HENK GUITTART {} conductor & coach



Berg Seven Early Songs
Chamber Concerto

Conductor Henk Guittart is not only an experienced interpreter of the music of the Second Viennese School, but he also led the orchestra, creating a very musical and transparant interpretation(…)
The entire concert reached a very high level in the secure hands of Henk Guittart.
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

Beethoven Violin Concerto
Haydn Symphony No.70
Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No.2

The interpretation of the excellent conductor Henk Guittart was very beautiful. His gestures are exact and lucid.
Friesch Dagblad 

For the perceptive listener it remains amazing to witness how huge the impact of a conductor on an orchestra is. Under the direction of conductor Henk Guittart, the North Netherlands Orchestra was inspired with new elan (…) in every gesture that Henk Guittart made, it was clear that he loves every note in the score, and that he has distinct ideas about phrasing, dynamics and movement.
Haydn sparkled from the first note to the last.
Zwolse Courant

Guittart led the Schoenberg in a beautiful organic performance, full of exciting hesitations and much virtuosity.

Jonathan Dove Siren Song cd

The cast is excellent, as is the playing of the purpose-built Siren Ensemble under Guittart.
The Sunday Times

The drama is paced with exceptional skill by conductor Henk Guittart.
Fanfare Magazine

This recording…is expertly paced, and Dove’s Adams-inspired sound-world is evocatively conjured up…

Henk Guittart leads the 10-member Siren Ensemble in a performance notable for its clarity and expressiveness.

Henk Guittart conducting the Siren Ensemble (…) relishes the simple subtleties of Dove’s score
BBC Music Direct

The new release of Siren Song, recorded live at last year’s Grachtenfestival with the Siren Ensemble directed by Henk Guittart accompanying the small but generally excellent cast (…) manages to communicate this shift in tone with a graceful and impressive fluidity. (…)
This release presents an involving and affecting contemporary opera, performed with great integrity and skill.

Kurt Weill Seven Deadly Sins cd

Conductor Henk Guittart knows the world of Weill c.s. excellently and he marvellously captures the combination of biting irony and lighthearted elegance.

Mozart Overture Die Zauberflöte

Played brilliantly, lightly and precisely under conductor Henk Guittart
Arbeterbladet, Gaevle

Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht

Henk Guittart inspired a touching performance, with our respect for his conducting by memory
Gaevle Dagblad

Schoenberg Pierrot lunaire
Weill Kleine Dreigroschenmusik

An excellent concert, very alertly led by Henk Guittart, who obviously felt like a fish in water
De Gelderlander

Otto Ketting Chamber Concerto

Conductor Henk Guittart knows how to masterfully build suspense and unleash the orchestra to create a captivating interpretation.
Limburgs Dagblad

Schoenberg Pelleas und Melisande

With his clear gestures conductor Henk Guittart lead the musical way through the complicated score, whereby the Viennese expressiveness was brought to its entirety in late-romantic fullness.
Limburgs Dagblad

Schoenberg Chamber Symphony No.1

Schoenberg specialist Henk Guittart conducted from memory bringing the dramatic impact of this composition to the maximum, in a beautiful glowing performance.
Algemeen Dagblad

Kurt Weill The Seven Deadly Sins

…in Weill’s American music it seemed that Henk Guittart, accustomed to playing sober viola in an equally sober Schoenberg Quartet, suddenly emerged as a seasoned musical conductor.
Haagse Courant

Henk Guittart knows how to effortlessly prevail through his professionalism, musical integrity, and ability to convince musicians of his ideas. The communication between the orchestra and soloist is optimal, the pleasure in music making is infectious. Guittart knows how to transform in the second part -the individual songs- the orchestra into an authentically sounding amusement orchestra.
Rotterdams Dagblad

Gramophone Vol.1 Bruckner Symphony No.7

Guittart’s performance had much to teach us about Bruckner’s piece – more so in fact than some orchestral performances.

…the gravity of the Adagio comes with added vulnerability

Guittart has pulled off something rather special. … this reduced-fat Bruckner is boldly objectifying and intimate..

Mozart Sinfonia Concertante at the RNCM, Manchester

This was, without doubt, the result of the direction by Guittart at the baton. Guittart conducted impressively – not a timekeeper, but a stylistic director. It was hard to believe that this was a college orchestra.
The first movement was witty, lighthearted, elegant and delightful. Guittart bravely pushed the dynamics in this with astounding effect while maintaining classical elegance. The slow movement was played tastefully and not overly dramatically and the third was an energetic flourish which really allowed the orchestra and soloists to show off. This performance was full of fun and a wonderful energy. It was really engaging and entertaining – I expect it to be as close to what it would have been like to have heard it performed in Mozart’s day.

De Volkskrant Vol. 1 Bruckner Symphony No.7

Believe it or not: Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony only gains in transparency and elegance in this arrangement. The monument becomes a small, graceful temple that keeps you enthralled for an entire hour, both thanks to the passionate musicianship and a transparency hitherto unheard in Bruckner’s works.

Luister Vol. 3 Wagner Prelude and Love death from Tristan und Isolde

The result is amazing, thanks to the precise and poignant performance under Henk Guittart. …Guittart approaches the music from within. Everything sounds pure, the Tristan Prelude and Love death is touching and honest, without bombast.

OpusKlassiek on the CD series Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen

Vol. 1 Bruckner/Busoni

Guittart succeeded masterfully in presenting a Bruckner that was opulently flowing and lyrical from start to finish, and simply electrifying where necessary, with the requisite caesuras at precisely the right places and with just the right amount of tension. The sense of breathing so typical to Bruckner was manifested throughout the phrasing.

Busoni: Despite Guittart’s broad, expansive tempo, it never produces a dragging effect and perfectly captures the dark, melancholy sentiment of this ‘Lullaby at his mother’s coffin’, in its purely instrumental orchestration, without ever becoming sentimental.

Vol. 2 Anton Webern Six Orchestral Pieces Op.6

Once again, nothing but praise for the actual performance and interpretation. What was, however, amazing, was that – in this strongly reduced version, no less – the overwhelming impact of the famous ‘marcia funèbre’ did not in any respect fail to leave behind an overwhelmingly unforgettable impression. Perhaps it is precisely because of the intimacy of the setting and the enormous silences occurring at various places in this section – but also in the sections surrounding this funerary march – that these colossal extremes in dynamics and performance give way to a much more uncompromising atmosphere than in either orchestral version, particularly the original 1909 version in which everything sounds much more diffuse.

Vol.3 Wagner and Schoenberg

… These interpretations come to life in ways that are everything but dry and cerebral. To the contrary: they impart a tremendous love and passion for this music on the listener.

However, what struck me most was the eminently fragile and timid mood from which the Prelude unfolds, resulting in a final climax that produces an unprecedentedly suffocating effect, after which the music subsides into the same fragility before being rekindled (veritable bursting into flame!) in the Liebestod.

On top of that, the sharp edges that this music benefits from so greatly are sometimes covered up a bit too much in performances by a large orchestra, whereas thanks to this arrangement and the deeply piercing way Guittart leads his excellent musicians, even the most minute details are revealed in a hitherto unprecedented manner.

Vol. 3 Alban Berg Altenberg Songs

In this work, Guittart has chosen a somewhat faster tempo than most of his colleagues – even that of Boulez, whose interpretation now seems rather dragging and archaic to me in comparison However, Guittart maintains momentum, in which he succeeds masterfully in allowing the entire cycle to breathe, from start to finish, thus opening the way for devastating climaxes. Just as in Schoenberg’s Opus 16, the extremes in dynamics are given decisive contours with a maximum of textural profundity.

Vol. 4 Mahler Symphony No.4

The excellent performance of Gruppo Montebello conducted by Henk Guittart.

Only rarely have I heard this music played not only so slenderly and with such angularity, yet also so conclusively and piercingly bursting with vitality. As a result, the ground-breaking aspects in terms of timbre, harmony and melodic direction are brought to the fore more convincingly than in many a broad, expansive symphonic version. Guittart also shines a spotlight on the work’s enormous contrapuntal wealth, in a manner that is almost unprecedented. What cannot be denied is that Guittart’s conducting is not only phenomenal; he also persuades the musicians to listen to one another more intensely. How else could you explain the way in which everything fits together to the highest degree of perfection, with jigsaw-puzzle precision?

Vol. 5

Mahler: The Song of the Earth

The floating, indefinable yet crystalline essence of this unique work of music, an immense highlight in Reger’s enormous oeuvre, are given full play in this performance. The precision of a studio recording and the spontaneity of a live performance embrace one another here in a way that is so completely natural that you forget that you are listening to an arrangement for a considerably smaller ensemble of a work originally scored for full orchestra. The latter, the symphonic effect that despite whatever form of transcription has taken place remains fully unaltered in its impact, is one of the most successful elements in Guittart’s approach, which he applies equally well in the other arrangement created by him. The approach chosen by Guittart, in which the strict musicologist – a title he does not bear officially although many a professional in this field would be happy for even half his expertise – forgets the analyst in himself when finding himself surrounded by his fellow musicians, transcends that which is written in the musical score, moving with the greatest agility above the landscape as a bird in free flight.

Vol. 6

Reger: A Romantic Suite Op.125

…in Weill’s American music it seemed that Henk Guittart, accustomed to playing sober viola in an equally sober Schoenberg Quartet, suddenly emerged as a seasoned musical conductor.
Haagse Courant

Henk Guittart knows how to effortlessly prevail through his professionalism, musical integrity, and ability to convince musicians of his ideas. The communication between the orchestra and soloist is optimal, the pleasure in music making is infectious. Guittart knows how to transform in the second part -the individual songs- the orchestra into an authentically sounding amusement orchestra.
Rotterdams Dagblad

Webern: Passacaglia Op.1
The subtle use of percussion, all linked to an interpretation of the score that is more smouldering under the surface than one-dimensionally extroverted transforms the experience of this performance into a genuine sensation. Certainly, the listener is not immediately ‘wrapped’ in a patchwork quilt of effects but must be willing – as Webern himself put it so beautifully – to listen yourself into it (‘sich herein hören’). Whichever way you look at it, this willingness is optimally rewarded in this grandiose and exquisite rendition!

Webern: Songs Op.8 & 13

… the two song cycles by Webern, performed so excellently by Anna Lucia Richter, Henk Guittart and Gruppo Montebello, in which time appears not only to stand still, but to have been eliminated completely. An example to illustrate this can be taken from the introduction of the first song of Opus 13, ‘Wiese im Park’, set to a poem by Karl Kraus starting with the words ‘How all becomes timeless for me’ (‘Wie wird mir zeitlos’). There is not a single rendition I know in which that beginning is underpinned by such a subtle ritardando, not even the one conducted by Boulez (Sony and DG), but the result is nothing less than magical and the core of Webern’s secret and the way in which he treats the phenomenon of time is therefore touched in the very depth of its essence. Regarding both song cycles in general, I have never heard these two vocal and instrumental wonders of the world – because that is what they are – performed in such a deeply piercing manner.