Andriessen Festival 2024
Andriessen Festival 2024: Louis 85 Tribute & music from the present
24th of February, Musis Arnhem
Read more about the sixth edition in our concert schedule.
"What you end up looking for is a new beauty," Andriessen himself once said of his compositions. "It is not possible to explain exactly why something is so terribly beautiful. That's the secret of beauty and that's what you're working on all day."
Louis Andriessen is considered the most influential Dutch composer of his generation. He played an important role in the emergence of Dutch ensemble culture and is considered one of the founders of the so-called Haagse School. His music spanned all musical genres, but he had a predilection for theater, literature, dance and film. His compositions emphasized complex chords played on wind instruments. Andriessen rarely used string instruments.
Andriessen grew up in Utrecht in a musical family. His father Hendrik and older brother Jurriaan also composed; his sisters played piano and flute. After studying at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he studied with Luciano Berio in Milan and in Berlin. The composer opposed conservatism in the music world. Together with Reinbert de Leeuw, in the late 1960s he was the initiator of the Aktie Notenkraker to fight for greater appreciation of modern classical music. In the early 1970s Andriessen was appointed professor of instrumentation at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and later professor of composition. In 1972, he founded the ensemble De Volharding with Willem Breuker.
Andriessen's actual breakthrough came with the large-scale but minimalist composition De Staat (1976). He wrote the piece to contribute to the debate about the relationship between music and politics. For De Staat work, Andriessen received both the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize and the first prize of the International Rostrum of Composers in 1977.
In the 1980s, he began to focus increasingly on stage and film music and musical theater. Well-known works by Andriessen are the operas De Materie, Rosa and Writing to Vermeer. The latter two resulted from a collaboration with Peter Greenaway, as did M is for Man, Music and Mozart, for which he again received the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize in the early 1990s. In 2008, Andriessen was appointed professor of Creative Arts at Leiden University. That same year he received the Johan Wagenaar Prize for his entire oeuvre and premiered the film opera La Commedia at the Holland Festival. For this opera he was awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition from the University of Louisville in 2011. He received this American award precisely because he crossed traditional boundaries between musical genres and disciplines with this work.
De Ereprijs has collaborated with Louis Andriessen for many years and he has been a support for us in our annual Young Composers Meeting, among other things. With the Andriessen Festival we want to keep alive his innovative initiatives and his invaluable contribution to modern classical music.
Photos from Andriessen Festival 2023 by Maarten Sprangh
Andriessen Festival 2022
Andriessen Festival 2022 - Online
After a very successful Opening Concert in Musis Arnhem of the 4th edition of the Andriessen Festival we continue online! A whole week you can listen to music by Louis Andriessen, Iannis Xenakis, Calliope Tsoupaki, Martijn Padding, Ted Hearne, Claude Vivier, Calliope Tsoupaki, Kate Moore and new works by Christiaan Richter and Livia Malossi.
Calliope Tsoupaki - Mania / Leslee Smucker, solo violin
Tsoupaki wrote 'Mania' when she started having lessons with Louis Andriessen. Deeply moved and inspired by the Sequenza for viola by Luciano Berio, she wrote a powerful virtuoso composition with her signature already recognizable.
Calliope Tsoupaki - Remaining sounds of the deep sea / Pauline Post, solo piano
This piece was written in her early years as composer in Greece. Tsoupaki explores the resonance of the piano in her unique way; with very simple gestures she manages to unfold a rich sound world. Calliope says she had trouble giving this piece a title. It is about the feeling that something is traceable that can hardly be named.
In 2021, to our great sadness, Louis Andriessen passed away. As a tribute to one of the most important composers of the past century, we will perform two pieces of his music: Xenia by Leslee Smucker on violin, and 'Blokken' by Pauline Post on piano.
Louis Andriessen - Xenia (Sarabande, Caccia, Song) / Leslee Smucker, solo violin
Sarabande, is a slow movement, one of serene composure. Caccia is quick in tempo: a chase. The poet Rimbaud’s words from his ‘Voyelles’ are central in the last part, Song:
"O, supreme Clarion full of alien piercings,
Silences crossed by Worlds and Angels:
-O, Omega, violet shining of Her Eyes!".
Translation: Louis Andriessen.
The piece is dedicated to Monica Germino.
Louis Andriessen - Blokken / Pauline Post, solo piano
'Blokken' is one of Andriessen's few graphic scores.
With pinpoint accuracy, Andriessen's visual cues for piano are transformed into expressive, sometimes explosive, but mostly compelling gestures.
The piece is part of the collection ‘Souvenirs d’enfance’.
Kate Moore - Sadness / Alice Siu, violin & Wisse de Rijk, cello
“I wrote the piece at Tanglewood where we had an assignment. I felt as if I was writing letters to my grandmother who I never met. Its bittersweet and melancholy was inspired by Spanish folk music.
The piece was performed as part of the dance cycle Herz, Dances of the Heart, choreographed by Liene Roebana and recorded for CD.” (Kate Moore)
Claude Vivier - Shiraz / Pauline Post, solo piano
“Shiraz, a city in Iran—a pearl of a city, a diamond vigorously cut—inspired me to write a work for piano, which also would be carved out of an idea: the hands’ movements on the piano. The work is dedicated to the wonderful pianist Louis-Philippe Pelletier, and is indirectly dedicated to two blind singers whom I followed for hours in the marketplace of Shiraz.” (Claude Vivier)
Maurice Karkoff - Fanfarfantasi Op. 154 / Sjoerd Pauw, solo trumpet
Orchestra De Ereprijs and Phion, conducted by Gregory Charette, perform together as RKST21 music by young, promising and established composers, including Livia Malossi, Christiaan Richter and Ted Hearne, with soprano Sterre Konijn. With guests from ArtEZ and more, De Ereprijs plays from the repertoire of De Volharding: 'Remote Places' by Martijn Padding.
Martijn Padding - Remote Places / Orkest De Ereprijs with guests
'Remote Places' (1987) was written for the legendary ‘Orkest de Volharding’ founded by Louis Andriessen. The work emphasizes rapid movement and high harmonic speed. Remote Places has initially the character of a kind of piano concerto but the horn still draws the longest straw and concludes the work with an extremely difficult 'inhospitable' solo, hence the title." (Martijn Padding)
Livia Malossi - Broken neon arabesque (première) / RKST21 o.l.v. Gregory Charette / Sterre Konijn, soprano
This piece is inspired by the images from two books: “Naked Lunch” by William Burroughs, and “Altri libertini” by Pier Vittorio Tondelli, which both influenced American and European culture for a long time. They deal with drugs, homosexuality, and death in a non-linear, episodic way. The piece is constructed as a walk with unexpected encounters and bizarre events without an obvious narrative necessity. The basic idea is that of a new Babel: an individualistic humanity that suffers loneliness.
Ted Hearne - First World / RKST21 o.l.v. Gregory Charette / Sterre Konijn, soprano
“First World is a palindrome of sorts, constructed from many pre-existing musical materials from the Classical canon and previous works of mine, or the music of friends -- fellow composers. These freely interpreted and scrawled-upon excerpts are sequenced in a kind of house of cards structure that relies on sharp juxtapositions and stylist and rhythmic changes-on-dimes. The piece eventually transformed and was subsumed into my work for string orchestra Law of Mosaics, as the movement “Palindrome for Andrew Norman.”” (Ted Hearne)
It was premiered December 6, 2012 in Brussels by European Contemporary Orchestra, Raoul Lay, conductor. This version reflects instrumentation changes for RKTS21.
Christiaan Richter - muTaTum (première) / RKST21 o.l.v. Gregory Charette / Ermis Theodorakis, solo piano
The title refers to the legendary and fabulously virtuosic jazz pianist Art Tatum (1909- 1956). Tatum was not only of major influence within the development of jazz, but he also garnered the greatest admiration of classical composers in his time. Tatum was an exceptionally quick thinker and very inventive. In the piece muTaTum, Richter takes a number of characteristic features of Tatum's playing as a starting point and transforms them inside of entirely new contexts, to establish a contemporary and personal connection with this phenomenon.
The year 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Iannis Xenakis. He was a composer as well as an architect. His music sounds austere or uncomfortable, but possesses its own power and dynamic; Xenakis opened up the world of sounds. In doing so, he wanted to answer an ontological question: does creation from nothing exist in man or in nature? His music is characterized by the use of open forms and complex structures, built around physical principles.
Iannis Xenakis - Evryali / Ermis Theodorakis, solo piano
'Evriali' is one of Xenakis’ best-known compositions. The title has a double meaning. It means 'wide sea' and is also the name of a fairy in Greek mythology.
Iannis Xenakis - Mists / Ermis Theodorakis, solo piano
“The construction of this piece follows two main ideas: the exploration of pitch series (scales) and their cyclic transpositions in order to produce sound clouds of defined density. (…) And arborescence -bush-like clusters- of melodic lines.” (Iannis Xenakis)
The work was dedicated to Roger Woodward.
Iannis Xenakis - Keren / Tim Ouwejan, solo trombone
“This is an essentially melodic, often modal work, with however two higly virtuosic passages, requiring the utmost agility. It is noteworthly that the use of glissandi - a technique that comes naturally to this instrument- is limited to two short episodes, precisely because Xenakis wanted to avoid too obvious a cliché..” (Harry Halbreich)
"Keren" in Hebrew means "horn".
The work was written for and dedicated to Benny Sluchin.
Young Composers Meeting - Impression
Sixteen young, professional composers are given the opportunity to work on their own composition for a week, rehearse with orchestra and singers, attend workshops and individual lessons, and thus develop their talents. After the final concert, three commissions are awarded for composition assignments.