Matteo Imbruno e.o. – Opening concert

19 October 2018 @ 20:00 – 23:00
Martinikerkhof 3
9712 JG Groningen
€ 20,00

The Overture to the Schnitger Festival 2018

The opening of the Schnitger Festival 2018 comes in the form of the ‘traditional’ ambulatory evening concert. We walk across the two old market squares, from the one famous organ to the other, and we will hear concerts given by four renowned organists.

The golden gem of Groningen-town, the Schnitger organ in the Martinikerk or St Martin’s Church! When receiving important visitors, the town fathers would take them to this church and proudly show them: “Look what we’ve got here: this place of ours owns the most beautiful organ in the world.”They were undoubtedly right as well. Arp Schnitger had done a first-rate job, and had spent only about a year to accomplish it. In the year 1692 the construction of the organ was completed, and the famous builder had also added two very impressive towers on either side for the pedal division, for further brilliance of the instrument. Then and now, organ buffs came and come to Groningen, just to have a look at, and listen to this gem among organs.

Viva Italia
That is what we can do this evening; look at the instrument and listen to the master-organist Matteo Imbruno, who is going to present a fascinating sampling of Italian baroque music, in line with this year’s theme.
After his recital of about 40 minutes, we can walk as a group across Grote Markt and Vismarkt to the Der Aa-kerk, where three more organists are awaiting us for the next instalment. At the organ, completed by Schnitger in 1702 for the erstwhile University Church and transferred to the Der Aa-kerk in 1815, Petra Veenswijk is going to play French repertoire on a German baroque instrument, Ko Zwanenburg will play the modern card with 20th century music, and the last organist of the foursome, Sander van den Houten, returns to the theme ‘Italy’ and will interpret arrangements of Italian compositions.

Friday 19 October, 20.00 – 22.30

Martinikerk, Martinikerkhof 1, Groningen (from about 21.00 pm Der Aa-kerk, A-kerkhof 2).

€ 20.00

Matteo Imbruno
Matteo Imbruno was born in Pietramontecorvino, Italy, and studied in Bologna with Liuwe Tamminga. His enthusiasm for Holland was probably fed by his Dutch teacher, and he moved to Rotterdam and later again to Lübeck(Germany) where he studied with Bernard Winsemius and Martin Haselböck respectively. He has been the incumbent organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam since 1998, working in the very position Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck had in the 17th century. He also plays the organ in the Amsterdam Hermitage. The performing artist Imbruno has appeared at all the most prestigious festivals in Europe, Japan, Latin America and the US. On various occasions, Imbruno also appeared together with the late Gustav Leonhardt in duo-recitals. He was visiting professor at the Buenos Aires Conservatory, the university of Rosario, the university of Mendoza (Argentina), the Arizona State University (Phoenix,VS) and the Brown University (Providence,VS).
Imbrunohas given masterclasses throughout the world, and is a welcome member in international juries. Some of his CDs present music played on historical organs in Holland and Italy, and the BBC has also recorded some of his recitals. He is the artistic manager of the ‘Internationale Orgelconcours Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’ and of the ‘Fondazione Accademia di Musica Italiana per Organo (Pistoia)’.

Petra Veenswijk
Petra Veenswijk became a certificated teacher of organ in 1985 and a harpsichord teacher in 1990; she was qualified as an executing organ musician in 1989. She was pupil of André Verwoerd, Bernard Winsemius and David Collyer at the Rotterdam Academy of Music. In 1985 she won the National Organ Competition in Leiden (the Netherlands) in the category of twentieth century music. In 1990 she gained the third prize and the prize of the audience during the International Organ Competition of the Rhine Country in Nijmegen (the Netherlands). With a scholarship from the Department of Education, Science and Culture she attended interpretation lessons by Daniël Roth in Paris for twelve months.
She continued her studies in Paris at the ‘Conservatoire National de Région de Paris’ with Marie-Louise Jaquet- Langlais and Jean Langlais (she belongs to the last group of students of Jean Langlais), which resulted in her gaining the Prix d’Excellence.
In 1989-1991 she took several classes in interpretation at the ‘Schola Cantorum’, also in Paris, with amongst others Marie-Claire Alain, André Fleury and Gaston Litaize.
As an international concertorganist she gives a great number of recitals on organ both at home and abroad, i.a. in France (Paris-St. Sulpice, Bordeaux, Dol-de-Bretagne, Tours), Germany (Freiberg, Altenberg, Staden), Czechia (Prague), Belgium and Norway. She regularly gives organ-recitals for radio.

Ko Zwanenburg
The Dutch church musician, organist, pianist, Ko Zwanenburg (1963), studied at the Nederlands Instituut voor Kerkmuziek (Dutch Institute for Church Music) in Utrecht. Piano with Theo Saris and organ with Elly Kooiman and Kees de Wijs. He graduated from the Utrecht Conservatorium with a Diploma of Performing Musician Organ; his teacher was Jan Welmers. He took a course in improvisation with Bert Matter. His study was awarded with an honorable mention for performing 20th-century music.
Ko Zwanenburg gives concerts and accompanies soloists and choirs, and combines these activities with teaching in his own practice for organ and piano in Utrecht. In August 2004, he was appointed as cantor-organist of the Nicolaïkerk in Utrecht. As a performer he can be heard on the CD ‘Jan Welmers Organ Works’ (1999) and ‘50 jaar Marcussenorgel Nicolaïkerk Utrecht’ (2006).
He has performed new Dutch music by Jacques Bank, Berry van Berkum, Daan Manneke, Andries van Rossem, Wim de Ruiter, Jan Welmers with with Ties Mellema (saxophone), Fredrike de Winter (percussion) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Brass Soloists. As a consultant he has been involved with the Stichting Culturele Evenementen Nicolaïkerk te Utrecht (Foundation Cultural Events Nicolai Church in Utrecht) since August 2004.

Sander van den Houten

Sander van den Houten (1987) was appointed organist in the Evangelisch-Lutherse Kerk in The Hague and so became the primary organist of the famous Bätz organ from 1762. He is also titular organist of the Burgwalkerk and the Broederkerk in Kampen where he is also second organist of the Bovenkerk.
When he was 8 years old he began studying piano and organ with Paul Kievit in Middelharnis (Zuid-Holland). He participated in competitions and won prizes at the youth soloe competition in Melissant (3rd prize), the ensemble competition in Oude Tongen (2nd prize) and the Buxtehude competition on Zierikzee (1st prize).
For his professional education as organist he attended the Rotterdam Conservatoire where he was taught by Bas de Vroome (literature) and Aart Bergwerff (improvisation). There he graduated (bachelor). In 2013 he passed his master examination cum laude at the ArtEZ conservatoire in Zwolle; he was a student of Theo Jellema.

Organ Martinikerk
The first instrument in St Martin’s Church we know of was built around 1480. At this stage, the great humanist scholar and diplomat Rudolf Agricola was involved. The most glorious period in the history of the organ was the 18th century: it was extended by Arp Schnitger, by his son Franz Casper and by Albertus Hinsz successively. In the major restoration project of the 1970s and 1980s, the condition of the organ in the 1740s was the benchmark. The instrument is one of the largest baroque organs in Northern Europe, with 3,500 pipes and 53 stops. The organs has four divisions: Hauptwerk, Rückpositiv,Brüstwerkand Pedals

For technical details see:

Organ Der Aa-kerk, Groningen
The original 1662 Hagerbeerorgel burnt down in 1671, the result of a bolt of lightning. Arp Schnitger’s organ of 1697 was also ruined when the tower collapsed in 1710. From that year till 1815, the church was without an organ. In 1815, the builder J.W. Timpe transferred the instrument Schnitger had built in 1702 for the University Church – Broerkerk – to the Der Aa-Kerk. The most recent restoration, in 2011, was carried out by Orgelmakerij Reil in Heerde. There are three manuals and pedals, 40 stops altogether: 13 for the Hauptwerk, 10 for the Rückpositiv, 8 for the Brüstwerkand 9 in the pedals. The chest was constructed by Allert Meijer, and the woodcarving was done by Jan de Rijk.

See for further details: