Welcome to the NNO!

The North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (NNO) Welcome to the NNO!

The Orchestra

The NNO was established in 1862, which makes it Netherlands' oldest professional symphony orchestra. It brings symphonic music to life in the three Northern provinces by performing approximately 120 concerts every season: in concert halls, in the open air, during festivals and at schools. The orchestra also regularly travels to stages elsewhere in the country, such as to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and De Doelen in Rotterdam.

The NNO is the most versatile orchestra in the Netherlands. Its programming is surprising and diverse; from pure and unadulterated classical to crossovers with other music genres. The orchestra takes pleasure from acquainting 'new ears' with symphonic music, for example through the Pieter Roelf Youth Concerts and the free open air lunch concerts. The NNO is also a regular on the radio. There is close collaboration with various other art institutions, the Prins Claus Conservatory
and the conservatories in Amsterdam and The Hague.

The head conductor of the orchestra is Brit Stefan Asbury. In 2011, he took over the baton from Michel Tabachnik, who had been head conductor since 2005. Top conductors such as Viktor Liberman, Jean Fournet, Franz Paul Decker, Alain Lombard, Sergiu Comissiona, Richard Dufallo, Alexander Verdernikov, Susanna Mälkki and Nikolai Alexeev are previous conductors of the NNO. Currently we are working with conductors such as Jan Willem de Vriend, Michael Jurowski and Stefan Vladar.

At festivals, the orchestra also regularly pays homage to prominent, current international composers. This is how Wolfgang Rihm (2001), Terry Riley (2002), Hans Werner Henze (2003), Arvo Pärt (2004), Sir Harrison Birtwistle (2005), Heiner Goebbels & Sofia Gubaidulina (2006), Philip Glass (2007 and 2013), Laurie Anderson (2008), Michael Nyman (2009) and Steve Vai (2010 and 2013) came to visit Groningen for the performance of their music.

The orchestra consists of 75 permanent orchestra members and is supplemented with substitutes for large productions.

Ten reasons to come and listen to the NNO

1. There is no other symphony orchestra with such a diverse and varied programme.

2. The NNO gives you music from centuries ago that is still exciting today, contemporary classical music and crossovers with pop music, film and dance.

3. When you listen to live music, you experience it more intensely.

4. Each and every NNO musician is a skilled specialist, who lives for music and their music is proof of that!

5. The NNO is one of the best orchestras in the Netherlands; it really is the symphony orchestra of the northern part of the Netherlands, but it is also a regular guest in other parts of the country, such as at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

6. The concert programmes have been created in a conscious manner. Sometimes the pieces during the concert evening complement each other through genre or composer, at other times, however, they clash spectacularly.

7. The NNO is for young and old. Over the last 15 years, 200,000 children have attended youth concerts in one of the nine northern theatres.

8. The soloists and conductors you see and hear at an NNO concert have been carefully selected. They are specialists with character and (inter)national renown. But, for special concerts we enlist up and coming young talent instead.

9. An evening with the NNO is a pleasant night out, it allows you to recharge your battery.

10. The free open air concerts give you the opportunity to listen to the orchestra of the North from your own chair or blanket, with your own picnic basket within easy reach. An extra reason for taking your time to enjoy it!

A new season is waiting for you

All whilst remaining true to our core values: the high artistic level of the concerts, diverse programming performed by top musicians while maintaining our traditions. This is how we try to reach an audience that is as large and diverse as possible.

As you have come to expect from us, we champion exciting programmes that challenge us to take risks. These ingredients put the orchestra on the Dutch artistic map and allow us to enrich the traditions of the symphony orchestra. With great success! For the coming season we have once more developed an exceptional programme for you.

You will be on the edge of your seat yet again when the NNO lines up at full force with head conductor Stefan Asbury or honorary conductor Michel Tabachnik at the helm. We bring majestic works from the large symphonic repertoires of Dvořák, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and the seldom performed Grande Messe des Morts (Requiem) by Berlioz. This extraordinary concert will feature an orchestra of nearly 200 musicians and a choir of 250 singers, an experience that is sure to leave an intense impression.

When it comes to top soloists, the coming season is full of surprises. We are honored to be performing with some of the biggest world stars. Top soloists who will visit the North include Valentina Lisitsa (piano), Jian Wang (cello) en Nelson Goerner (piano), partly thanks to the support of the Beringer Hazewinkel Foundation.

We will also be performing three times at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, whereby one evening in particular promises to be very special. We will play here in September with the most famous and in demand coloratura soprano of the moment, Diana Damrau as well as with the new top tenor Piotr Beczala. At the end of the concert season we will be performing at Carré with the international opera star Eva Maria Westbroek, who rarely performs in the Netherlands anymore.

Also coming up this season are surprising concerts with contemporary music. Music that shows us the society we live in now and how the contemporary artist regards and contemplates the current times. The mystical work Mysteriën by Louis Andriessen - the Netherlands' most important composer - will have its second chance with the NNO, and Anthony Fiumara has written a new, festive, energetic piece for the reopening of the Lawei in Drachten. The two nights of 'NNO in the Club' will be a real talking point. In Vera, Groningen's pop temple, the NNO will create two performances together with the internationally renowned drum & bass collective NOISIA. Here we will illustrate how these worlds touch and merge with one another in an innovative manner. Balkan superstar, multi-musician and composer Goran Bregović will come to the Netherlands this season for an exclusive concert with the NNO, together with his band, orthodox choir and two female singers. This concert will feature various musical styles such as gypsy music, classical music and Balkan music merging and flowing, accompanied by an upbeat tempo. A brilliant example of how different styles can transition together or even amplify one another.

The crossover offerings include both new and familiar concepts this year. The film music programme will be continued, the most beautiful classical music and film music in one night, hosted by Eric Corton, followed by an afterparty. We present you with the hypnotic film Decasia and the rousing music of Michael Gordon. In collaboration with Opera Zuid and various children's choirs, we take you along to well-known classic musicals My Fair Lady, Sound of Music and Annie. This promises to be a whirlwind of a concert, full of recognition and we are looking forward to it already.

The NNO will be pleased to see you soon!

Marcel Mandos
Artistic Leader/Programmer

Head conductor Stefan Asbury

The British conductor Stefan Asbury has been 'head' of the NNO since 2011. He has since shown himself to be a conscientious and passionate conductor, who enables the orchestra to shine with both power and an eye for detail in the big classics. We are looking forward to his concerts the coming season, especially the performance of the Berlioz Requiem and Mahler's Second Symphony.

Asbury also proved that he was an excellent mentor for young talent when he served as a guest conductor at the Nationaal Jeugd Orkest and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie. The Prins Claus Conservatory symphony orchestra was swept to unprecedented heights by him in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix during their performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth symphony.

In addition to conducting the NNO, Stefan Asbury also conducts globally renowned orchestras, from South Korea to Germany and in his 'second home', the United States. It is befitting of his broad musical interests and position of role model as head conductor that he will also lead the NNO during their film music concerts and an open air concert this coming season.


Address NNO

Trompsingel 35
9724 DA Groningen
+31 (0)50 369 58 00