Expedition Zone

Atlas Premiere

Joël Bons' latest work for the Atlas Ensemble

Photo Foppe Schut

Oranjewoud Festival is hosting a second residency for the Atlas Ensemble with an entirely new formation: sixteen wind players and two percussionists from all over the world. It is part of a multi-year project initiated by Oranjewoud Festival and developed together with composer Joël Bons. In 2019, Bons won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, for his composition Nomaden. The Atlas Project is a follow-up to this and aims at the step-by-step development of a transcultural Atlas Orchestra, consisting of 40-50 musicians. An unheard sound world is being unlocked. On June 21, 2025, the orchestra will debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw during the NTR Saturday Matinee in collaboration with the Holland Festival.

View the project page

Like last year, the premiere concert in 2024 will consist of a motley array of new compositions, specially commissioned by Oranjewoud Festival for a unique collective of top musicians and instruments from different cultures. While last year string instruments took center stage, this year it is the turn of a literally unheard of arsenal of wind instruments plus percussion. The Atlas Wind and Percussion Ensemble that Bons has put together is actually a completely new formation: 14 of the 18 musicians are participating for the first time (see player list below).

The concert promises to be a succession of diverse pieces for bamboo flutes, double reeds and mouth organs, ranging from dreamy to fierce, from melancholy to brilliant, from intimate solos to hefty transcultural wind orchestra. You won't know what you're hearing!

Joël Bons 283 Strings - Atlas Ensemble, Oranjewoud Festival May 29, 2023
Joël Bons 283 Strings suite (7 short pieces) - Atlas Ensemble, Oranjewoud Festival May 29, 2023

Joël Bons: "I see before me a great multitude of players from all corners of the world with all different instruments, an enormous range of colors and cultures that come to sound in various formations and enter into unprecedented relationships with each other. It will be a motley assemblage of musicians where new sound perspectives and "musical multi languages" are possible. The forms of music that can arise with this unique company range from solo to chamber musical to orchestral in a kaleidoscopic variety.'




Joël Bons - 132 管 (guan), 12-part new work for 16 wind instruments and 2 percussionists (world premiere), commissioned by Oranjewoud Festival

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Oranjewoud Festival is a low-threshold, multifaceted and stimulating music festival in the fairytale parkland of Oranjewoud near Heerenveen (Friesland) | May 30 to June 2, 2024

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