Unmissable world premiere by pioneering ensemble with special guest Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth).

Brooklyn to Berlin

Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Lee Ranaldo

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The Berlin string ensemble Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop have built themselves a reputation as pioneers on the concert stage. For this performance conducted by André de Ridder, they are joined by special guest guitarist Lee Ranaldo. Co-founder of noise rock band Sonic Youth and, according to many, a truly unique guitar player. Here he performs a new score of his, playing and singing along with the ensemble. New song material will be woven into a structure of a more abstract piece reflecting on the approach of baroque soloist ensembles typical for Kaleidoskop and also evident in Charles Avison’s Concerto grosso No. 3 (1744), which is programmed alongside the uncompromising Licht a capella by the Berlin composer Sebastian Claren and the thrilling and alarming Fuel by New York composer Julia Wolfe and video artist Bill Morrison.
For three of the four compositions in tonight’s programme, artist and designer Carel  Kuitenbrouwer made a lighting design for the led grids on the walls of the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ.

Programme book


Charles Avison
Sebastian Claren
Lee Ranaldo
Julia Wolfe
performed by
Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop
Lee Ranaldo
André de Ridder
video (Fuel)
Bill Morrison
lighting design led-walls
Carel Kuitenbrouwer
in cooperation with
Solistensemble Kaleidoskop
Holland Festival
new work Lee Ranaldo commissioned by
Holland Festival
Sydney Festival


Sebastian Claren (1965)          

Licht a capella (2011)

Dutch premiere


Julia Wolfe (1958)                  


video Bill Morrison




Charles Avison (1709-1770)     

Concerto grosso nr. 3, d-moll (1744)

after Domenico Scarlatti



Lee Ranaldo (1956)                 

Hurricane Transcriptions (Last Night on Earth)

World premiere 

background information


Solistensensemble Kaleidoskop is a young ensemble from Germany with a rapidly growing reputation. At the Holland Festival the ensemble will make their debut in Amsterdam with a characteristically diverse programme. As well as the Dutch premiere of Licht a capella (Light a capella) (2011) by Sebastian Claren and the multimedia composition Fuel by Julia Wolfe and video artist Bill Morrison, the ensemble will also play a brand new work by Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. Kaleidoskop will also perform a concerto grosso from the baroque period to contrast with Ranaldo's work.


Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop was formed in 2006 in Berlin as a chamber string orchestra with a mission to break out of the traditional concert format. True to this mission, their productions have featured old and new music in new and original contexts, often in collaboration with artists from other disciplines such as architecture, dance, literature and theatre. The ensemble has a core membership of fifteen string players, which is sometimes expanded by the addition of guest musicians for particular projects. All members also work as soloists, which makes Kaleidoskop a special ensemble, characterised by a broad mindset and a willingness to take risks. At the Holland Festival, Kaleidoskop will be led by the German conductor André de Ridder, who frequently works with the ensemble in Berlin. De Ridder is a welcome guest at the Holland Festival – last year he conducted a live orchestral version of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and in 2011 he performed in a concert at the Bimhuis with musikFabrik and Uri Caine. Earlier in this year's festival he will be conducting Michel van der Aa's new opera Sunken Garden.


Of special note is the presence of guest musican Lee Ranaldo (1956), one of the founders of experimental noise rock band Sonic Youth from New York. Ranaldo is widely praised for his innovative work on the electric guitar. The American music magazine Spin ranked him joint first place in a top 100 list of best guitarists, together with fellow Sonic Youth band member Thurston Moore. Ranaldo himself will perform in the world premiere of a new score of his, playing the guitar and singing. The work is conceived as a concerto grosso, a form which goes back to the baroque tradition in which the music is passed between a large orchestral group and a smaller group of instrumentalists. Ranaldo will place the members of Kaleidoskop in groups on the stage. In order to highlight the contrast between an old form and new music, the ensemble will also perform a work from the late baroque period, the Concerto grosso nr. 3 (1744) which the English composer Charles Avison (1709-1770) wrote based on a harpsichord sonata by his contemporary Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757). Ranaldo has also arranged several of his works especially for Kaleidoskop's instrumentation.


Sebastian Claren (1965) is a German composer and musicologist. His Licht a capella was premiered in 2011 by Kaleidoskop at the multiday programme ‘XI: ein Polytop für Iannis Xenakis’. The hard and glaring sonorities of Licht a capella betray some affinity with Xenakis, but Claren's instrumentation has more light and air, and is less ponderous. He is especially interested in the endless possibilities of tonal colour these virtuosic strings can produce, giving them all the space they need to experiment at the cutting edge.


Julia Wolfe (1958) is one of the founders and artistic leaders of the New York collective Bang on a Can. Since 2003 she has worked at the composition department of the Manhattan School of Music. Wolfe's music is influenced by the classical as well as the rock and folk traditions and is characterised by great power and energy. She has composed many works for strings. Fuel (2007) developed from Wolfe's discussions with film maker Bill Morrison about the world economy and how human needs are expressed in the demand for fuel. She wrote the work for Ensemble Resonanz, who premiered it in Hamburg in 2007, accompanied by a film of Morrison's.  One of the violinists of the Ensemble Resonanz had told Wolfe that they weren't always challenged to give it their all, that they were capable of producing a lot more than was usually demanded. Wolfe took up the gauntlet and wrote Fuel, a thrilling piece in five parts.

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