Het Concertgebouw (which literally translates to “concert building”) is one of the most acoustically perfect musical venues in the world. Built in 1888 by Dutch architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt, Het Concertgebouw will celebrate its 125th jubilee in the upcoming year. The concert hall is located just off of Museumplein, a twenty-minute tram ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station.
The “Great Hall” seats over 2000 spectators and the more cozy “Small Hall” seats just under 500, making it the perfect venue for enjoying a little of the old chamber music. Whether you’re into jazz, modern, or classical, you’ll find just about anything to suit your musical fancy. Or if you just want a quick taste, Het Concertgebouw’s hour-long “Tracks” series features live classical music performances where the artists share what inspires them through words, visuals, and, of course, music.
To celebrate its 125th birthday, Het Concertgebouw will throw special monthly concerts highlighting the musical history that has unfolded over the past century. The upcoming year promises to hold special performances by such musical talents as Angela Gheorghiu, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Leonidas Kavakos, Menahem Pressler, Christianne Stotijn, and Eva-Maria Westbroek. In addition, the resident symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, holds regular recitals and performances.
The Saturday Matinee series begins after 14:00 and features up-and-coming, world-class musicians such as Janine Jansen, Barbara Hannigan, Arthur and Lucas Jussen, Tabea Zimmermann, and Jaap van Zweden. Sunday Mornings are made complete with a guided tour for €10 extra beginning at 12:15. Your Sunday Morning concert ticket also gains you free entrance to the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk, and the Van Gogh Museum. In addition, show your Sunday morning concert ticket on GVB public transit and ride free.
There’s even something for the kids. In Het Concertgebouw’s Choir Hall, the “Secrets for Your Ears” weekend series takes children 4 to 12 years old on an interactive journey into the world of music, instruments, and musical genius.
At Het Concertgebouw, there actually is such a thing as a free lunch – at least if you intend to “consume” music. The free Lunch Concert series is held weekly in either the Recital Hall or Main Hall, featuring every genre of music from open recitals to short performances. It’s a great way to test the waters of classical and/or unfamiliar music without investing a lot of time and money. The concert only lasts about half an hour and due to its popularity it tends to fill up, so get there early if you hope to find a seat!
Finally, if you’re a diehard music lover but can’t find the time to get out of the house, fear not! Het Concertgebouw makes it easier than ever to enjoy classical music, jazz music, master pianists, and special concerts right from the comfort of your home computer. In an effort to make music accessible to the widest possible audience, starting in 2013, Het Concertgebouw will stream live concerts on their website. Check the schedule for details. Happy listening!