photo: Adam Mork)

Muziekgebouw has it all

Jaw-dropping views, acoustic marvel, and an adventurous programme

15 November 2023

One of Europe’s most beautiful concert halls graces the banks of the river IJ. A versatile hall known for its outstanding acoustics and bold programme. Not only audiences are captivated; the Muziekgebouw’s impressive architecture and modern, innovative hall also earn praise from musicians, providing a concert experience unlike any other. But what really makes the Muziekgebouw unique?

Pygmalion (photo Foppe Schut)

A Haven for adventure
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ is the place to be for the adventurous lover of classical and contemporary music in its broadest sense. This Amsterdam venue presents a vast range of concerts: from classical to contemporary, to jazz, global, and cutting-edge electronic music. Its groundbreaking acoustics not only weave a spell on audiences. Musicians from all over the world call this hall their favourite place to play.

Hatim Idar + Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest (photo Marieke Wijntjes)

Ideal acoustics
Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman, for example. She performs on all the major stages, but a unique bond has blossomed between her and the Muziekgebouw. Over the years, she has given countless concerts at the venue, both as a soloist and with a quartet or orchestra. “The building is beautiful, from the moment you walk inside. A place with a warm, inviting atmosphere, but also modern and timeless. The view of Amsterdam from the Muziekgebouw is breathtaking, especially at sunset.” The wooden walls add a touch of warmth and comfort to the room. “But the acoustics of the hall are the most important thing to me as a musician, because they can be adapted to the type of music being performed. That’s truly unique.”

Liza Ferschtmann (foto Martina Simkovicova)
Liza Ferschtman (photo Martina Simkovicova)

Immersed in music
The Grote Zaal ('Main Hall') of Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ is a versatile venue that can accommodate a wide range of musical performances. The floor, walls, and chairs can be rearranged to create a variety of different configurations. Liza: “The hall has a pleasant size. If you are on stage alone or with a few musicians, you never feel like you are playing in a sea of space. It always feels cosy, and it’s easy to connect with the audience.” As a concertgoer, Liza also regularly sits on the other side of the stage. “As a listener, no matter where you are sitting, you have good visibility and the music sounds clear and warm everywhere. You can soar and embrace the music, it’s a place where you want to be.”

photo: Foppe Schut

World-class programme
For music enthusiasts seeking an enchanting or unexpected musical experience, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ offers a captivating and diverse array of concerts. Top international artists such as the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (March 2024), pianist Alexandre Tharaud (January and March 2024) or the Danish String Quartet (January 2024). Weaving through the season like a golden thread are special thematic series for piano, vocal, Baroque music, choirs, and string quartets. And Thursday evenings are always dedicated to contemporary music, with premieres and modern classics. In late January 2024, the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam makes its return for the third time: the largest string quartet festival in the world, with the absolute world elite coming to Amsterdam for a week.

photo: Melle Meivogel

Experience it yourself
Would you like to experience the acoustics and atmosphere of this concert hall for yourself? Explore all upcoming concerts and events here. Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ is a 15-minute walk or a quick tram ride from Amsterdam Central Station. You can also easily park your car or bicycle under the building.

This is a translation of the article previously published as an online supplement to de Volkskrant in November 2023.