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News Release
 

Julius Who?
Neglected Genius: The Music of Julius Rontgen

Thursday, Nov. 10 at 8pm in Glenn Gould Studio

On Thursday, November 10, at 8:00 pm at the Glenn Gould Studio, ARC (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) - a resident ensemble at The Royal Conservatory of Music featuring the faculty of The Glenn Gould School - presents a concert exploring the music of the Dutch composer Julius Röntgen (1855-1932), a neglected musical genius, whose influences include Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg (Röntgen's close friend and valued colleague).

The concert coincides with the150th anniversary of Röntgen's birth and highlights his highly imaginative, infectiously melodic and instrumentally idiomatic works, long overlooked by the musical mainstream.

Dutch critic, musician and Röntgen scholar Jurjen Vis will introduce the concert from the stage.

"In sampling Röntgen's massive musical output, ARC hopes to provide a glimpse of his chamber music and to provoke a broader discussion about the ways in which contemporary repertoire choices and our listening habits are determined by the extra-musical considerations," said Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director of ARC.

ARC and The Royal Conservatory of Music are most grateful to his excellency Jan Hesseling and the Consulate General of the Netherlands for generously supporting this ARC project.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, Julius Röntgen moved to Holland in his early twenties and lived most of his life there. Despite his prodigious contribution to Dutch music, in the areas of education, performance and the exploration of indigenous folk music traditions, Röntgen maintained a strong German identity and his musical loyalty and cultural spirit remained close to his native Leipzig, where he spent his early formative years.

The catalogue of Röntgen's output as a composer, compiled by his grandson Juriaan, is overwhelming: myriad works for piano, including sonatas, character pieces, dances, suites and variations; sonatas for solo strings, 14 piano trios, 16 string trios, over 20 string quartets, 3 piano quartets, 3 piano quintets, 25 symphonies, 7 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos and a huge body of vocal music.

Julius Röntgen also played an important role in the planning and design of Amsterdam's famous concert hall, the Concertgebouw. It was he who suggested to a committee of city elders that they study the dimensions and acoustic qualities of Leipzig's recently completed new concert hall - the Gewandhaus. The completion of the Concertgebouw in April 1888 changed the city's performance tradition forever, as did the formation of its eponymous orchestra, which became one of the world's greatest.

In 1884, Röntgen co-founded the Amsterdam Conservatoire, together with the Dutch composer Daniel de Lange, the violinist Frans Coenen and the baritone Johannes Messchaert. His association with this institution lasted some 42 years, the final 11, from 1913 to 1924, as its director. Röntgen's influence was substantial. He introduced the Netherlands to Grieg, Brahms and Nielsen as well as to works of the new Russian school by Alexander Borodin and César Cui. He also prepared and mounted the first Dutch performances of Bach's B Minor Mass, the Magnificat, several cantatas and Handel's Anthems.

ARC is The Royal Conservatory's resident ensemble. Led by Artistic Director Simon Wynberg, this group of virtuosi - all faculty at The Glenn Gould School - is dedicated to the performance of chamber music, and to creating diverse and compelling programs. ARC ensemble are: David Louie and Dianne Werner (pianos); Marie Bérard and Erika Raum (violins); Steven Dann (viola); Bryan Epperson (cello) and Joaquin Valdapenas (clarinet). ARC has also invited special guests Carolyn Blackwell (viola) - a student at The Glenn Gould School - and Peter Cosbey (cello) - a graduate of The Glenn Gould School.

Founded in 1886, The Royal Conservatory of Music is the largest and oldest independent arts educator in Canada, serving more than 500,000 active participants each year. To provide an even wider reach for its programs, the Conservatory has launched the Building National Dreams Campaign to restore its Victorian home and to build a state-of-the-art performance and learning centre.

Opening in 2007, the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning will be one of the world's greatest arts and education venues and a wonderful resource for all Canadians. Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), this stunning facility will feature new academic and performance space, including an acoustically perfect 1,140-seat concert hall, new studios and classrooms, a new media centre, library and rehearsal hall. Technologically sophisticated, it will be the heart of creative education in Canada.

For more information, please contact Jack Kado, Director of Public Relations, at media@rcmusic.ca or (416) 408 2824, ext. 461.