The People's Salon

A salon for the Friends of Philharmonie zuidnederland

New Year's Eve has its rituals. Oliebollen and good intentions go hand in hand with the countdown before the new year starts. Another one of these rituals is the Top 2000, the radio program on NPO Radio 2 in which listeners compile a list of the best popular music. What makes the countdown to number 1 - Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody for years - so special is not only the music, but also the stories that listeners tell about their favorite song. A shared past emerges in the recognition of the experiences of others.
We know that classical music is also linked to stories from the counterpart of the Top 2000 on NPO Radio 4, the Heart & Soul List. The presenters know that listening to Bach, Mendelssohn, Dvořák or Ives can touch, inspire, move, energize, comfort or bring memories to life. How do we ensure that the audience not only listens to classical music, but also to each other's stories about that music? That question is the starting point of the second experiment that the Maastricht Center for the Innovation of Classical Music is conducting this season together with philharmonie zuidnederland: The People’s Salon.

In September, the Friends of the orchestra were invited to take responsibility for a special concert. A group of fifteen Friends responded enthusiastically and came together to exchange stories in which classical music plays a leading role: childhood memories, everyday experiences, happy moments, love and mourning. The father who worked for Philips and was away a lot, but playing Schumann's Träumerei on the piano gave a sense of security. To hear a violin sonata by Mozart for the first time, shortly after the war, and to realize that there is more music than what is heard in the church. An old car that made so much noise that you had to turn up the Brahms symphony on the car radio.
The concert program has been compiled based on stories like this, and it will be performed on Saturday, 25 January at AINSI, Theater aan de Maas in Maastricht. Just like in the Parisian salons around the turn of the century that Marcel Proust described, music and conversation go hand in hand. The different spaces in the former cement factory offer the opportunity not only to listen to music performed by the orchestra together, but also to what others say about it. And to get into conversation together about the value of classical music in a lifetime.

Ties van de Werff, Imogen Eve and Peter Peters

This article was first published in Dutch in de Klank from philharmonie zuidnederland.