The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO) is one of the very best orchestras in the world. But what makes the orchestra so special? Time and time again, critics have lauded its unique sound, which clearly stands out among thousands of others. Although sound is difficult to describe in words, the RCO’s string section has been called ‘velvety’, the sound of the brass ‘golden’, the timbre of the woodwinds ‘distinctly personal’ and the percussion have an international reputation.

Amsterdam. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO).

While the exceptional acoustics of the Royal Concertgebouw, designed by the architect A.L. van Gendt, also play an important role in this respect, no other orchestra sounds like the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Main Hall. The influence exerted on the orchestra by its chief conductors, of whom there have been only six in the last 125 years, is also important. As is that of the musicians themselves. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is made up of 120 players hailing from over twenty countries. Despite its size, the orchestra actually functions more like a chamber orchestra in terms of the sensitivity with which its members listen to, and work in tandem with, one another. Indeed, this requires both a high individual calibre and a great sense of mutual trust and confidence.

Mariss Jansons (1943) was welcomed as the orchestra’s sixth chief conductor in September 2004. He will leave his post at the end of the current season. With effect from the 2016/17 season, Daniele Gatti (1961) will be chief-conductor of the RCO. Serving before him in that capacity were Willem Kes (1856-1934) (chief conductor from 1888 to 1895), Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) (from 1895 to 1945), Eduard van Beinum (from 1945 to 1959), Bernard Haitink (1929) (from 1963 to 1988) and Riccardo Chailly (from 1988 to 2004).

Amsterdam. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO).

Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951) laid the foundation for the orchestra’s acclaimed Mahler tradition. Eduard van Beinum introduced Bruckner’s symphonies and French music. The Christmas Matinee concerts conducted by Bernard Haitink (1929) and televised in many European countries earned him wide acclaim. Bernard Haitink (1929)was appointed honorary conductor in 1999. Conductor emeritus since 2004, Riccardo Chailly provided a great impetus to the programming of contemporary music and opera.

Under the direction of Mariss Jansons (1943), the orchestra has consistently focused on composers such as Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), Richard Strauss (1864-1949) and Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), as well as important twentieth-century composers like Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) and Messiaen, to whom large-scale thematic projects have been devoted.

Amsterdam. Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO).


During Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951)'s fifty-year tenure, leading composers conducted the orchestra on more than one occasion. Through the years, the orchestra has continued its collaboration with composers such as George Benjamin, Oliver Knussen, Tan Dun and Thomas Adès, who over the last few years have followed in the footsteps of other conducting composers like Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)Richard Strauss (1864-1949), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Bruno Maderna, Witold Lutoslawski, Otto Ketting, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Hans Werner Henze and John Adams.

Amsterdam. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO).


Programming is based on two essential elements: tradition and renewal. The orchestra has long been praised for its performances of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) and Anton Bruckner (1824-1896). It also upholds a number of special long-established concert traditions, such as the Passion and Christmas Matinee performances. In addition, the special AAA project series (Alive, Adventurous, Alluring) features music programmed around various changing themes. The orchestra also collaborates with world-renowned guest conductors and specialists. For instance, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who is largely responsible for the orchestra’s reputation when it comes to eighteenth-century repertoire, was appointed honorary guest conductor in October 2000.


The Concertgebouw Orchestra was founded in 1888. On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 1988, the orchestra officially received the appellation ‘Royal’. It celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2013. In addition to some eighty concerts performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra gives forty concerts at leading concert halls throughout the world each year. The orchestra participates in residencies in Paris (Salle Pleyel), Brussels (BOZAR), London (Barbican Centre) and Frankfurt (Alte Oper).

Amsterdam. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO).


Her Majesty Queen Máxima.

Chief conductors

  1. 1888-1895 Willem Kes (1856-1934)
  2. 1895-1945 Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951)
  3. 1945-1959 Eduard van Beinum (1900-1959)
  4. 1963-1988 Bernard Haitink (1929)
  5. 1988-2004 Riccardo Chailly (1953)
  6. 2004-2016 Mariss Jansons (1943)
  7. 2016-0000 Daniele Gatti (1961)

Title conductors


1954. Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO) in New York. 120 members, leaving Rotterdam in 01-10-1954, arriving in New York 11-10-1954. Conductors Eduard van Beinum and Rafael Kubelik. 45 concerts in 53 days.

Musicians of the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO/KCO) season 2016/2017


  • Vesko Eschkenazy
  • Liviu Prunaru

First violin

  • Tjeerd Top
  • Marijn Mijnders
  • Ursula Schoch
  • Marleen Asberg
  • Keiko Iwata
  • Tomoko Kurita
  • Henriëtte Luytjes
  • Borika van den Booren
  • Marc Daniel van Biemen
  • Christian van Eggelen
  • Sylvia Huang
  • Mirte de Kok
  • Junko Naito
  • Benjamin Peled
  • Nienke van Rijn
  • Jelena Ristic
  • Valentina Svyatlovskaya
  • Michael Waterman

Second violin

  • Henk Rubingh
  • Caroline Strumphler
  • Susanne Niesporek
  • Jae-Won Lee
  • Anna de Veij Mestdagh
  • Paul Peter Spiering
  • Herre Halbertsma
  • Marc de Groot
  • Arndt Auhagen
  • Leonie Bot
  • Sanne Hunfeld
  • Mirelys Morgan Verdecia
  • Sjaan Oomen
  • Jane Piper
  • Eke van Spiegel
  • Annebeth Webb
  • Joanna Westers


  • Ken Hakii
  • Michael Gieler
  • Saeko Oguma
  • Frederik Boits
  • Roland Krämer
  • Guus Jeukendrup
  • Jeroen Quint
  • Eva Smit
  • Martina Forni
  • Yoko Kanamaru
  • Vilém Kijonka
  • Edith van Moergastel
  • Vincent Peters
  • Jeroen Woudstra
  • Harold Hirtz


  • Gregor Horsch
  • Tatjana Vassiljeva
  • Johan van Iersel
  • Fred Edelen
  • Benedikt Enzler
  • Arthur Oomens
  • Chris van Balen
  • Jérôme Fruchart
  • Christian Hacker
  • Maartje-Maria den Herder
  • Honorine Schaeffer
  • Julia Tom

Double bass

  • Dominic Seldis
  • Pierre Emmanuel De Maistre
  • Théotime Voisin
  • Marietta Feltkamp
  • Carol Harte
  • Rob Dirksen
  • Georgina Poad
  • Nicholas Schwartz
  • Olivier Thiery


  • Emily Beynon
  • Kersten McCall
  • Julie Moulin
  • Mariya Semotyuk-Schlaffke
  • Vincent Cortvrint (Piccolo)


  • Alexei Ogrintchouk
  • Ivan Podyomov
  • Nicoline Alt
  • Kyeong Ham
  • Miriam Pastor Burgos (Cor anglais)


  • Calogero Palermo
  • Olivier Patey
  • Hein Wiedijk
  • Arno Piters (Eb clarinet)
  • Davide Lattuada (Bass clarinet)


  • Ronald Karten
  • Gustavo Nuñez Rodriguez
  • Helma van den Brink
  • Jos de Lange
  • Simon Van Holen (Contrabassoon)


  • Laurens Woudenberg
  • Peter Steinmann
  • Sharon St Onge
  • Fons Verspaandonk
  • Jaap van der Vliet
  • José Sogorb Jover
  • Paulien Weierink-Goossen


  • Omar Tomasoni
  • Miroslav Petkov
  • Hans Alting
  • Jacco Groenendijk
  • Bert Langenkamp


  • Bart Claessens
  • Jörgen van Rijen
  • Nico Schippers
  • Martin Schippers (Tenor trombone and Bass trombone)
  • Raymond Munnecom (Bass trombone) 


  • Perry Hoogendijk


  • Marinus Komst
  • Nick Woud


  • Mark Braafhart
  • Bence Major
  • Herman Rieken


  • Petra van der Heide
  • Gerda Ockers

Chief conductor