Conductor: Joost Smeets
Anatoly Lyadov (1855–1914), Enchanted Lake, Op. 62
Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978), Spartacus Suite (selection)
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943), Symphony No. 2 in E-minor, Op. 27
The VU Orchestra was founded in 1962 as a student orchestra of the Free University of Amsterdam and is nowadays (since 2014) an independent association. Otto Klap was its first conductor, followed by Daan Admiraal who conducted the orchestra for an extensively long period of 44 years. The VU Orchestra started as a small chamber orchestra, but has become a magnificent symphony orchestra over the past 50 years. The students perform mainly late-romantic and twentieth-century music in the most beautiful halls in The Netherlands and abroad. The VU Orchestra can be considered as groundbreaking, as it was the first student orchestra to have performed great works such as the Sacre du Printemps and symphonic works by Strauss and Mahler.
The eighty members of the VU Orchestra weekly come together to rehearse a selected program. The orchestra studies a new repertoire every six months, and ends the studying process with a series of concerts. The VU Orchestra often accompanies choirs and soloists, whilst doing their own projects. The Hague Concert Choir is a large choir which frequently does concerts with the orchestra. This collaboration brought the magnificent War Requiem by Britten to the Dr. Anton Philipszaal in The Hague and The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in the spring of 2015. The orchestra has accompanied greats in the past like Janine Jansen, Isabelle van Keulen, Ivo Janssen, Quirine Viersen en Pieter Wispelwey.
Every year the VU Orchestra travels to another country during their summer tour. In the last couple of years the orchestra has been to places like Italy, Germany, France, Bulgaria, England and Estonia. In 2012, when the orchestra celebrated their golden jubilee, the VU Orchestra was invited to play in Russia. In both Saint Petersburg and in Moscow big concerts took place with very appreciative audiences. A new tour to Russia followed in 2014. Last summer, the orchestra was welcomed in Latvia. This summer’s tour includes Austria, Slovenia and Italy.
Joost Smeets studied tuba at the Hochschule für Musik Koln, in Germany. Since 1996 he has been principal tuba in the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Enschede, combining this post since 1999 with his position as principal tuba in the South Netherlands Philharmonic Eindhoven/Maastricht. Joost Smeets was also recruited for a teaching post in 2000 at the Artez Conservatory in Enschede. Besides his love for the tuba, Joost Smeets has a passion for conducting, which has only grown further in the past years. He studied with renowned conductors such as Jan Stulen, Edo de Waart, Michaïl Jurowsky, Jorma Panula, Donato Renzetti and Maurizio Arena, and has led projects with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Noord-Nederlands Orkest and Orkest van het Oosten. Moreover, Joost has won prizes at several international conductor competitions including those in Brescia 2018, London 2016, Budapest 2015 and Cordoba 2013.
Admission free – tickets free of charge will be available one hour before the concert.