The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is led by chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti and plays grand symphonies by composers such as Mahler, Brahms and R. Strauss at the highest level. The orchestra performs at one the most beautiful classical concert halls in the world: The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As the orchestra of Dutch National Opera, the orchestra, together with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras.
The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 1985 by the merger of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. The Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra traces its history to 1953. It was founded by conductor Anton Kersjes, a well-known figure of the day who had his own weekly television programme. He succeeded in bringing a new public to the concert hall, introducing them to the ‘golden masterworks’ of the orchestral repertoire. Kersjes was not only a very able conductor but could enthral an audience with engaging stories about classical music and composers.
Marc Albrecht was appointed chief conductor of the NedPhO|NKO and the Dutch National Opera in 2011. In fact, the successful collaboration began three years earlier, in 2008, when he was invited to conduct Richard Strauss’ opera Die Frau ohne Schatten in Amsterdam. There was an immediate rapport and the conductor raised the orchestra’s playing to unprecedented heights. “There was so much mutual trust that the impossible suddenly became possible,” recalls one member. “We yearned to do it differently and even better with each performance." From the 2021-2022 season, Lorenzo Viotti is the chief conductor of both the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dutch National Opera.
Chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti
Lorenzo Viotti made his debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018, conducting Stravinsky's Petrushka at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Lorenzo Viotti has also made a name for himself as an opera conductor. He has won several major conducting competitions, culminating in the Nestlé Young Conductors Award of the Salzburger Festspiele in 2015. In 2017, he was named 'Best Newcomer' at the International Opera Awards.
The Dutch National Opera
NedPhO|NKO has been the ‘house orchestra’ of the Dutch National Opera since 1985. Hartmut Haenchen was the first principal conductor to take on this remarkable double role. The special position was continued from 2011 to 2020 by Marc Albrecht. As from the 2020-2021 season, Lorenzo Viotti is the chief conductor. Recently, the orchestra made a deep impression with the operas Oedipe by Enuscu, Tristan und Isolde by Wagner, Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and Eine florentinische Tragödie by Zemlinsky.
Over the years, the orchestra has established a strong Mahler tradition and the works of this brilliant composer feature prominently in its concert programmes. “The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has a natural affinity with the style of the late-Romantic era and early twentieth century. The musicians really understand the language of Gustav Mahler,” states Marc Albrecht when describing the special relationship he and the orchestra have with the Austrian composer. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is also renowned for its interpretations of other late-Romantic composers, whether Brahms and Bruckner in the concert hall or Strauss and Wagner in the opera house.