Amsterdam Sinfonietta was founded in 1988, with Lev Markiz as its first artistic director.
Candida Thompson has been concertmaster of the ensemble since 1995, as well as its artistic director since 2003. The approach to music-making without a conductor is what distinguishes the group from ‘regular’ chamber orchestras. It calls for an extremely intense degree of involvement from all the musicians. In past years Amsterdam Sinfonietta has toured Europe, China, the United States and Australia. It has appeared at major venues including the Barbican Hall in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing and the Berlin Konzerthaus.
The repertoire encompasses a variety of styles, ranging from Baroque to contemporary works. Alongside performances of mainstream repertoire, the orchestra frequently champions unjustly neglected or new works. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has recently premièred compositions by composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Florian Maier, Michel van der Aa, Pēteris Vasks, Thomas Larcher and Sally Beamish. The ensemble has gained a reputation for creating highly innovative programmes; its trademark versatility recently earned it the prestigious classical music prize De Ovatie (The Ovation) in 2013. It frequently presents original and compelling combinations of works, initiates surprising collaborations and embraces groundbreaking concepts involving video art, dance or theatre. Successful partnerships were forged with choreographers Emio Greco and PC, actor Jeroen Willems, choreographer Nanine Linning, stage director Pierre Audi and singer-songwriter Patrick Watson.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta has worked with a host of internationally renowned musicians, such as Sergei Khachatryan, Barbara Hannigan, Sol Gabetta, David Fray, Janine Jansen, Dejan Lazić, Steven Isserlis, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Isabelle Faust, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Jasper de Waal, Martin Fröst, Alexander Melnikov, Christianne Stotijn, Bobby McFerrin and Wende.
In past seasons Amsterdam Sinfonietta has undertaken tours with Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Martin Fröst. In January 2014 the orchestra joined forces with American baritone Thomas Hampson, performing a unique song programme in twelve concert halls across Europe. In 2017, the ensemble performed in various cities throughout South America, including Mexico, Colombia and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s educational KleuterSinfonietta children’s performances are enjoyed by thousands of young children in the Netherlands each year. It also organises Sinfonietta Strijkersdagen (Sinfonietta String Players Days), giving young musicians the opportunity to participate in workshops and perform in public in specially formed string orchestras.
Within the past decade Amsterdam Sinfonietta has produced an impressive array of CDs under Candida Thompson’s leadership, in collaboration with the high-quality Channel Classics label. These include ‘The Mahler Album’ (2011), ‘Britten’ (2013) ‘Shostakovich & Weinberg’ (2013) and ‘The Argentinian Album’ (2014). The latest CD ‘Bartók Brahms’ was released in 2018. Recently the orchestra has also recorded CDs for labels such as ECM, Sony Classical and Deutsche Grammophon.
Watch the video clip below: ‘The Making of the Shostakovich Weinberg CD’: