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Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest voted world’s best orchestra

DutchAmsterdam.nl — British music magazine The Gramophone has declared the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest (KCO), whose home base is the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, as the best orchestra in the world.

The magazine asked renowned international music critics to rank the world’s twenty best orchestras. They placed the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the top of the list.

The Berliner Philharmoniker came second, and the Wiener Philharmoniker took third place. The London Symphony Orchestra is in fourth place, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by former KCO director Bernard Haitink, along with Pierre Boulez, takes up fifth place.

In 2005, the BBC’s magazine Music, the world’s best-selling magazine devoted to classical music, declared KCO director Mariss Jansons “the greatest director of our times.”

Concertgebouw (concert hall) in Amsterdam

Ad for the Concertgebouw (concert hall) in Amsterdam

According to The Gramphone’s panel of music critics, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has managed to retain its own sound in a world of globalization. The journalists say this is “unique,” particularly now that more and more orchestras start to sound alike.

The KCO’s sound primarily consists of its warm, velvet-like strings. Spokesperson Sjoerd van den Berg: “Music lovers say it matches the colors Rembrandt used in his paintings.”

Due to its highly regarded accoustics, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (literally, ‘concert building’) — after which the KCO is named — is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world.

Take a look inside the Concertgebouw.

On a personal note

I fell in love with the Concertgebouw — and with certain genres of classical music — as a young child.

My mother took me, my sister and brother to concerts. My father preferred his ever-growing collection of records — yes, the old 33RPM LPs, played on a rather ancient gramophone turntable.

But what really got me into the music was the fact that class 5 and 6 of my primary school would visit the Concertgebouw from time to time. There we listened to classical masterpieces as Die Moldau, Die Zauberflöte, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and many more — as directed and explained by the great Bernard Haitink.

Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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