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Camerata Trajectina: New Amsterdam in Poetry and Music

@ Camerata Trajectina

Fri, Oct 6 - Sat, Oct 14  2023

Camerata Trajectina, the “Musical Treasury of the Netherlands,” will perform between October 6 and 14, 2023, sharing their musical heritage with American audiences. In a whirlwind overview, presented with humor and panache, they will place the early history of America in the larger context of the first Dutch settlers. Camerata Trajectina will perform in Yonkers, NY on October 6, in Albany, NY on October 7, in Poughkeepsie, NY on October 8, on October 11 in NYC and on October 14 in Boston.

“The Low Lands are world-renowned for the art of the 16th and 17th centuries, long referred to as their “Golden Age.” Great painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer depicted a domesticity still present in everyday Dutch life. But the Dutch were also found all over the New World, as traders and businessmen seeking new markets. New Amsterdam, now New York City, was even then the center of foreign trade for the Dutch merchants.

But this age of prosperity was not only about increasing the country’s financial coffers. Paintings often depict instruments and musicians, engaged in playing chamber music in the home or even taking a private music lesson. Performing the music we believe to have sounded in these depictions, Camerata Trajectina offers a unique glimpse into the world of the Netherlandish 17th century. We will present the soundtrack behind this important period in the founding of the United States.”

New Amsterdam in Poetry and Music

New York used to be New Amsterdam: a Dutch settlement on Manhattan. Its first inhabitants arrived from the Low Countries in the early seventeenth century and brought their way of life with them. Our protagonist, Jacob Steendam, was the first poet of New Amsterdam. From his house on Pearl Street, he walked the streets of the small port-town and listened to the sounds rising from the many taverns and bars: cheers and brawls, intermixed with bawdy songs. As in Old Amsterdam, weddings and parties were not complete without a rousing song, and Steendam supplied a good number of them, bearing witness to the daily life in Manhattan around 1660. In this very special programme, Camerata Trajectina follows in Steendam’s footsteps and presents Dutch music that once echoed off the walls of the houses of New Amsterdam. Interspersed with anecdotes and quotes from original sources, this programme resurrects the soundscape and musical culture of Dutch Manhattan, thus providing a unique perspective on early New York.

For this programme, Camerata teams up with Dr. Jaap Jacobs, an eminent historian of Dutch New York and author of many books and articles on New Amsterdam and its people. The combination of Camerata’s long experience in recreating seventeenth-century Dutch music and Jacobs’s historical expertise ensures that this concert will provide the audience with an exhilarating and unforgettable musical experience.