Concertgebouw Prize 2017 for RFO and GOK
On Tuesday evening 19 September, the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Groot Omroepkoor officially received the Concertgebouw Prize 2017 during the gala dinner at the Royal Concertgebouw. The prize was presented by Bernard Haitink, who in his laudation expressed the special position and his special bond with the ensembles in a moving way.
In his laudation, Haitink recalled the special value both the ensembles and the Concertgebouw have for him personally, ever since he first visited the building with his parents in 1937. In 1945, he listened to the newly founded Radio Philharmonic Orchestra on the radio for the first time. And in 2010, he personally took action to prevent the proposed closure of the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre and all its ensembles. A hefty cutback remained, but the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir were retained for the Dutch music world. Since then, they have re-established themselves, resilient and flexible, and have demonstrated their importance once again by playing a lot of contemporary repertoire and music that other orchestras, more than the broadcasting ensembles, have to balance between the artistic and the hard commercial worlds.
Bernard Haitink himself was chief conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra between 1957 and 1961. And his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was in a concert with the Groot Omroepkoor.
Today, the choir and orchestra are inextricably linked to the Concertgebouw by the NTR Saturday Matinee. The award of the Concertgebouw Prize 2017 is a special token of appreciation for this connection. Director Roland Kieft of the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Foundation also recalled the exceptional flexibility of the musicians and singers in his speech of thanks and concluded with an impassioned plea for the preservation of the musical landscape of our time, of which the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir are an essential part.