Raaff, Mendelssohn, and Rachmaninoff
New work, De Raaff (World Premiere)
Violin Concerto, Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 3, Rachmaninoff
Edo de Waart - conductor
Janine Jansen - violin
The Boston Symphony Orchestra
Robin de Raaff
De Raaff studied composition with Geert van Keulen and Theo
Loevendie at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music where he graduated
cum laude in 1997. In 1999 he was invited to work as George
Benjamin’s sole composition student at the Royal College
of Music in London, where he also studied with Julian Anderson.
In 2000 De Raaff was invited to the Tanglewood Music Center
as the ‘senior fellow’. That same summer, his septet
Ennea’s Domein was performed as part of The Festival of
Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, a piece which was later programmed
during the State of the Union concert of the London Sinfonietta.
The Tanglewood Music Center awarded De Raaff a commission to
write a piano concerto, which was premiered at the Tanglewood
Festival of Contemporary Music in 2001. Since that premier,
his Piano Concerto has been performed in Frankfurt, Utrecht
and in Rome (October 2004). The opera RAAFF was commissioned
by the Netherlands Opera and co-produced with The Holland Festival
under the direction of company director Pierre Audi. The origin
of this opera began with De Raaff’s success during a master-class
organized by the Netherlands Opera with Pierre Boulez in 1995.
Boulez praised De Raaff’s string quartet Athomus (1993),
further confirming and encouraging the success that De Raaff
was already receiving in Europe. Soon thereafter, De Raaff shared
his idea with Pierre Audi about an opera inspired by the relationship
between Anton Raaff and Mozart, and the story of Idomeneo and
it’s creation. Anton Raaff was the famous tenor for whom
Mozart wrote the title role of Idomeneo. Audi encouraged De
Raaff to further develop the idea, and introduced him to Janine
Brogt who would become the librettist for RAAFF. After a conception
period of nearly ten years, RAAFF received its premier on the
23rd of June 2004.
Another development in De Raaff’s career is the relationship
built up with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
The Concerto for Orchestra, a piece which was originally performed
and commissioned by the Residentie Orchestra in Den Haag, was
included in a Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra series in the 2002/2003
season. This concert highlighted the teacher - student relationship
from Messiaen to Benjamin and from Benjamin to De Raaff; George
Benjamin was the conductor of this concert. The Royal Concertgebouw
Orchestra has commissioned De Raaff to write a new work for
large orchestra. This work, called “Unisono”, was
premiered under the direction of Ed Spanjaard in Amsterdam on
December 16, 2004. His latest composition which will premier
on March 10 is Violin Concerto and will be performed by Carolin
Widmann and the Dutch Radio Philharmonisch Orkest.
Since 2001 De Raaff teaches Composition and Orchestration at
the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music. In July 1995, he was selected
as the Netherlands' representative at the BP's Young European
Composers Seminar in Leipzig. This was accompanied by a special
prize for three of his chamber music compositions. In November
1995 he received the KNTV Composition Prize for De vlucht van
de magiër and in December 1995 he received the Academisch
Genootschap Prize, awarded every five years, for the compositions
Contradictie I, Athomus and In Memoriam Dimitri Shostakovich.
Anachronie was awarded the first prize at the 1997 International
Competition for Composers of Chamber Music in Winterthur (Switzerland).
In 1998 Double Concerto for clarinet, bass clarinet and orchestra
was awarded the Bernhard van den Sigtenhorst Meyer Prize from
Geneco, an incentive prize for young composers.