Having been ranked Commandeur de l´Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander within the Order of Art and Literature of France) just a few weeks ago, he is only the fourth Dutch artist ever to be honored by the French Republic this way! A well-deserved tribute to Arie van Beek who decided to settle down in France 30 years ago in order to contribute significantly to the spread of classical music within his adopted country. He conducts the approximately 15 orchestras that he joins as a regular guest conductor with carefully compiled concert programs being highly attractive for both the orchestra-members and the audience.
Arie van Beek has however been particularly committed to two orchestras as their musical and artistic director for cooperation periods of outstanding length: The Orchestre national d’Auvergne (17 years) and the Orchestre de Picardie (12 years). As final coronation of his third and last mandate with the Orchestre de Picardie he recorded a three-part-release which perfectly summarises his artistic identity: A fully enthusiastic, always curious musician, relentlessly searching for the right program-balance between well-known pieces, discoveries and rediscoveries as well as new music. Thus the “triptych” includes a. o. Johannes Brahms’ piano-quintet in f-minor, superbly orchestrated by Henk de Vlieger and thus fulfilling Clara Schumann’s wish, who has heard an orchestra in this music (originally a piano-sonata) almost 200 years ago. Furthermore – for the everlasting honor of the French music – Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy and Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel as well as The Sound of Trees, a world premiere by the female French composer Camille Pépin. Enough said: we better listen to this wonderful 3-CD-set published by the label NoMadMusic last year!