Goodbye my Queen

On the evening of her abdication, it would only seem fitting for a small homage to Queen Beatrix’s appreciation of Dutch classical music. On September 3rd 2011, the Genootschap van Nederlandse Componisten (Dutch Composers’ Guild) celebrated their centennial in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Special guest was Her Majesty Beatrix Queen of the Netherlands. As Chairman of the Guild, it was my honor and privilege to be her host for the evening. It was an extraordinary event, including an unannounced speaker who somehow managed to get through all of the security and speak to the Hall for a few minutes before he was whisked away by security agents. It was a hard act to follow. After welcoming the audience I returned to my seat next to Her Majesty, and having missed the commotion, asked her what had happened. ‘Oh’, she replied, ‘just another crazy person. I run into them all the time’. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Etienne Siebens, performed an evening of Dutch classical music including a piece by our founder Jan van Gilse.
During the intermission, I presented her with the first copy of the edition of 100 Years GeNeCo. Protocol called for me to present her with the first copy, so that I could present the first public copy of the book to the former Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, at the beginning of the second half of the concert. The Queen was  supposed to leave after meeting the conductor and the soloist and one of the composers who was performed, but apparently the food, drink and company was so nice that she didn’t seem to want to go home. It put me in a rather sticky predicament since I was supposed to also be hosting the reception afterwards, but couldn’t leave the Queen’s side.


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