The Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic (= NRCP) is a versatile orchestra that covers a broad and varied terrain. The orchestra performs in various formations, from Baroque to contemporary music ensemble. Michael Schønwandt is its chief conductor and artistic director. Its Principal Guest Conductors are Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen and James MacMillan. On special request of the orchestra former chief conductor Jaap van Zweden was appointed conductor emeritus in May 2011.
The NRCP makes an important contribution to the Saturday Matinee, Sunday Morning and Robeco Summer concert series in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Utrecht’s Vredenburg Friday series and the NTR concerts in Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. All of these concerts are broadcast via Radio 4 and many are recorded for live Internet streaming and TV broadcasts. The NRCP is a frequent guest in De Magische Muziekfabriek educational series, the International Gaudeamus Music Week and the Holland Festival.
In April 2011, the NRCP, with conductor Jaap van Zweden and violinist Simone Lamsma, performed the Queen’s Concert in Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.
The NRCP is renowned for its impassioned performances of contemporary music, often including premieres of new compositions. It was awarded the Muziekgebouw Prize in August 2008 for its performance of Richard Rijnvos’ NYConcerto, with the piano soloist John Snijders. In collaboration with De Nederlandse Opera, the NRCP, conducted by Martyn Brabbins, gave six performances of the spectacular opera A Dog’s Heart by Alexander Raskatov before full audiences at the 2010 Holland Festival. At the internationally respected Donaueschingen Festival for new music, the orchestra performed no less than four world premieres in a single concert conducted by Peter Eötvös in October 2010. One month later its concertante performance of Pascal Dusapin’s Faustus, the last night, the first in the Netherlands, received rave reviews.
The NRCP is also known for its performances of familiar and lesser known works of the old masters conducted by specialists in historical performance practice. In recent years the NRCP worked with conductors like Harry Christophers, Andrew Manze, Masaaki Suzuki, Kenneth Montgomery and John Nelson and of course Principal Guest Conductors Frans Brüggen and Philippe Herreweghe. It has been praised by the public and press for its energetic, refreshing interpretations of the L.v. Beethoven symphonies, for example, and the operas Piramo e Tisbe by Johann Adolf Hasse and Armida by Haydn - the first performance in the Netherlands in many years.
The NRCP’s CD catalogue clearly reflects its versatility. The second of its QuattroLive label releases presents both L.v. Beethoven’s First Symphony conducted by Frans Brüggen and Tristan Keuris’ Symphony in D conducted by Jaap van Zweden. For various other labels, it has recorded music by Joseph Haydn, Igor Stravinsky, Henk Badings, Otto Ketting and others. Releases of contemporary music were recently added to its catalogue, including Rijnvos' NY Concerto, Gavin Bryars’ piano concerto The Solway Canal, and Visitatio Sepulchri by the composer and principal guest conductor James MacMillan. International Record Review wrote of the last-named, universally praised recording: “Orchestral playing of a truly virtuoso aspect”.