The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Ciconia Consort – The Hague String Orchestra
Dick van Gasteren, conductor
Maria Milstein, violin


Friday 7 February 2025 – 8:15 PM
Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

Sunday 9 February 2025 – 3:30 PM
Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague

Saturday 15 February 2025 – 8:00 PM
Theater Hanzehof, Zutphen

Thursday 27 March 2025 – 8:30 PM
De Vereeniging, Nijmegen

Saturday 29 March 2025 – 20:15
Willem Twee Toonzaal, Den Bosch



NINO ROTA (1911-1979) – Concerto per archi (1964–65), two movements
SULTAN ABDÜLAZIZ (1830-1876) – Gondol Şarkısı
ULVI CEMAL ERKIN (1906-1972) – Sinfonietta (1951/59)
KHACHATUR AVETISYAN (1926-1996) – Tsaghkats Baleni and Im Yegheg
ALEXANDER ARUTIUNIAN (1920-2012) – Concerto for violin and string orchestra
Erzerumi Shoror (Armenian traditional)
FIKRET AMIROV (1922-1984) – Nizami Symphony (1942)
ZHOU LONG (1953) – Song of the Ch’in (1982)

In “The Hanging Gardens of Babylon” the internationally acclaimed violinist Maria Milstein will shine in Aratiunian’s grand violin concerto. The musically poetic journey in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and Marco Polo follows the structure of a promenade, always followed by a caravanserai. During the promenade, with traditional Armenian music, we imagine ourselves in the desert on the back of a camel.
The journey starts with the gallant and virtuoso Concerto for strings by the film composer Nino Rota and crosses the sea to Constantinople with the Gondol Şarkısı written by Sultan Abdülaziz in Eurasian style. Fikret Amirov, who grew up with ‘Persian-Arab’ folk music, developed a new genre, the symphonic mugam. His Symphony for string orchestra is dedicated to the great 12th-century Persian poet Nizami. The Silk Road ends in Beijing with Song of the Ch’in, pure Chinese sounds by the living Chinese-American composer Zhou Long.

Maria Milstein, violin

The internationally acclaimed Russian violinist Maria Milstein received the Dutch Music Prize in January 2018. Maria was born in Moscow into a musical family. She studied in Amsterdam with Ilya Grubert, in London with David Takeno and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Waterloo by Augustin Dumay.

Maria has won many major competitions and prizes, such as the Città di Brescia and Premio Rodolfo Lipizer in Italy, the ARD competition in Munich, the Lyon Chamber Music Competition and the Kersjes Prize. Maria performs frequently throughout Europe and has soloed with, among others, the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium, Residentie Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic and Amsterdam Sinfonietta and has collaborated with conductors such as Vasily Petrenko, Jean-Jacques Kantorow and Reinbert de Leeuw.

With pianist Hannes Minnaar and cellist Gideon den Herder, Maria forms the successful Van Baerle Trio, with which she completed the ECHO Rising Stars Tour of famous concert halls in Europe in 2014. The trio released two critically acclaimed CDs. With the CD Sounds of War, recorded with pianist Hanna Shybayeva, and sonatas by Poulenc, Janáček and Prokofiev, Milstein received rave reviews in the international press. The CD received the Edison Classical Prize 2015 in the category of best chamber music album.
In October 2017, her second album La Sonate de Vinteuil was released, recorded with her sister, the pianist Nathalia Milstein, which was voted Best CD of 2017 by the Dutch press. A second album by the Milstein sisters Ravel Voyageur was awarded the prestigious Diapason arid.

Maria plays on a violin by Michel Angelo Bergonzi (Cremona, ca. 1750), on loan from the National Musical Instruments Fund. Maria teaches at the Amsterdam Conservatory.