2020 Developments

Photonen’s choir journey to Ireland, planned for April 2020, in order to visit and perform with Dublin based choir Cuore, has been postponed. In the meantime all of our choir members dearly miss singing together, and are waiting for better times to arrive. Our conductor Jeroen Spitteler wrote a fine new  composition ‘Oorsprong’ (‘Origin’), which now premiered by means of a virtual choir, consisting of Photonen and UVE members. The result can be seen here.
Our 13 June concert in Durgerdam has been cancelled. We will inform of concerts to come on this website, and in our Newsletter (Dutch), so stay tuned and Subscribe!

Flyer design: Seppie Groot

December 2019: A celebration of Carols and Christmas songs

Throughout countries, languages ​​and times, Christmas time has inspired many composers to write catchy music. Photonen sang both known, lesser known and even completely new repertoire. Works by Victoria, Pärt, Howells and Poulenc. Also a Dutch premiere of La mare de Déu by young Catalan composer Pol Requesens Roca.

Part of the programme was accompanied by organist David Jansen. The audience was invited to sing along several famous Christmas songs with us.

This concert took place in the context of choir series Couleur Vocale (CV), organized by the Waalse Kerk.

Saturday, December 21, 2019 – 8:15 p.m.
De Waalse Kerk, Waalenpleintje 157-159, 1012 JZ Amsterdam

Tickets at the venue and online * via the Waalse Kerk: www.dewaalsekerk.nl/agenda

Admission: € 18.50 / € 16.00 *
CJP / student /Amsterdam stadspas green dot: € 16.00 / € 13.50 *
friend / choir member of choir participating in CV: € 11.00 * (online only)
up to 16 years: € 8.50 (only at the door)

Flyer Rachmaninov. Design: Lisette Schenkels

November 2019: Rachmaninov’s All-night Vigil

Concert programme with Utrechts Vocaal Ensemble.

Also works by Pärt, Kreek, Duruflé.

Together with the UVE, Photonen performed two concerts with, among others, the Vespers by Sergej Rachmaninov. 

After the first performance of the Vespers in 1915, the enthusiasm of the public was so immense that additional concerts were added immediately. With the Vespers, Rachmaninov created a classical masterpiece for choir in the early 20th century. It is directly inspired by the long sung nightly Easter vigil of the Orthodox liturgy that heralds the resurrection festival. Rachmaninov used the hymns from the Russian church but also created innovative sounds by bringing together music from the Eastern and Western tradition. He combined all this into an hour of music that sounds both monumental and tranquil, both melancholic and festive.

The combined forces of the Utrechts Vocaal Ensemble and of Photonen Vocaal Ensemble from Amsterdam, directed both by Jeroen Spitteler, guarantee unforgettable performances. In addition, both ensembles will present themselves briefly with their own varied program, with music by, among others, Pärt, Kreek, Holst and Duruflé.

Soloists: Maria de Moel (mezzo-soprano) and Maarten Stevens (tenor)

Saturday 2 November 8:15 pm Nicolaïkerk, Utrecht Tickets

Sunday 3 November 3:30 pm Dominicuskerk Amsterdam Tickets

May 2019: Regina!

May 2019 Photonen performed a varied and festive concert programme dedicated to the virgin Mary.
The central piece is Concerto per la beata vergine by the Belgian composer Vic Nees, with an important oboe solo. Also on the programme will be the beautful and serene Salve Regina by Poulenc, and Salve Regina / To the mothers in Brazil by Larsson/Eriksson.

Tavener wrote Mother of God, Here I Stand, an iconic piece echoing the orthodox world to which he felt connected. Jeroen Spitteler composed The May Magnificat, a subtle piece for women’s choir, to a poem by Gerard Hopkins Manley (1844-1889).
The Ave Maria by Victoria for 8 voices presents fine polyphonic splendor and contrast to the pensive Ave, Generosa by Hildegard von Bingen.

Rachmaninov’s Concert for choir gets us back to the 19th/20th century.

With a oboe soloist in our midst we cannot omit Ennio Morricone’s theme song of the movie The Mission: Gabriel’s oboe.

Soloist is award winning oboe player Samuel Agustín Aguirre.
A short documentary about Samuel can be viewed here.


Friday 17 May 2019 – 8:15 pm – Pieterskerk, Pieterskerkhof 3, Utrecht
Sunday 19 May 2019 –3:15 pmDominicuskerk, Spuistraat 12, Amsterdam
Both venues are located at walking distance from NS Central Station in Utrecht and Amsterdam respectively.

Admission at both venues:
At the venue € 16 regular / € 12 discount
Online € 15 regular / € 10 discount
Discount applies to CJP/student/U-pas in Utrecht/Stadspas with green dot in Amsterdam

Fall 2018: Edge of Eternity

In the weekend of November 3rd/4th 2018 Photonen performed its programme Edge of Eternity, an a capella concert programme relating to All Souls’ Day, putting Victoria’s wonderful polyphonic Officium Defunctorum (6-part Requiem mass) from 1603 centre stage, also presenting romantic works by Reger and Rheinberger, and more recent compositions by David Lang and Ēriks Ešenvalds.

Saturday 3rd November 2018 – 8:15 pm – Engelse Kerk, Begijnhof 48, 1012 WV Amsterdam
Sunday 4th November 2018 – 3:30 pm – Buiksloterkerk, Buiksloterkerkpad 10, 1034 VZ Amsterdam-Noord

April 2018: Songs from the New World

Sunday 15 April 2018  / Oud-Katholieke Gertrudiskerk, Willemsplantsoen 2, 3511 LA Utrecht
Songs from the New World. 4 pm – 5 pm. 

Saturday 21 april 2018 / Waalse Kerk, Walenpleintje 159, 1012 JZ Amsterdam
Songs from the New World. 8:15 pm. This concert is part of the choir series Couleur Vocale (linked info in Dutch). This concert has a a pause.

On ‘Songs from the New World
Photonen invites you to a fine and balanced a cappella programme with choral music from the United States, composed in the 20th and 21st century.

North America has a vibrant choral tradition, and Photonen will perform a.o. several works by great masters of American choral music, such as Aaron Copland, whose Four motets are a highlight in American choral history, which the young Copland wrote in 1921 while studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and Samuel Barber‘s To be sung on the water, which adds a beautiful, pensive touch to the programme.

In the last decades, composers have enriched the repertoire considerably, such as Eric Whitacre. Photonen performs Three Flower Songs. Ola Gjeilo, born in Norway but living in the US for quite some time now, composed the lively Unicornis Captivatur to an intriguing, late medieval fairytale-like monastic text, and the meditative Northern Lights.
In the US spirituals are an important source of inspiration. Photonen presents several of them in exciting arrangements by Ken Burton. Especially for this programme Jeroen Spitteler wrote I know Moon-rise, an arrangement for baritone solo and choir of the melancholical spiritual also known as Lay this body down. This same spiritual inspired composer David Lang to write Oh Graveyard. 

Full programme:

Aaron Copland (1900-1990); Four motets
   – Help us, O Lord  
   – Thou, O Jehovah, abideth forever (Amsterdam concert only)
   – Have mercy on Us, O my Lord
   – Sing ye praises to our King

Samuel Barber (1910-1981): To be sung on the water

Ola Gjeilo (1978): Unicornis Captivatur

Ola Gjeilo: Northern Lights (Amsterdam concert only)

Eric Whitacre (1970): Three Flower Songs
   – I hide myself
   – With a lily in your hand
   – Go, lovely rose

Stephen Paulus (1949-2014): The road home


Jeroen Spitteler (1970): I know moon-rise (Lay this body down)  – Premiere

David Lang (1957): Oh Graveyard (Lay this body down)

Ken Burton (1970):  Steal away to Jesus

Ken Burton: Put on the armour of the Lord


December 2017: Vespers for the Blessed Virgin – Claudio Monteverdi

Photonen vocal ensemble performed Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata Vergine (1610) on Sunday 10 December in the Dominicuskerk in Amsterdam. A choral performance with renowned soloists, accompanied by Photonen Project Orchestra.

Pious church goers of the early 17th c. probably did not believe their ears, when they heard the mind blowing music of the Vespers for the Blessed Virgin by Claudio Monteverdi for the first time. Monteverdi had created an absolutely revolutionary work, a compositon that changed religious music profoundly and permanently. The vespers introduced an unprecendented theatrical approach to liturgical music, unheard of at the time. Numerous styles and special effects alternate, from the cheering fanfare at the beginning to the use of echoes in the Audi coelum. At the same time, the work was deeply rooted in church tradition: as a basis for its structure, Monteverdi chose the ancient Psalm songs from the Gregorian liturgy, with lyrics in Latin.

The Vespro della Beata Vergine, as the composition is called in Italian, was a breathtaking experience in 1610. And it still is.

Musicologist Wout Strootman gave a a short introduction (in Dutch).

Photonen is an Amsterdam based chamber choir of about 26 seasoned choir singers. Twice a year it offers varied programs at the highest possible artistic level. The choir featured in the TV series ‘Klem’ that was broadcast on Dutch television in spring 2017. Photonen was founded in 1996, and Jeroen Spitteler has been its conductor ever since.

Sunday, December 10th, 2017 – 3:15 p.m.
Dominicuskerk, Spuistraat 12, 1012 TS, Amsterdam

Photonen Vocal Ensemble / Photonen Project Orchestra with conductor Jeroen Spitteler.
Heleen Koele, Ingrid Nugteren soprano
Steven van Gils, Gerben Houba, Maarten Stevens tenor

Tickets: at the door € 25 / online presale € 22,50
Students / Stadspas with green dot: at the door € 17,50 / online presale € 15
Children under 16: € 5

For online pre-sale with discount look here.  A small handling fee does apply.
Presale ends on Friday December 8th.

Dominicuskerk is situated in the city centre of Amsterdam, close to Amsterdam Central train station.


June 2017: ‘Driekorenconcert’ (Three choir concert)

Photonen vocal ensemble closes this season with a ‘Driekorenconcert’ (Three choir concert) together with Utrechts Vocaal Ensemble, both ensembles are conducted by Jeroen Spitteler, and renowned Kammerchor Manila  from the Filipines and now on tour in Europe with its conductor Anthony Villanueva.

Programme ‘Driekorenconcert’:
Guerrero  Ego flos campi
Jeroen Spitteler  Bloem der bloemen
J.P. Sweelinck  Canticum

Utrechts Vocaal Ensemble (UVE)
Tchaikovsky  Cherubic Hymn no. 3
Vytautas Miškinis  Angelis suis Deus
Put on the armour of the Lord (spiritual)
Nobody knows (spiritual)

Together Photonen and UVE will perform: Samuel Barber’s Agnus dei

Kammerchor Manila
Claudio Monteverdi  Zefiro torna e’l bel tempo rimena
Z. Randall Stroope  We Beheld Once Again the Stars
Eudenice Palaruan  Pasigin (Filipino folk song)
Moses Hogan  Elijah Rock (spiritual)
Nilo Alcala  Kaisa-isa Niyan (Filipino ethnic song)

Kammerchor Manila from the Filipines, conductor Anthony G. Villanueva, originated as a church choir and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It recently performed a special programme Argentum on several occasions througout the Filipines. The choir is now on its 4the tour in Europe, visiting seven countries. Kammerchor Manila won many prizes and received honours in festivals and competitions, among which in 2014 in Olomouc (Czech Republic) the ‘Absolute Winner Award’ in the Lied-competition. Kammerchor Manila is a versatile and enthusiastic choir, consisting of ca 30 dedicated and partially professionally trained singers. It has its own distinct ‘sound’ and colourful presentation, and performs all kinds of styles, from early music to pop ballads. Recent tour info can be found here.

Wednesday 28th June 2017 – 8 p.m. – De Krijtberg, Singel 446, 1017AV Amsterdam

March 2017 : Moving Music

Do you hear the music when you watch a film? Everyone knows the famous theme tune of Star Wars, but how about the moment in The Hobbit when the dwarves sing of Misty Mountains and gold?
Perhaps you don’t always notice how the music makes you feel, swelling into the spaces between the words and telling its own story.

Photonen, the choir featured in the 2017 Dutch television series KLEM, is putting this ‘Moving Music’ centre stage in a performance on Sunday 26th March, at 15.15 in the Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam. The Waalse Kerk (‘Walloon Church’ – a national heritage site) is located in the heart of the city.

The chamber choir of around 26 experienced amateur choral singers has chosen classical and popular music including Dry your tears, Africa by Oscar-winning composer John Williams, I Lie by David Lang, from arthouse film La Grande Bellezza, music from KLEM‚ including Trois chansons by Debussy, and a piece written specially for the choir, Hondsdagen/Dogdays by Martijn Voorvelt – music that is just waiting to find its film.

The concert also includes Samuel Barber‘s Agnus Dei — featured in films including The Elephant Man and Platoon — the widely-recognised Wagner’s Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (think of Bridget Jones’s Diary), and Star Wars – John Williams is the Man, with John Williams‘ music arranged by Mister Tim.

Come, listen, and let your own images play in your head!

Sunday 26th March 2017 – 3:15 p.m.
Waalse Kerk, Walenpleintje 157-159, Amsterdam

Claude Debussy     – Trois Chansons (Klem)
L. Andriessen         – Un beau baiser (Klem)
Josquin des Prez   –  Mille regretz (Klem)
John Tavener         – The Lamb (La grande bellezza)
Gregorio Allegri      – Miserere (Angela’s ashes / Maurice / Face off)
David Lang             – I lie (La grande bellezza)
Samuel Barber       – Agnus Dei (The elephant man / Platoon / Les roseaux sauvages / Lorenzo’s oil)
Howard Shore        – Misty mountains (The Hobbit)
R. Wagner              – Hochzeitsmarsch from Lohengrin (28 Days, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Out of Africa, and many other movies)
Martijn Voorvelt      – Hondsdagen / Dogdays
John Williams arr. Mister Tim  – Star Wars – John Williams is the man
John Williams         – Dry your tears, Afrika (Amistad)