Louis Andriessen
Andriessen (1983)
Born6 June 1939 (1939-06-06)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Died1 July 2021(2021-07-01) (aged 82)
Weesp, Netherlands
EducationRoyal Conservatory of The Hague
Occupation
  • Composer
  • Pianist
  • Academic teacher
Organization
Spouse(s)
(m. 1996; died 2008)
(m. 2012)
Awards

Louis Joseph Andriessen (Dutch: [luˈi ˈɑndrisə(n)]; 6 June 1939 – 1 July 2021) was a Dutch composer, pianist and academic teacher. Considered the most influential Dutch composer of his generation, he was a central proponent of The Hague school of composition.[1] Although his music was initially dominated by neoclassicism and serialism, his style gradually shifted to a synthesis of American minimalism, jazz and the manner of Stravinsky.

Born in Utrecht into a musical family, Andriessen studied with his father, the composer Hendrik Andriessen as well as composers Kees van Baaren and Luciano Berio. Andriessen taught at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague from 1974 to 2012, influencing notable composers. His opera La Commedia, based on Dante's Divine Comedy, won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and was selected in 2019 by critics at The Guardian as one of the most outstanding compositions of the 21st century.

Life and career

Andriessen was born in Utrecht on 6 June 1939 to a musical family,[2] the son of the composer Hendrik Andriessen[2] and Johanna Justina Anschütz (1898–1975).[3] His father was professor of composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and later its director. His siblings are composers Jurriaan Andriessen and Caecilia Andriessen (1931–2019), and he is the nephew of Willem Andriessen (1887–1964).[2]

Andriessen originally studied with his father and Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, graduating in 1961 with a first prize,[4][5] before embarking upon two years of study with Italian composer Luciano Berio in Milan and Berlin.[2][6] His father introduced him to the works of Francis Poulenc and Eric Satie which he came to love.[6] From 1961-65, Andriessen wrote for the daily De Volkskrant, and for De Gids magazine from 1966-69.[7] Andriessen lived in Amsterdam since 1965.[7]

In 1969, he was part of a group of protesters at a concert of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. They disrupted the concert with nutcrackers and bicycle horns, handing out leaflets on the dismal representation of Dutch new music in the orchestra's programming. The next year, he and the other "Nutcrackers" were given one-week prison sentences, and yet their protest sparked something of a social reform in the Dutch music scene.[8]

Andriessen was internationally recognised as a composer with his 1976 De Staat which included texts from Plato's Republic.[9] He was one of the founders of the Hague School, an avant-garde and minimalist movement from the second half of the 20th century.[10] In later decades, he accepted commissions from major orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.[11] Andriessen was the focus of festivals in Tanglewood (1994), London (1994; 2002), Tokyo (2000), Brisbane (2001) and New York (2004).[7] In 2008, he was elected an honorary member of the International Society for Contemporary Music ISCM.[12] He held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall during the 2009–10 season.[11]

Ensembles

Andriessen at the Roundhouse in Vancouver (2009)
Andriessen at the Roundhouse in Vancouver (2009)

In 1969, Andriessen co-founded Studio voor Elektro-Instrumentale Muziek STEIM in Amsterdam.[13][14] In opposition to the classical orchestra, a structure seen as "hierarchical",[6] he also helped founding the instrumental groups Orkest de Volharding[2] and Hoketus, both of which performed compositions of the same names,[6][15] formed by classical, jazz and pop musicians.[6] He later became closely involved with the Schonberg and Asko ensembles and inspired the formation of the British ensemble Icebreaker.[16]

Teaching

For Andriessen's notable students, see List of music students by teacher: A to B § Louis Andriessen.

Andriessen joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory in 1974.[4] He taught instrumentation from 1974 to 1978 and taught composition there from 1978 to 2012,[2][4][11] where he influenced notable students including Michel van der Aa, Richard Ayres and Steve Martland.[9] Yale University invited him in 1987 to lecture on theory and composition,[11] he was also guest lecturer at New York State University, Buffalo (1989) and Princeton (1996).[1] The arts faculty of the University of Leiden appointed him professor in 2004.[11]

Personal life

Andriessen was married to guitarist Jeanette Yanikian (1935–2008). They were a couple for over 40 years, and were married in 1996.[17] La Commedia is dedicated to Yanikian.[18] He was married in 2012 a second time to violinist Monica Germino, for whom he wrote several works.[11][14] In December 2020, she announced that the composer was suffering from dementia.[19][20][21] He died on 1 July 2021 in Weesp at age 82.[2][11][20][22]

Style and notable works

Andriessen began in the style of an intentionally dry neoclassicism, but then turned into a strict serialist.[14] His early works show experimentation with various contemporary trends: post-war serialism (Series, 1958), pastiche (Anachronie I, 1966–67),[23] and tape (Il Duce, 1973). His reaction to what he perceived as the conservatism of much of the Dutch contemporary music scene quickly moved him to form a radically alternative musical aesthetic of his own. From the early 1970s on he refused to write for conventional symphony orchestras and instead opted to write for his own idiosyncratic instrumental combinations, which often retain some traditional orchestral instruments alongside electric guitars, electric basses, and congas.[14] Andriessen repeatedly used his music for political confessions and messages, but he also referred to painting and philosophy.[14] His range of inspiration was wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondriaan in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I.[24]

Andriessen's later style is a unique blend of American sounds and European forms.[11] His mature music combines the influences of jazz, American minimalism,[2] Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier.[25][26] The music consists of minimalist polyrhythms, lyrical melodic fragments, predominantly consonant harmonies disrupted by explosive blocks of concentrated dissonance.[27] Andriessen's music thus departs from post-war European serialism and its offshoots. By the 21st century he was widely regarded as Europe's most important minimalist composer.[28]

His notable works include Workers Union (1975), a melodically indeterminate piece "for any loud sounding group of instruments" whose score specifies rhythm and contour but not exact pitch; Mausoleum (1979) for two baritones and large ensemble; De Tijd (Time, 1979–81) for female singers and ensemble; De Snelheid (Velocity, 1982–83), for three amplified ensembles; De Materie (Matter, 1984–88), a large four-part work for voices and ensemble; collaborations with filmmaker and librettist Peter Greenaway on the film M is for Man, Music, Mozart and the operas Rosa: A Horse Drama (1994) and Writing to Vermeer (1998);[11] and La Passione (2000–02) for female voice, violin and ensemble. His opera La Commedia, based on Dante's Divine Comedy, is particularly renowned; it won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and was selected in 2019 by critics at The Guardian as No 7 of the then most outstanding compositions of the 21st century.[29]

Awards and honours

Works

Andriessen's primary publishers are Boosey & Hawkes and Donemus. Complete list of works:[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Schönberger 2001.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Huizenga, Tom (1 July 2021). "Louis Andriessen, Influential, Iconoclastic Dutch Composer, Dies At Age 82". WVTF. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  3. ^ Trochimczyk, Maja, ed. (2002). the Music of Louis Andriessen. Psychology Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-81-533789-8.
  4. ^ a b c d The Living Composers Project. Composers21.com. Retrieved on 26 October 2013.
  5. ^ Trochimczyk, Maja, ed. (2013). Music of Louis Andriessen. Taylor & Francis. pp. 32ff. ISBN 978-1-136-76966-5. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Andy (1 July 2021). "Composer Louis Andriessen has died, aged 82". Gramophone. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d "Louis Andriessen, Komponisten der Gegenwart (KDG)". munzinger.de (in German). Retrieved 2 July 2021. (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Louis Andriessen obituary". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Clements, Andrew (2 July 2021). "Louis Andriessen: six of the best". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Composer Louis Andriessen (82) passed away". Netherlands News Live. 1 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fonseca-Wollheim, Corinna da (1 July 2021). "Louis Andriessen, Lionized Composer With Radical Roots, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  12. ^ "Honorary members". ISCM – International Society for Contemporary Music. 21 June 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  13. ^ "STEIM Radio #9: The Founders". STEIM. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e Baumgartner, Edwin (2 July 2021). "Nachruf". Klassik – Wiener Zeitung Online (in German). Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Louis Andriessen". Schott Music (in German). Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Review". Gramophone. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  17. ^ a b c d e O'Mahony, John (28 September 2002). "Louis the first". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Nonesuch Records La Commedia". Nonesuch Records Official Website. 1 July 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  19. ^ Maddocks, Fiona (12 December 2020). "The week in classical: Live from London Christmas; Louis Andriessen premiere – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Componist Louis Andriessen (82) overleden". nos.nl.
  21. ^ Power, Steph. "Louis Andriessen: The Only One". ClassicalMusic.com. BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  22. ^ "Rebel Louis Andriessen was grootste Nederlandse componist sinds eeuwen". NRC.
  23. ^ "Louis Andriessen – Anachronie I". Boosey & Hawkes. 3 November 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  24. ^ "Leading Dutch composer Louis Andriessen dies aged 82". Boosey & Hawkes. 3 November 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  25. ^ Dürmeier, Franziska (11 June 2019). "Präzise, aber radikal". Süddeutsche.de (in German). Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  26. ^ Pay, David (2009) "Don't Get Too Comfortable" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2010. musiconmain.ca
  27. ^ Leonard, James (February 2006). "Those naked dancers are doing what?". Ann Arbor Observer. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  28. ^ Schell, Michael (22 November 2017). "Louis Andriessen: Theater of the World". SecondInversion.org. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  29. ^ Clements, Andrew; Maddocks, Fiona; Lewis, John; Molleson, Kate; Service, Tom; Jeal, Erica; Ashley, Tim (12 September 2019). "The best classical music works of the 21st century". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  30. ^ "Winners of the Gaudeamus Award". Gaudeamus Muziekweek. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  31. ^ Dante-inspired opera wins Grawemeyer Award Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  32. ^ Cooper, Michael (17 November 2016). "An Extra Layer of Dutch for New York Philharmonic". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Donemus catalogue Archived 26 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ Festival Dag in de Branding (edition 12). Dagindebranding.nl.
  35. ^ a b Festival Dag in de Branding (edition 12). Dagindebranding.nl.
  36. ^ Adlington, Robert (2004). "Louis Andriessen, Hanns Eisler, and the Lehrstüück". Journal of Musicology. University of California Press. 21 (3): 381–417. doi:10.1525/jm.2004.21.3.381. ISSN 0277-9269.
  37. ^ La Girò for violin and ensemble (U.S. premiere) Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. LA Phil (14 May 2012). Retrieved on 26 October 2013.
  38. ^ "Louis Andriessen: Interview about his new Mysteries". Boosey.com. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  39. ^ "Andriessen discusses his new Theatre of the World". Boosey & Hawkes. March 2016. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  40. ^ Tilden, Imogen (6 September 2019). "'The music said scream, so I did' – meet soprano Nora Fischer". The Guardian.

Sources

Further reading