the nagging in the horns and the as it were exclamation marks in the tutti orchestra. Magnificent! (etc).”

Twentsche Courant Tubantia, Ellen Kruithof, oktober 2007.

Brabants Orkest, 14 October 2006, Eindhoven: Copland Strauss, Bernstein, Beethoven.

“DARING PLAY IN AMERICAN MUSIC. (.......) This kind of music (Copland, Bernstein) does not only appeal to the public, but it also has effect on an orchestra. ..... the music, full of atmosphere and interchanging extrovert and introvert sound, seemed to bring out the best in the musicians. (......) Conductor Hans Leenders, taking interesting rhythmic liberties, knew how to give depth and meaning to the Kaiserwalz of Johann Strauss jr. Also in Beethoven’s 7th symphony, Hans Leenders presented himself as a man of vision, persuasiveness and the ability to get the very best out of an orchestra. He guided the orchestra firm, precise, free and sensitive and above all with speed through the always beautiful score. (Etc.) ”

Brabants Dagblad, October 2006, Marjolijn Sengers.

Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (ONCT), 21 September 2005, Besançon, France: i.a. Chopin, Shostakovich.

“A CAPTIVATING SHOSTAKOVICH. (….). Wednesday evening, … Chopin has been remarkably well served by the ONCT conducted by Hans Leenders and by Nelson Freire, soloist in the 2nd piano concerto. (…). But beyond any doubt, the highlight of this evening was the captivating interpretation of the 5th symphony of Shostakovich. An ongoing tension in this work which alternates painful meditation with martial and grimacing chords. (…). With very specific gestures, Leenders led the musicians in this macabre dance. The ONCT succeeded in marrying the two opposites: making the tension appeased and the calm restless.”

L’Est Republicain, D.H., 23 September 2005. download pdf

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (RphO), 1 April 2005, de Doelen Rotterdam: “Blumine” and 4th symphony of Mahler, Szymanowski and Wolf.

“HANS LEENDERS PROVES HIMSELF WITH BEAUTIFUL FOURTH OF MAHLER. (....) With the RphO, Leenders could last weekend sink his teeth into Mahler’s 4th and he did that with remarkable flexibility and drive, prompting the Rotterdam musicians to play with conviction. (.....). That last movement of Mahler <...in which the female singer seemed curiously uninvolved...> slightly detracted from an otherwise magnificent performance in which Leenders piled detail upon detail. Leenders knew how to distinguish the core from the less important elements whilst at the same time drawing the latter clearly into his interpretation. The skill of holding back, not give everything away at once, is also something Leenders masters and that resulted in some beautifully orchestrated transitions. (Etc).”

Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 4 April 2005.

Interview in Brabants Dagblad, 30 November 2004:

“THE RISING STAR OF CONDUCTOR LEENDERS. After having worked as assistant-conductor with Valery Gergiev in Rotterdam for five years, Hans Leenders is making inroads on a European level as a talented newcomer. In March 2005, Leenders will kick off the Beethoven cycle at St-Petersburg, this Friday he conducts in Tilburg. (etc).”

Interview by Rob Musters.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, 19 August 2004, Concertgebouw Amsterdam: Glinka, Khachaturian and Mussorgsky.

“Conductor Hans Leenders made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw last Thursday with roller coaster strings, barking winds and pedantic exploding timpani. (....) Leenders clearly knows what he is doing and the Russian soul which was on the programme three times obviously holds few secrets for him. No wonder: as assistant-conductor to Valeri Gergjev, he rehearsed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. Though Leenders’ style shows some affinity with that of Gergjev, like the broad gestures and the urging left hand, his approach is (……) rather less directed at raising the level of adrenaline with the musicians, and more at exposing significant details and colour contrasts. (Etc.)”.

De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, 20 August 2004.

“HANS LEENDERS HAS IT. (....) And there can only be one conclusion: Leenders has it! And what is it, that he has? Those hard to define conducting qualities which make you sit up and put your ears on edge. His arm movements are transparent, he radiates authority and his presence at the podium is in everything modest but convincing. (....) Leenders uses strong language but controls the balance well. Also as an accompanist, Leenders equally impressed. (....) An expressive conductor which will go far.”

Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 22 August 2004.

“(....) Also in more aggressive parts, Leenders generally chooses quiet tempi and builds up the tension in beautiful, calm long lines. The sound colouring was allowed to develop in this honest, not dressed-up and self-evident interpretation. The accompaniment which Leenders offered to the orchestra’s concertmaster Vesko Eschkenay with his solo performance in Aram Khachaturian violin concerto was also beautifully supportive. ... (etc).”

De Telegraaf, Roeland Hazendonk, 24 August 2004.

Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, February 2004, The Hague: i.a. Kodály’s danses of Galánta and the Háry János Suite.

“(....) Conductor Hans Leenders knows how to deal with music so full of character and storytelling. After his four year apprenticeship with Valery Gergjev, he now goes his own way in the world of conducting. Occasionally he showed the fluttering hand movement of his teacher, but he has otherwise developed his own style of conducting. He leads the orchestra with abundant gestures and quite some dancing steps. But this never leads to untidiness or to long-windedness. Leenders’ interpretations are characterised by an agile rhythm and pulse, structural transparency and richness in colours. (Etc)”.

HaagscheCourant, Winand van de Kamp, 23 February 2004.

Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, 17 May 2002, The Hague: Wagner, Peter-Jan Wagemans, Copland, Stravinsky.

“(…) It can not have been caused by the interpretation , as in the other pieces, conductor Hans Leenders held the different groups of the orchestra admirably in balance. (....) With his interpretations of Copland’s Our Town and particularly the pointed execution of Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, he demonstrated that he is not just a competent but also an inspired baton-holder.”

De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, 21 May 2002.

Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, 17 May 2002, The Hague: Wagner, Peter-Jan Wagemans, Copland, Stravinsky:

“(....). Fortunately, the orchestra took full revenge in the “Symphony in Three Movements” of Stravinsky, which conductor Hans Leenders executed in his completely own vision. The music sounded really Stravinsky-an in its restless rhythms, but without any of the sharp edges. With his mild and romantic, but between the lines also contemporary approach, Leenders rightfully received much acclaim from the Hague public.”

Trouw, Kees Arntzen, 21 May 2002.

Rotterdams Philharmonic Orchestra, 21 March 2002, Rotterdam: Strauss, Rachmaninov.

“Hans Leenders (….) leads the orchestra four times for regular (subscription)concerts. (....) Leenders has already proven that he can conduct when he replaced Valery Gergjev for a concert last September, when the latter could not leave America after the <9/11> attacks. Leenders has presence, and masters the technique. With his right hand he cleverly and elegantly moves his baton whilst indicating expression with his left hand, with his little finger occasionally wandering far away. (....).After the interval, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances are much better and more authentic: full of atmosphere, robust and striking. (Etc)”.

NRC, Kasper Jansen, 22 March 2002.

Interview in NRC Handelsblad (leading Dutch newspaper), 15 March 2002:

“DREAM OF AN ORCHESTRA-REHEARSER. Hans Leenders (1971) is assistant-conductor with the Rotterdams Philharmonic Orchestra. The programmes of chef-conductor Valery Gergjev are rehearsed by him. Very occasionally, world politics even impact classical music. Two days after ‘9/11’ Valery Gergjev, chef-conductor of the RphO, stranded at the airport of Los Angeles. The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergjev Festival started without the name-giver, with the assistant-conductor on the podium. Suddenly all eyes were on Hans Leenders (30)..........(etc). “

Interview by Mischa Spel. Download PDF

Gergjev Festival 2001 devoted to Shostakovich, with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. NB Due to the 9/11 attacks, Maestro Valery Gergjev was unable to return in time from the USA. Hans Leenders was appointed to replace him a few times.

The Concertgebouw Amsterdam: “(....) In the Concertgebouw last Saturday, it became clear that Valeri Gergjev would not be able to arrive in time for his guest-conductorship with the Rotterdams Philharmonic. Hans Leenders, Gergjev’s assistant, had to step in again to save the situation, i.a. in Shostakovich’ 9th Symphony – performed with an imposing style which Leenders had also demonstrated in the opening of the Gergjev Festival in the Doelen. Thus everything turned out all right .... (...).”

De Volkskrant, Roland de Beer, 17 September 2001.

The Doelen, Rotterdam: “Gergjev can’t do without his assistant’s preparatory work with the orchestra, that much is clear, and Hans Leenders who was already preparing the RphO (Rotterdams Philharmonic Orchestra) for him was suddenly put forward to prominently open the festival with movements from the “Golden Age” ballet. Lifted by the event, Leenders made a significant impression. (....) Leenders clearly has talent, and his convincing replacement of the maestro deserves great praise.”

Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 15 September 2001.

The Doelen, Rotterdam: “Gergjev’s assistant Leenders (...) proved his level-headedness in a skillfully orchestrated performance of The Golden Age, in which Shostakovich ....(etc).”

De Volkskant, Roland de Beer, 15 September 2001.

The Doelen, Rotterdam: “(...) At the start, the festival atmosphere was lacking, but that changed through the enthusiasm with which assistant-conductor Hans Leenders was cheered for his stand-in performance in the movement from the 5th Symphony and seven fragments from the ballet music (...) (of Shostakovich). Leenders conducted energetic and alert, with elastic legs in the foxtrot Tea for Two. (...) ... though not always perfect, it was certainly a catching rendering of the humoristic oompapa sound. (etc).”

NRC Handelsblad, Mischa Spel, 15 September 2001.

The Doelen, Rotterdam: “(....) The only positive element yesterday was called Hans Leenders. The young assistant-conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra almost made one forget the absence of Gergjev. Someone like him offers hope for a future Rotterdam Philharmonic Festival. (etc).”

Het Parool, Paul Janssen, 15 September 2001.

Orkest van het Oosten (the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra), New Year Concert 2001, Enschede:

“CONDUCTOR HANS LEENDERS EVOKES ADMIRATION. Hans Leenders (…is ) a conductor who dislikes unnecessary fuss, who conducts in a flexible style and who radiates the rhythm with his whole body. One would not be surprised if, in Leo Delibes’ suite from Coppelia, he would join in with the ballet steps.”

Zwolse Courant, Elly van Plateringen, 2001.

Percussion Festival The Big Bang, Residentie Orchesta, Anumdutchl and Cricle Percussions, 13 January 2000, Vredenburg Utrecht: Jiskoot, Vos, Kagel and Brophy.

“A LOT OF NOISE AND A REAL PARTY. If you attach a percussion group to an orchestra, then you simply ask for an evening full of spectacle. (......) Young conductor Hans Leenders demonstrated that he is a musician who knows what he wants: with his clear sense of direction and his resolute, small gestures, he was the right helmsman for the alert Residentie Orchestra. In Kagels magnificent Konzertstück für Pauken und Orchester, he skillfully created the ominous atmosphere. (....etc).”

Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Anthony Fiumata, 14 January 2000.