Sri Lankan-Dutch conductor and theatre maker Manoj Kamps recently made their debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the 2023 Holland Festival, conducting a televised performance of William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops as the centrepiece of a commemoration, contemplating the impact of World War II on Amsterdam and on ANOHNI, the festival’s Associate Artist. Throughout 2023/24, Kamps debuts as conductor and curator with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in two special projects, and embarks on an extensive tour with the Orchestra of 18th Century, bringing semi-staged performances of Così fan tutte to major halls including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rotterdam De Doelen, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht and Concertgebouw Brugge. Following a successful debut in 2021, Kamps returns to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct Brahms’ Symphony 2 in their regional series with Federico Colli as soloist in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

In the opera world, Kamps is now a regular guest at Dutch National Opera. Having previously collaborated with director Lisenka Heijboer Castañón on FAUST [working title] (with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit) and I Have Missed You Forever (co-produced by Asko|Schönberg in the Opera Forward Festival ‘22), Kamps returns again in 2023/24 as co-creator and conductor of Ellen Reid’s The Shell Trial (world premiere). Commissioned by DNO and co-produced with Het Geluid Maastricht, Opera Philadelphia and Bregenz Festival, the performances will feature an ensemble from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Nieuw Amsterdams Children’s Chorus, and Julia Bullock in the cast. Plans further ahead include Kamps’ debut at La Monnaie De Munt, Brussels.

Previously, Kamps conducted productions with Opera North (Handel’s Giulio Cesare alongside Christian Curnyn, followed by a revival of La Traviata), with HERMES & Muziektheater Transparant (premiere and subsequent international tour of Hilda Paredes’ Harriet, starring Claron McFadden in the title role), as well as their US conducting debut with the semi-staged première of MILA, Great Sorcerer by Andrea Clearfield at New York’s Prototype Festival 2019 with The Knights and the New York Virtuoso Singers. At Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and on European tour, Kamps conducted and co-created the chamber opera Be With Me Now.

Other recent highlights include a contemporary programme in Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series, subscription concerts with Ulster Orchestra (Farrenc’s Symphony 3 and Ravel Piano Concerto in G with Steven Osborne), and London Sinfonietta (Steve Reich’s large-scale multimedia work Reich/Richter alongside the premiere of Anna Clyne’s Fractured Time) which received glowing reviews:

The Guardian (****) writes “Reich’s mathematical rigour has the intensity of Bach, and produces — as so often in Bach — uplifting, joyously optimistic music, particularly in the opening and closing sections of Reich/Richter. Conductor Manoj Kamps was the cool head who kept it all together so triumphantly.” [Stephen Pritchard]

The Times praises “(…) the stamina and co-ordination of the musicians and the conductor Manoj Kamps, effortlessly guiding a crack team through a score as unstoppable as Niagara Falls.” [Geoff Brown]

Notable previous engagements include performances with the BBC Philharmonic and Brussels Philharmonic orchestras, as well as extensive tours with Phion (formerly Het Gelders Orkest/Het Orkest van het Oosten), and the Netherlands Student Orchestra (culminating in Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw).

Highly respected in the new music world, Kamps has forged strong relationships with some of today’s leading contemporary ensembles and festivals. These include include Asko|Schönberg (Dutch premiere of Philip Venables’ The Gender Agenda at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw), B’Rock, KLANG, November Music Festival (premieres of Seung-Won Oh’s YeonDo, Calliope Tsoupaki’s Liknon), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Gaudeamus. Following several fruitful collaborations, Kamps will be reappearing with HERMESensemble and I SOLISTI in January 2024 for Antwerp’s ‘Downtown New York’ Festival.

Manoj Kamps held the coveted post of Junior Fellow in Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester from 2015-2017, mentored by Sir Mark Elder, and has participated in masterclasses with a.o. Bernard Haitink, Carlo Rizzi and Vasily Petrenko.

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