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Andriessen 75th birthday events in 2014

(December 2013)

2014 is the 75th birthday year of leading Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, and this iconic figure in European New Music is celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Louis Andriessen is 75 on 6 June 2014 and the birthday year brings new works, high profile performances and CD releases. Birthday celebrations in Europe are launched by the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and Reinbert de Leeuw presenting two Andriessen birthday concerts at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam on 8 and 9 May. The first programme couples Andriessen's ecstatic vocal Dances with La Passione which sets poetry by Dino Campana, and the Italian theme continues with the composer's arrangement of Alfredo Casella's Pupazzetti. The second programme features Andriessen's recent monodrama Anais Nin together with his classic Hoketus, the sextet Life and his collaboration with Peter Greenaway M is for Man, Music, Mozart. Performers across the two days include sopranos Cristina Zavalloni and Claron McFadden, violinist Monica Germino and the instrumentalists of Nieuw Amsterdams Peil.

Later the same month Amsterdam also plays host to the world premiere of Andriessen's most recent work, a new 15-minute percussion concerto for Colin Currie entitled Tapdance. The performance on 24 May takes place in the Zaterdag Matinee series at the Concertgebouw with the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble. Further performances are scheduled in autumn 2014 at the Southbank Centre in London and at the Tromp International Percussion Competition in Eindhoven, all with Colin Currie as soloist. Though the tapdancer himself is absent from the stage, the new concerto pays tribute to the 1920s era of music for big band and tap dancer, and will require nimble footwork from Currie as percussionist.

Across the Atlantic, Washington plays host to a major Andriessen festival, with venues and performers across the DC area joining for a week-long celebration between 6-13 April, with the composer in attendance. Highlights include a concert performance of his opera La Commedia, La Girò for violin and ensemble featuring Monica Germino, a concert by the Bang On A Can All-Stars, the US premiere of his Monument for Graettinger for big band, and a programme by the Aeolus Quartet with his complete string quartets.

The birthday year brings two major performances of Andriessen's De Materie, one of his most distinctive large-scale works which explores ‘matter’ from a number of angles including Dutch shipbuilding, the mystic Hadewych, and Piet Mondriaan dancing the boogie-woogie. On 18 April Reinbert de Leeuw conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Susan Narucki and Synergy Vocals in the work's first performance on the US West Coast as part of the Minimalist Jukebox series. In the summer Heiner Goebbels is director for a new staging of De Materie, opening the Ruhr Triennale on 15 August, with six performances at the Kraftzentrale in Duisburg by the Ensemble Modern Orchestra and Chorwerk Ruhr conducted by Peter Rundel. This will be the complete work's German premiere and its first full theatrical staging since the original by Robert Wilson in Amsterdam in 1989.

The major CD release during the 75th birthday year promises to be Nonesuch's first complete recording of Andriessen's Grawemeyer Award-winning film opera La Commedia, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw.

> Further information on Work: De Materie

Photo: Francesca Patella

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