Het kleine orkest

Acrylics on linen canvas
Size: 200 cm (w) x 140 cm (h)
Year of production: 2022
Artist: Jitske Schols
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My series ‘Maestro’ is inspired by the life of Frieda Belinfante (1904-1995). Frieda was a Dutch cellist and conductor who became an American citizen in 1955. During the Second World War she was active in the resistance. During her life she experienced a lot of opposition just because she was born a woman. Like the Dutch Antonia Brico (1902-1989) and the French pedagogue and conductor Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), she was a pioneer who paved the way for other female conductors. Writer/journalist Toni Boumans wrote down her story in her book ‘Een schitterend vergeten leven’.

From 1935, Frieda started a new path in her career, which turned out to be her ultimate love: conducting. She conducted a children’s orchestra, women’s choirs, the Sweelinck orchestra and from 1938 her own ‘Het Kleine Orkest’ in the Royal Concertgebouw. With this she experiences two successful concert seasons. Shortly after the German invasion in 1940, the inspired conductor herself disbanded her orchestra and refused to become a member of the Kultuurkamer. Belinfante, of Jewish descent, joins the artists’ resistance in Amsterdam.