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Update 02-06-2020: Ticket sales

Only a few tickets available. Symphony No. 2 sold out.

Update 27-05-2020: RCO in rehearsal in the Concertgebouw at 1.5 meters

Photo: Instagram Gustavo Gimeno.

Photo: Instagram Gustavo Gimeno.

Update 26-05-2020: Ticket sales

Ticket buyers of the cancelled Mahler Festival 2020 will be given priority to buy tickets for the festival in 2021.

Update 25-05-2020: Festival page Concertgebouw

Festival page Concertgebouw

Update 23-05-2020: RCO Mahler statistics


RCO's most frequently Mahler conductors. Click on image for video.

RCO's most frequently performed Mahler compositions. Click on image for video.

  • Source: archief.concertgebouworkest.nl/en/archive/search/
  • Period: 1903-2019.
  • Editor: Peter Kooreman

Update 22-05-2020: International Press Release

The Royal Concertgebouw presents Mahler Festival 2021

20 May 2020 - After the successful Mahler Festival Online (over one million views), owing to the cancellation of the Mahler Festival 2020, the Concertgebouw is proud to present the Mahler Festival 2021. During this event, international top orchestras will perform a variety of work including Mahler’s symphonies no. 1 through 6.

This festival will open on 18 May 2021 with the Concertgebouworkest under the direction of guest conductor Fabio Luisi. Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden will direct pieces including Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the acclaimed Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, the London Symphony Orchestra will perform conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra will appear with conductor Jakub Hrůša. Iván Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Valery Gergiev conducting the Munich Philharmonic will complete the line-up in the Main Hall.

Managing Director Simon Reinink (1966): ‘Reserved sense of pride in uncertain times’

Director Simon Reinink presents this new festival with mixed feelings: ‘First of all, I'm very proud that we managed to put together this fantastic line-up in such a short time. In addition to the symphonic programme in the Main Hall, all of Mahler's songs will be performed in the Recital Hall by ten talented young singers, selected and accompanied by the internationally renowned pianist Julius Drake. At the same time the situation resulting from the Corona crisis remains uncertain one. We need to wait and see if we will be up & running again by next May.’

The Mahler Festival 2021 will be something of a special reunion for the British conductor Sir Simon Rattle. At the previous edition, in 1995, he conducted the Vienna Philharmonic playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 7. Now he will return as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra with Symphony No. 6: ‘I write this as we begin to emerge from lock down, blinking in the sun, unsure what our new world will look like. It is exciting and energising to be thinking about making music again. Knowing we have things to look forward to, certainties in a time of uncertainty, is a great comfort. The LSO and I are looking forward enormously to being part of this wonderful celebration of Mahler, the composer who above any other drew me into the world of classical music.’

Ticket sales for the new festival will begin on 1 June 2020 10.00 AM CEST via concertgebouw.nl. Those who had tickets for the Mahler Festival 2020 will be given priority when purchasing tickets for the new festival. In the event that the 2021 festival cannot take place, ticket holders will be eligible for a refund.

American Express continues their cooperation as Presenting Sponsor of the Mahler Festival 2021. Robert-Jan Meijers (Country Manager AMEX NL): ‘Gustav Mahler is one of the most-beloved composers of all time. We are proud that American Express will support the Mahler Festival 2021, also in these times, to enable as many people as possible throughout the world to be inspired by Mahler's music.’ Managing Director Simon Reinink: ‘We are delighted that our long-standing partner American Express is helping to make the Mahler Festival 2021 possible. Thanks to them and our many other sponsors Mahler's music will once again be heard live in the Concertgebouw in 2021.’

History Offers Hope   

In 1920 a Mahler Festival was organised for the first time in the Concertgebouw. A year prior (1919) there was a deadly pandemic as well: the Spanish flu. The chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Willem Mengelberg, was also impacted. Although the circumstances are not entirely comparable, the optimism of that time can inspire us today: whatever happens, the music will go on!

Programme Main Hall

Tuesday 18 May
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Fabio Luisi, conductor
Peter Mattei, baritone
Mahler: Songs on the Death of Children
Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Wednesday 19 May
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Shenyang, baritone
Alvin Tam: A Madman's Diary
Mahler: Songs from The Boy’s Magic Horn
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Thursday 20 May
Munich Philharmonic
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Anna Lucia Richter, soprano
Elisabeth Kulman, mezzo-soprano
Mahler: Symphony No. 4
Mahler: The Song of the Earth

Friday 21 May
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle, conductor
Mahler: Symphony No. 6

Saturday 22 May
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
National Women’s Youth Choir
National Children's Choir
Jakub Hrůša, conductor
Gerhild Romberger, alto
Mahler: Symphony No. 3

Sunday 23 May
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Netherlands Radio Choir
Flemish Radio Choir
Iván Fischer, conductor
Miah Persson, soprano
Elisabeth Kulman, mezzo-soprano
Mahler: Symphony No. 2

Programme Recital Hall

Details of the programme in this hall to be announced at a later date.

For more information contact Jacob van der Vlugt, Manager Press & PR +31 6 83371699 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mahler Festival History

For the third time in its history the Concertgebouw is organising a major tribute to Gustav Mahler. In 1920 the first ‘Mahler Fest’ took place in Amsterdam, for the occasion of Willem Mengelberg’s 25th anniversary as chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Under his direction, the Concertgebouw Orchestra performed all of Mahler's symphonies. Alma, the widow of Gustav Mahler, was the guest of honour. Three quarters of a century later, in 1995, the second festival devoted to Mahler took place. The planned third festival in May 2020 had to be replaced by the Mahler Festival Online due to the Corona crisis. As an alternative, the Concertgebouw is organising a new Mahler Festival in 2021.

Update 21-05-2020: First program details

Update 20-05-2020: Information for passe-partout owners 2020

Dear Sir/Madam,

After the disappointment of having to cancel the Mahler Festival 2020, we would like to present to you, ticket buyer of the Mahler Festival 2020, the plans for the Mahler Festival 2021. In May 2021, symphonies One to Six will be performed by top international orchestras.

The festival will be opened on 18 May 2021 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Fabio Luisi. Conductor Jaap van Zweden performs the First symphony with 'his' acclaimed Hong Kong Philharmonic. The London Symphony Orchestra will perform with Sir Simon Rattle and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks with Jakub Hrusa. Iván Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra and Valery Gergiev with the Münchner Philharmonic complete the line-up in the Main Hall.

Converting your Mahler Festival 2020 tickets to 2021

On Monday 25th May, you will be notified about how tickets for the Mahler Festival 2020 already purchased will be processed. Ticket buyers of the Mahler Festival 2020 will be given priority to buy tickets for the festival in 2021. Passe-partout owners will be given the opportunity to reserve the best seats from Tuesday 26th May onward. All other ticket buyers will receive this opportunity starting Thursday 28th May. Official ticket sales for the festival starts Monday 1st June via our website. This procedure will be explained further in the communication of Monday 25th May.

In the unlikely event that the festival cannot go ahead in 2021, ticket buyers will be entitled to a refund. So, despite all the uncertainties of our time, you can order your tickets risk free and look forward to the concerts. If you are unable to attend the Mahler Festival 2021, there is also the possibility to opt for a voucher, refund or to (partially) donate the value of your concert tickets to The Concertgebouw.

Program Main Hall

The entire program can be found on our website.

Program Recital Hall 

Of course Mahler's songs are not to be missed. The Recital Hall programme is still in full development, and you will receive further information at a later stage.

We are proud to organise a Mahler Festival in this short term, but we are also very much aware this new edition can never replace the ten days that we would have experienced together during the Mahler Festival 2020. We sincerely hope that with this alternative in 2021 we can still keep the beautiful music of Mahler alive. We wish you good health and strength in this unreal period and hope to welcome you back in the Concertgebouw soon.

Yours sincerely,

The Royal Concertgebouw
Job Noordhof 
Head of Marketing, Communication and Sales

Update 18-05-2020: Advance notice Festival 2021

Advance notice by The Concertgebouw about the upcoming 2021 festival in the first Mahler Hour, hosted by Mahler Foundation.

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