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Amsterdam Sinfonietta

The Amsterdam Sinfonietta is a professional string orchestra consisting of 23 musicians. It has worked with visiting artists of international renown and has a broad, varied repertoire that includes music from outside the classical sphere. The orchestra launched a classical film series in 2020, and in 2021, it was heard accompanying Thomas Oliemans on the album Formidable! The Amsterdam Sinfonietta was founded as the Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam in 1988; its members were young musicians who wanted to cultivate a high level of ensemble playing. The group's first music director was Lev Markiz, who led performances of new works and 20th century Russian string orchestra repertory. He was succeeded in 1998 by Peter Oundjian, who followed other string orchestras of the time by organizing performances of full-scale symphonic works. Candida Thompson became the Amsterdam Sinfonietta's concertmaster in 1995 and succeeded Oundjian as artistic director for the 2003-2004 season. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta signed to the Channel Classics label and released a recording of Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence in 2004. In addition to performances in the Netherlands and regular appearances throughout Europe, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta has toured North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and Asia. It has appeared at the Barbican in London, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the National Center of the Performing Arts in Beijing. Though led by Thompson, the orchestra performs without a conductor. However, the orchestra has had a long list of guest conductors and leaders, including such major figures as Murray Perahia, Iona Brown, and Gennady Rozhdestvensky, among many others. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta has performed numerous new works, including operatic productions for both adults and children. It has collaborated with many leading classical artists, such as Kristian Bezuidenhout, Sol Gabetta, and Janine Jansen, as well as pop artists Karin Bloemen, Wende (Wende Snijders), and Rufus Wainwright, among others. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta has recorded for the ECM, Deutsche Grammophon, and Challenge Classics labels while continuing to record steadily for Channel Classics, issuing an album featuring Bartók's Divertimento for string orchestra in 2018. That recording also included a string orchestra arrangement of the Brahms String Quintet in G major, Op. 111, and many of its recordings have included orchestral versions of chamber works. The orchestra inaugurated a short film series in 2020 with Strings, which was followed by Misirlou and Atashgah. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta was heard backing baritone Thomas Oliemans on the album Formidable! in 2021.
© James Manheim & Keith Finke /TiVo


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