Janet Krause is leaving the Residentie Orkest
"I am a rich person with all that I have experienced"
"I consider myself rich that I have been able to experience such beautiful musical moments together with very fine colleagues."
- Janet Krause
Janet Krause will bid farewell to the Residentie Orkest at the end of this month. The captain of second violins will then have spent more than forty years at the front of the orchestra.
The dazzling finale of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony conducted by principal conductor Anja Bihlmaier will be Janet's very last notes at Residentie Orkest. But after that, she by no means plans to stop playing, and she certainly won't fall into the familiar black hole. "I am still a leader with the Solistes Européens in Luxembourg and continue to teach at the Royal Conservatory here in The Hague. At the moment I have a large violin class and in addition I teach chamber music and have another orchestra class. I myself have never really thought about retirement, in the sense of 'you work towards that and then you stop'. Of course that time will come, and that's a good thing, because in the orchestra young people need a chance. But I will continue to play the violin and teach, because that's part of who I am. I will continue as long as I want to and can."
With five siblings, Janet grew up in Canada, where her parents had emigrated to. "My father came from Poland and didn't want to go back after the war. Through Italy he ended up in England where he met my mother, a fantastic cellist and educated at London's Royal Academy. Expecting an economic depression, they left for Canada. It was mainly my mother who sparked my love for music. From an early age we were all given a string instrument in our hands. Of course in the beginning you didn't like that very much, but gradually you got better and were allowed to play in a string quartet or orchestra. And then you didn't want to stop. We also played string quartets every Thursday night at home, which was really wonderful to do and I learned a lot from that too. Most of all, however, I learned from Lorand Fenyves (1918-2004), my teacher at the University of Toronto. He transmitted his love for music to me, his curiosity but also how to shape something, how to make a beautiful sound etc. I think of him briefly almost every day."
Photo: Janet Krause
To the Netherlands
After her studies in Toronto, Janet looked for a job. She could have even gone to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York, but unfortunately she lacked the money for that. Rather, she bought a ticket to the Netherlands to look for an orchestra from there. "My father traveled a lot for work, knew Holland well and told me about the nice people. So I thought, why not. My main goal was to study, but I needed to earn money first. With the Canadian distances I was used to, I thought traveling to London, Paris or Vienna was just a breeze. I then arranged something like ten test plays in Holland, France, Germany and Italy, among other places. But with my first audition, with the Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra, I hit it off right away. Then I looked for a job in Amsterdam, because I had started studying with Davina van Wely. I then spent two years in the Ballet Orchestra before coming to The Hague in 1980, to Residentie Orkest."
Janet began her Residentie Orkest-career with the first violins. "The orchestra was really great, with a really big violin section. There was an overwhelming sound coming out of the orchestra. I thought everyone was pretty old, but young people will feel the same way about me now," she says with a laugh. "I had to study hard, because there was a lot of new repertoire for me." That very same year, the position Janet has occupied for over forty years now became vacant: leader second violins. "Don't do it some said, because I was so young, someone with more experience should come in. But I was stubborn and took the tryout anyway. Of course it was tough at first, because behind you you have colleagues who are much older and have been in the orchestra much longer. You are young, sometimes just too eager and so you have to find peace. Years later, someone in the group said to me, "I didn't see it in the beginning, but you're the best thing we could have done. That was very nice to hear." So it's a very nice place to be, and still is. You always have a bit of a string quartet feel, even in big works by Mahler and Strauss. The middle voice is so important for the sound, the color, you as a second violin make the orchestra a little richer."
It's only natural then that after more than forty years you can list some moments that were special. The same goes for Janet, although she wants to say right away that it's mostly personal. "Just like in life, there are things that make you happy, concerts you have fond memories of. That can be because of a combination of colleagues, conductors, soloists, a particular piece or just the place where you play. For example, I once went on tour with the orchestra to Warsaw, where my father came from. Impressive concerts, also because I met my father's family and colleagues then. But also Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique with Alain Lombard, Welser-Möst conducting Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel or the Bruckner symphonies conducted by Hans Vonk are still in my mind. The times with Svetlanov, Järvi ... The orchestra has always had great conductors."
And now it is time to go. But as mentioned, Janet remains active, including teaching, something she finds incredibly important and fun to do. "You try to get something across to the students, of course, but in such a way that you don't get in the way of their own talent. You want to inspire them, make them curious about what they can do, but also curious about new repertoire. Of course there is a lot of discipline involved for them and they have to work hard to reach a high level, but I also want to instill in them a real love of music and sound. Fortunately, I will be able to continue doing that in the near future, so I will be in Amare regularly. Then finally I can also experience the Concertzaal as a visitor and I don't have to miss my colleagues from the orchestra too much."
Jan Jaap Zwitser
About Janet Krause
Name Janet Krause
Instrument Second violin (leader)
At Residentie Orkest since 1980
Studied Bachelor of Music in Performance, University of Toronto with Lorand Fenyves; Solo Diploma, Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Davina van Wely. Recently obtained her master's degree in The Hague, her thesis The Art of Auditioning was awarded "Excellent" and is published.
Other Is principal study teacher in violin, chamber music and orchestra class at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Also leader in Luxembourg with the Solistes Européens. Janet has always played a lot of chamber music, was for many years a member of the Salzburg Soloists and also primarius of the Dufy Quartet.