William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula Associate Artists for Holland Festival 2019

The South-African visual artist and stage director William Kentridge (1955) and the Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula (1974) have been appointed Associate Artists for the 72nd Holland Festival in 2019. Their appointment will take effect from 1 February 2018. The Holland Festival thus introduces a new model in which the permanent artistic team works with these two associates. Their work and their input will significantly contribute to the 72th edition of the festival. 

After the announcement of current artistic director Ruth Mackenzie's departure after June 2018, the Holland Festival initially sought to appoint a part-time artistic director to shape four editions of the festival together with general director Annet Lekkerkerker and the artistic team. During the procedure however many artists indicated that the commitment to the festival would be too demanding in combination with their artistic practice, partly due to the long-term agreement the festival was looking for. This notion led the festival's management and supervisory board to the decision to appoint two Associate Artists for 2019. 

As an artist driven festival, this set-up will allow the Holland Festival to be up-to-date with what is going on in performing arts as well as in the world in general. At the same time, it will put the spotlight on two acclaimed artists, presenting and coproducing their art, giving the audiences access to their sources of inspiration and fascinations as well as the context in which they create their work.

For the edition of 2019 the Holland Festival chooses to work with two artists who live and work in Sub-Saharan Africa, are well-known around the world and won international acclaim in their art form. The festival will coproduce and present new work by both of them. In a co-production with partners including The Park Avenue Armory and 14-18 NOW (Londen), William Kentridge will present his new performance The Head and the Load. Faustin Linyekula is staging his new choreography Not another diva. In addition, they will also discuss with the team which other works of their own or by other artists they would like to show, as well as which artists they feel related to. The Festival expects that this approach will create a distinctive and coherent part of the programme. 

General director Annet Lekkerkerker: “I am delighted that both artists have agreed to commit to the Holland Festival, as are the festival’s curators Annemieke Keurentjes (dance and theatre) and Jochem Valkenburg (music and music theatre). We all look forward to the collaboration.” 

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Martijn Sanders commented: “The Holland Festival has always put artists and their art at the centre of the festival. With this appointment the Holland Festival intensifies its artist driven approach, enhancing the relationship between artist and festival. It is great that we can work with these two extraordinary artists for the 2019 edition, when we will also present the Stockhausen opera cycle aus LICHT.” 

William Kentridge as well as Faustin Linyekula have previously staged their work at the Holland Festival. Kentridge featured in 2010 with Telegrams from the Nose, in 2012 with Refuse the Hour and in 2014 with Winterreise. In 2015, he staged Alban Berg's Lulu with De Nationale Opera (Amsterdam).

Faustin Linyekula featured at the festival in 2012, with La création du monde 1923 - 2012 for Ballet de Lorraine.


On the 6th of February at 3 pm. in Bimhuis, Amsterdam, artistic director Ruth Mackenzie will present the programme of Holland Festival 2018. This will be the last edition under auspices of Ruth Mackenzie.

PRESS RELEASE Amsterdam, 6 February 2018


Borders and Boundaries
This year the Holland Festival invites artists crossing boundaries from the literal to the metaphoric, with artists from round the world exploring the tensions on the borders between their countries, to artists exploring the boundaries of civilised behaviour personally and in society. The work extends to question the boundaries between art forms and between artists and audiences:

  • Ong Ken Seng’s and the National Changgeuk Company of Korea’s Trojan Women
  • Gurdjieff Ensemble from Armenia & the Hewar Ensemble from Syria
  • MetropoleOrchestra & Soloists from the Syrian Big Band
  • Caroline Guiela Nguyen’s Saigon
  • Christoph Marthaler’s Tiefer Schweb
  • Gisèle Vienne’s Crowd
  • De Warme Winkel & Nederlands Kamerkoor’s Gesualdo
  • Calixto Bieito’s The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety
  • George Benjamin’s Written on Skin
  • Mohamed El Khatib’s Stadium
  • Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies
  • Steve McQueen’s End Credits

Composer in focus George Benjamin
George Benjamin himself has curated a retrospective of his work, tracking the development of his exploration of the voice and theatricality, leading up to his new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence. The programme includes:

  • George Benjamin conducting his new opera Lessons in Love and Violence  - a coproduction with the Dutch National Opera.
  • George Benjamin conducting Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the semi-staged Written on Skin.
  • George Benjamin improvising a live film score on piano for Fritz Lang’s film Der müde Tod - a rare opportunity to see George composing his own music live.
  • And Benjamin’s work Sometime Voices can be seen and heard at the Holland Festival Proms.

Holland Festival Proms
For the 4th year, the Holland Festival takes the chairs out of the stalls of the world famous Concertgebouw and puts on a programme of 5 concerts in a day, for only 11 euro a ticket.

With world premieres from:

  • Daníel Bjarnason’s We came in peace for all mankind – a piece for 12 grand pianos and 12 horns.
  • Jalasat Rouhiya by the Ensemble Rhoum El Bakkali from Morocco with the Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest and Orchestre Temsamani.
  • s t a r g a z e with guest singers Anna Calvi, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab) and Soap&Skin, playing David Bowie’s Blackstar, as they did in the BBC Proms.
  • Colin Benders’ Electro Symphonic Orchestra – a  durational music installation for synthesisers.

And more Music & Music Theatre

  • The 71st edition of the Holland Festival opens with the multimedia concert Richters Patterns, music by Marcus Schmickler and paintings by Gerhard Richter, performed by Ensemble Musikfabrik, preceded by Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel by Cappella Amsterdam.
  • Kronos Quartet return with a new programme of masterclasses and concerts, with guests including Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat, American musician and composer Jherek Bischoff, Vietnamese-American musician Vân-Ánh Võ and the Malian Trio Da Kali.
  • Klangforum Wien perform composer George Friedrich Haas’ piece hyena, about a personal battle against alcoholism.   
  • Toshi Reagon's science fiction opera Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower explores the future of borders.


  • JR, an epic analysis of American dystopia by the provocative, young Belgian company FC Bergman - at the festival for its first time.
  • Anna Karenina - although with a different text and a different melody, a theatrical radio show by Barbara Bürk and Clemens Sienknecht. 


  • Neues Stück 1by Dimitris Papaioannou for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, the first new full-length production for the Wuppertal dance ensemble, will kick off the dance programme.
  • Legacy of choreographer Nadia Beugré, a tribute to strong women.
  • Asian and Brazilian martial arts in Kata by Compagnie par Terre and Anne Nguyen.
  • And the Dutch Arno Schuitemaker makes his debut at the Festival with his new piece The Way You Sound Tonight.

Digital Art

  • Trevor Paglen creates multimedia concert with the Kronos Quartetin Sight Machine
  • Two programmes explore the interaction of live games and live music:
    - Dear Esther with cinematic music by composer Jessica Curry.
    - The dog opera Oikospiel II: Heat Cantata, developed by the American David Kanaga. 


  • Jem Finer’s cyclical composition Longplayer, a sound installation in the Lloyd Hotel tower.
  • Compagnie par Terre’s Danse des guerriers de la ville, an urban dance circuit in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.
  • Stedelijk Museum and the Holland Festival present the American choreographer Ralph Lemon’s Chorus as a pop-up performance.
  • The annually Opera in the park: The Dutch National Opera’s performance of The Tales of Hoffman is being televised on a giant screen in Frankendael park.
  • Lunchtime concertsin the Rijksmuseum’s underpassage by Royal Conservatoire studentsand talks and more in a broad context programme.

This is Ruth Mackenzie’s last festival, although she has also worked on the huge Stockhausen project aus LICHT, already announced for 2019. Also announced for 2019, William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula will be the Associate Artists.

Note to the editor/not for publication:

For more information, please contact
Holland Festival, An De Ridder, press officer,
[email protected] or by phone on +31 (0)20 788 21 37