Ghent and Rotterdam music festivals to enter into an artistic collaboration

29 November 2010

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival and the Ghent Festival of Flanders are to launch an intensive collaboration. The link between the festivals will be the 33 year-old Jelle Dierickx, who will take on the artistic coordination of both music events. The deal was clinched and announced to the media yesterday on the ship the Nieuwe Maze in Rotterdam by Ahmed Aboutaleb and Daniel Termont, the respective mayors of Rotterdam and Ghent. There has been collaboration between Ghent and Rotterdam on the artistic scene recently, e.g. between the music theatre LOD and Opera Days Rotterdam and between Philippe Herreweghe’s Collegium Vocale and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, while the Wunderbaum theatre collective grew within the city theatre of NTGent. But the artistic collaboration announced yesterday goes significantly further. Since 2006 Jelle Dierickx has been working as the artistic coordinator for the Ghent Festival of Flanders and he will now take on the same position at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival. "In Rotterdam they have been closely following what we are doing with the Festival of Flanders in Ghent for some time, and they want to transfer some of the magic that is associated with our festival to Rotterdam. The intention is that the collaboration will reinforce both festivals.” The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival, named after the festival’s current artistic leader, Valery Gergiev, has been running since 1996 and has grown over the 14 years into a multidisciplinary cultural event with an international status. For example the 2007 festival edition opened with Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde’, with a video installation by the famous video artist Bill Viola, and staged major soloists like Russian violist Vadim Repin and Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel. The Ghent Festival of Flanders has in turn been running for 52 years, has had artistic directors of the stature of Gerard Mortier and Serge Dorny and a wide range of star conductors and performers such as singers Kiri Te Kanawa and Barbara Hendricks, conductor Simon Rattle and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The festival brings in over 50,000 visitors a year. The fact that the two festivals are now joining hands will immediately provide an added value. Whether the collaboration between the Ghent Festival of Flanders and the Gergiev Festival means the start of a deeper relationship is another question. “There was already a great deal of contact between the two harbours but we never worked together on an artistically structural basis. This is also a good example of how you can practice efficiency in times of cutbacks," said Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. Source: (press review based on an article by De Morgen of 25 November 2010, page 29)