Friday, the Mahler Festival in Amsterdam would start with the performance of the First Symphony. Live of course, in the Concertgebouw, by the New York Philharmonic conducted by conductor Jaap van Zweden. It would have kicked off a ten-day Mahler with performances of all his symphonies by renowned orchestras from New York, Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam. But none of that. At least not as planned.

Preparations for this event had already started in 2013. The disappointment was great when the festival, sold out in a short time, and with fans from all over the world, had to be canceled. But people did not sit down sadly. Within a very short time, a complete online Mahler Festival has been set up, which will take place exactly on the ten days that were planned from next week. In addition, news about the move of the offline festival will come on May 8.

For the virtual festival, the special combination with visiting orchestras and maestros has been released. Apparently that was with all kinds of rights and if not possible. The entire festival is therefore carried by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (KCO). There are plenty of excellent video recordings from the recent past in the KCO archives. Mariss Jansons, the former chief conductor who died last year, accounts for the lion's share. He conducts performances of

the First (2013), the Third (2010) and the Eighth Symphony (2011).

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It is striking that Jansons' disgraced successor Daniele Gatti is represented with two symphonies. He conducts the Second (2016) and the Fifth Symphony (2010). In that regard, it is nice to note that Gatti was invited as a guest maestro to the Berliner Philharmoniker the following season. Such an eye-catching and honorable invitation from one of the best orchestras in the world indicates that Gatti has been rehabilitated after his dishonorable discharge from the KCO. Gatti will lead the orchestra in three concerts in January in a program with Stravinsky's' Apollon musagète 'and Shostakovich's' Fifth Symphony.

The other Mahler symphonies are for Iván Fischer (Fourth, 2010), Lorin Maazel (Sixth, 2010), Pierre Boulez (Seventh, 2011) and Bernard Haitink (Ninth, 2011). Finally, Fabio Luisi conducts a 2010 performance of 'Das Lied von der Erde'. The symphonies can be seen on the Facebook and YouTube channels of the KCO and the Concertgebouw. They are preceded by the documentaries that were already made for the festival. A special documentary is the one in which the American singer Jessye Norman, who passed away in 2015, talks about her performances in Amsterdam and about her artistic relationship with Mahler. It's about the diva's last public appearance. A few weeks after this conversation, Norman died completely unexpectedly.

The television (NPO2 Extra) and the radio (NPO Radio 4) participate.