Music in the mountains- looking back on Piz Amalia Music Festival 2021

17 November 2021

On Sunday the 14th of November the final concert of the Piz Amalia Music Festival 2021 takes place in Splendor in Amsterdam. Every year four young students from the Dutch secondary school are selected to prepare and perform a chamber music program with four youngsters from Konservatorium Winterthur.

In September the young Dutch musicians went to the Swiss mountains for a week, to rehearse and perform the program there. Last week the Swiss came to the Netherlands to give another 2 concerts over here.

Violinist Else Baas (16 years old) and coach Irma Kort tell enthusiastic about their week in Swiss:

'Right the second day that we arrived we gave the first concert, amongst others for the ambassador, alderman and the mayor.

We played in very special concert locations. During one of the concerts in a little church in Scharl, in the middle of the mountains, a herd of cows came walking down from the mountains, the bells sounded fantastic together with our music. We also got to play in the chapel of Mengelberg, which was located in a beautiful valley. The chapel was so small that the audience didn't even fit in, the people stayed outside to listen.'

Irma enjoyed the programme very much 'It was both for the students and the teachers super interesting to dive deeper into the music of Dutch and Swiss composers.'

Else didn't know most of the music on the beforehand 'There were a lot of works of composers which were unknown to me and also are not much performed. Therefore I had to figure out myself how I wanted to play the piece. The more I played the music, the more layers I discovered in it. '

For Else, it was a new and instructive experience to rehearse a program in such a short time and give multiple concerts with musicians that she just got to know the day before, who on top of that came from a different country.

Precisely that exchange made this project so nice according to Irma 'The mountains were, of course, special for us, but we also noticed that there is a different culture around music in Swiss, is really is part of society. For the Swiss musicians, it is also fun to be here and to see the sea and the flat Netherlands.

Else agrees: 'It was fantastic to be able to travel again and to give so many concerts. It was also a very nice group of people. You could tell that we played with more fun and confidence at every concert.