In 85 years’ time, the Philips Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has developed from a small group of music friends into one of the largest and most renowned symphonic orchestras of the Netherlands. Its more than 90 members include professional musicians and advanced amateurs from greater Eindhoven, and what they all share is a deep passion for classical music. The orchestra brings five different programmes per year, frequenting top venues such as Muziekgebouw Eindhoven and Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
Over the years, PSO has shown that making music on a high level and having fun together are a successful combination. Their weekly rehearsals often end with drinks, and once a year they spend a whole weekend rehearsing and socializing. Whether it is traditional symphonic repertoire or light music, PSO feels at home. They performed during festivals and other special occasions, in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, outside a castle accompanied by real canons (Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812), and at Schiphol Airport featuring a flying, singing pilot. Never a dull moment. Famous soloists include Lisa Ferschtman, Rosanne Philippens, Nino Gvetadze, Behzod Abduraimov, and prodigy Noa Wildschut.
PSO makes regular concert tours abroad, which at the same time are forms of cultural exchange, as PSO always includes a composition from the host country. After China (twice), Thailand, Italy, Brazil, and the Baltics (invited by the Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi, to offer their services at the Järvi Summer Academy), Israel in April 2017, in collaboration with Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion. End of 2017, another dream will come true: Mahler 8, with 150 musicians, 350 singers and 8 soloists. For concert details please visit www.philipssymfonieorkest.nl.
For nearly 30 years, PSO has been conducted by Chief Conductor Jules van Hessen, who proved an inspiring factor. He started back then as an ambitious young conductor with players who - admittedly - were not always as disciplined as he would prefer. He set some clear rules and was determined to push up the artistic level. And what a difference indeed compared to the early days. Today, the flamboyant Jules van Hessen is very much in demand as a conductor and TV personality, and PSO is delighted to have him.
PSO also takes up the challenge to promote culture in a broader sense, and classical music in particular. Once a year, it gives an easy-listening concert especially for the little ones, where children sit on the floor right in front of the conductor so they will not miss any of the action. Those who already play an instrument may join the orchestra - with a simplified part. Needless to say it is an unforgettable experience to be surrounded by a fully-fledged symphonic orchestra with that volume, power and passion. They love it.