The Netherlands Wind Ensemble NBE “Made In … Georgia”

Photo : Hans van der Woerd 

When Music Has No Boundaries 

Line Up :

25 May – Tbilsis State Conservatory / 18:00

26 May – 33 ა Club In Vake Park / 21:30 / Entrancee is free 

28 May – Telavi Drama Theatre / 19:00 / Entrancee is free 

Real musical adventures will kick off in the last week of May with the incredible project of the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble (NBE) “Made in… Georgia”. Dutch musicians accompanied by Georgian talent invite you to remarkable musical journeys in Tbilisi, warm and welcoming coastal city Batumi and in Ushguli, a picturesque village of Svaneti considered the highest in Europe. 

Driven by shared enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, NBE pursues its own brand of musical theater, resistant to pigeonholing and seeking out new, unexpected directions to connect music across time, genre and the various disciplines of art and artists from different cultural backgrounds.  

The ensemble started the project ‘Made in…’ in 2014, in an attempt to build bridges between cultures. Apart from acclaimed professional musicians, NBE also looks to hidden home-grown talent for inspiration. NBE also supports local music education through cooperation with conservatories, music schools and other youth organizations. In addition, within the project, workshops are given with local musicians and conservatory students.

Early in 2017, Bart Schneemann, artistic director of NBE, and Niek Wijns, managing director of NBE, visited Georgia together with one of the leading young Georgian clarinet-players, Levan Tskhadadze, in order to prepare the program for the upcoming tour. The Dutch guests accompanied the Georgian musician around Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi met local musicians. As a result, musicians selected for this project come from different musical backgrounds: Niaz Diasamidze (pop/ folk), Gori Woman’s Choir (classical/world music), Anchiskhati Choir (Georgian Polyphony), Max Matchaidze – Luna 9 (electronic) and Levan Tskhadadze amongst others. The project is also open for conservatory students. 

Concerts will be held in classical halls such as the Tbilisi Opera Hall, and will also be played in Fabrika and free open-air concerts to attract a wide range of Georgian attendees. 

After the Georgian tour, in October 2017, NBE plans to create a program with Georgian musicians in their home theater, Podium Mozaïek in Amsterdam. Footage filmed by the musicians during their May tour will be shown as projections during performances. The program will be presented to Dutch audiences in 10 concerts from 5 to 19 October.

Photo : Hans van der Woerd 

Bart Schneemann, artistic director of NBE

  • NBE is famous for its unique and adventurous programming and performances which are very popular both at home and abroad. What is the main secret of this success?

Perhaps it is because of the programming; the choices we make in terms of which pieces we play. Perhaps it’s due to our enthusiasm on stage (we’re a real troupe of friends who enjoy playing together), perhaps it’s because we connect with other musicians all over the world. Perhaps it’s because during our concerts, we are in contact with our audience, or perhaps it is simply because we play beautiful music. But in any case, we are very aware that music is a universal language, and that music can have a powerful effect like nothing else can.

  • Categorizations such as classical or contemporary are too narrow for your programmes, but still: how could they be described in a few words? 

That’s true, and although we all have a background in classical music and it’s still the cornerstone of our repertoire, we’re indeed open to all styles of music from all four corners of the earth and have just one very important, forceful belief: the music has to be superb! Superb music can be found in the classical genre, but also in Georgian Polyphony or Georgian pop, for example.

  • What is your main musical message to audiences?

We want to bring our audience into a world that can make you laugh or bring you to tears within the span of an evening. We want to surprise our audience, connect them and sometimes incite them to be open to something unexpected.

  • How did you come up with the “Made in…” project?

Over the past 30 years, we’ve given thousands of concerts with this group and gone on many different tours all over the world. That’s how we came up with ‘Made in…’. We get on a plane not knowing exactly what we’ll come across: we go in search of unique musicians that want to play with us on stage, and we aren’t even 100% sure where we’re going to be playing. We are open to the unexpected. ‘Made in Georgia’ is our 3rd! Before that, we went to the US and Cuba. We loved that, and the tours are some of the highlights of our history.

  • You pre-visited Georgia early in 2017 and met local musicians to plan the May tour. How do you look back on this visit: are Georgian musicians open to such initiatives as the “Made in…” project?

It was an amazing experience, seeing the enthusiasm of the artists in Georgia for our cunning plans and to see how open they were to playing their music on stage just a bit differently from what they usually do! That sure is promising.

  • What do you expect from the Georgian tour?

During our pre-visit, we found that Georgians are very warm and passionate people. So we hope that on our tour, the audience will react to our music with the same warmth and passion! And of course, after the concerts, we hope to enjoy some of that delicious Georgian wine…!

Photo : Christopher Pugmire

Levan Tskhadadze, Georgian clarinet-player, an organizer and participant of the “Made  in… Georgia” project.

  • How did you get involved in “Made in… Georgia”?

The Nederlands Blazers Ensemble intended to visit Georgia long ago. I met Bart Schneemann for the first time in 2005 at the Tbilisi Conservatory when he was performing ‘A Walk in Childhood’ devoted to Gia Kancheli along with the Conservatory Students Orchestra conducted by Lev Markiz. So, the first ideas of visiting Tbilisi with his ensemble were born then. Later, I tried to invite them to my festival, but it didn’t work out. Finally, we have this tour and I was invited to join as an organizer and musician. I believe that this project will be remarkable and memorable for all participants.  

  • A few words about your professional background.

I studied in Tbilisi, Amsterdam, Munich and Nice. At present I play a lot of chamber music at different festivals and in various musical halls in Europe. In addition, Tbilisi Conservatory invited me as a lecturer of wind-instruments this year. Plus, I established a festival of wind-instruments in 2009 to be held for the ninth time this year. 

  • What do you expect from this tour and how do you see the collaboration of Georgian and Dutch musicians?

This ensemble has a wide experience not only in performing classical music, but also in putting together and synthesising different musical genres, so I see this collaboration resulting in an incredible product, having no analogue in Georgia or beyond. 

  • How were local musicians chosen for the project?

Musicians were presented by me, but chosen by Bart Schneemann. The main purpose was to put together versatile Georgian musical genres in one concert.  

  • About your future plans in short.

I wish to continue actively contributing to Georgian classical music, as I have for the past ten years. There are also some interesting concerts in the Netherlands, Germany and France ahead. Additionally, two remarkable projects with Georgian Sinfonietta will take place in Austria and France. Our collaboration has a number of highlights, such as: Chiatura Musical Academy (2010-2013), the first Georgian orchestra on Mezzo, a concert in Amsterdam Concertgebouw (2012), performing unknown musical pieces at the festival of wind-instruments and much more. I am sure future projects will also be great. 


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