This night, I had the distinct pleasure of managing the sound for the introduction of “Surinaams Klassiek” on Foyer Deck 1 at Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.
The console of choice for the evening was the Midas Venice, standard for this stage. Some swear by it, but give me a digital console any day of the week. If only for a touch of compression on speaker’s voices. As the audience began to trickle in, I had curated a special walk-in playlist, setting the mood for the evening. The absence of complaints was a silent nod of approval, and in the world of sound engineering, sometimes silence is the best compliment.
The evening was set to be a musical journey, with the spotlight on Surinamese classical music. The program commenced at 19:15 with an introduction by Ellen de Vries, the biographer of Majoie Hajary, setting the stage for the main event in the Kleine Zaal at 20:00.
The main program was a melodic tapestry, weaving together the diverse compositions of Majoie Hajary. From the evocative “Sommernacht” to the rhythmic beats of “Indian Dances,” Hajary’s music showcased a vibrant blend of Surinamese styles, effortlessly merging western, eastern, and African sounds with classical and jazz undertones. The evening also featured soulful renditions from Nelly Dahlberg and Lou Lichtveld, adding more layers to the rich musical narrative.
The performers for the evening were nothing short of stellar. Countertenor Arturo den Hartog, with his powerful voice, was the star of the show. Having won the audience prize at the Prinses Christinaconcours in 2021 and having showcased his talent at the Opera Forward Festival for three consecutive years, Arturo’s passion for promoting the works of black composers is commendable. Accompanying him were Djuwa Mroivili on the piano and James Oesi on the contrabass, both of whom added depth and harmony to the evening’s performance.
“Surinaams Klassiek” was not just a concert; it was a celebration of Surinamese music, a testament to its rich heritage and its ability to transcend boundaries. The evening was a reminder of the power of music to connect, to evoke emotions, and to tell stories that resonate across cultures.
For those interested in diving deeper into the world of Majoie Hajary, I’d recommend visiting www.majoiehajary.org. The legacy of her music and its influence on Surinamese classical compositions is a journey worth exploring.