Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 19: Zephyr Consort

I am not to blame for missing the Zephyr Consort’s performance. The organisation of Utrecht’s Early Music Festival had managed to schedule only one fringe concert in the time slot for 14:00. So everybody who travels to Utrecht for fringe and other concerts was let down in a terrible manner by the organisation.

For the Zephyr Concort’s concert had been relegated to one of the smaller venues. Extraordinary, for they seem to have already performed at St Martin in the Field in London. Regardless, a concert at one of the smaller venues means, anybody wanting to hear such a fringe concert needs to get tickets at the fringe concert’s ticket booth. This ticket boot opens at 09:00 each morning and with only one fringe concert scheduled for the time slot 14:00 and hundreds of visitors wanting to hear as many fringe concerts as possible each day …

The tickets had sold out within 30 minutes. Which means than many visitors who travel to the Early Music Festival and had wanted to hear this concert, were still on their way to Utrecht while all tickets for this concert had sold out.

At the first fringe concert of the day, there had been over 10 people sitting in my row alone, who had wanted to hear the concert or any fringe concert at 14:00. There were no tickets left and there was no alternative.

You may think: so what? I firmly blame the amateurish organisation of the Early Music Festival for this. On other days, on even this day, they managed to schedule at least three fringe concerts taking place at the same time or even at the same time professional and much regarded ensembles have their concert.

On the day the Zephyr Consort had been scheduled as the only fringe ensemble at 14:00, there had been three fringe concerts scheduled at 11:00 as well as the concert by Collegium Marianum.

For the time slot of 15:30 that very same day, there were four fringe concerts scheduled, one among these being the fabulous fringe concert by the New Baroque Orchestra. Of these four concerts, two took place in venues for which tickets had to be obtained at the fringe ticket booth. Even if tickets for these two concerts had sold out, there were plenty alternatives for visitors not to be disappointed.

I was especially angry. Not because I had travelled to Utrecht only to be told that tickets to the Zephyr Consort’s concert had been sold out well before my arrival. One of the musicians performing with the New Baroque Orchestra had asked if I could attend their concert. If the New Baroque Orchestra’s concert had been scheduled at 14:00, I could have.

During the past few years, the organisation of the Early Music Festival has simply shrugged its shoulders, or come up with a feeble excuse when receiving complaints. The fringe concerts are not their main focus. All their attention is lavished on musicians and ensembles which are already big names in the Early Music world, like Vox Luminis, l’Arpeggiata, the Huelgas Ensemble and similar musicians of world fame.

Lesson learnt: whenever there is such brilliant programming of fringe concerts as happened during the day and time slot the Zephyr Consort was scheduled to perform, the solution for people like me who do not live or stay in Utrecht and are thus unable to queue at the fringe concert ticket booth before it opens at 09:00, is to remain at home or go after some other cultural ado. After all, visiting this Early Music Festival involves costs and expenses.

The Zephyr Consort performed pieces by Isaac, de Rore,du Caurroy and Dowland.

Zephyr Consort

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