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Louis Andriessen

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  • June 10, 2014

    Louis Andriessen’s Grawemeyer Award–winning La Commedia is out now, as a two-CD-plus-DVD set. The film opera, a collaboration with director Hal Hartley, is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, with additional texts including the Old Testament’s “Song of Songs.” This Dutch National Opera production features the Asko and Schönberg Ensembles, led by Reinbert de Leeuw. The Washington Post calls La Commedia "an exciting, powerful and rich piece that shows Andriessen at the top of his game." The Los Angeles Times considers it "the greatest opera of the century so far." 

  • May 02, 2014

    Nonesuch Records releases Louis Andriessen’s Grawemeyer Award–winning La Commedia on June 10, 2014, as a two-CD-plus-DVD set. The film opera, a collaboration with director Hal Hartley, is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, with additional texts including the Old Testament’s “Song of Songs.” This Dutch National Opera production features the Asko and Schönberg Ensembles, led by Reinbert de Leeuw. The Washington Post calls La Commedia "an exciting, powerful and rich piece that shows Andriessen at the top of his game." The Los Angeles Times considers it "the greatest opera of the century so far." La Commedia is available to pre-order in the Nonesuch Store.

  • about Louis Andriessen

    Dutch composer Louis Andriessen was born in Utrecht in 1939 into a musical family. He first studied composition with his father Hendrik Andriessen, an established composer in his own right, and later with Keevs van Baaren at the Hague Conservatory, Between 1962 and 1964 undertook further studies in Milan and Berlin with Luciano Berio. Since 1974 Andriessen has combined teaching with his work as a composer and pianist. He is now widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and is a central figure in the international new music scene.

    From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic and rhythmic materials, heard in totally distinctive instrumentation. His acknowledged admiration for Stravinsky is illustrated by a parallel vigor, clarity of expression, and an acute ear for color. The range of Andriessen's inspiration is wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondrian in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. He has tackled complex creative issues, exploring the relation between music and politics in De Staat, the nature of time and velocity in De Tijd and De Staat, and questions of mortality in Trilogy of the Last Day.

    Andriessen's compositions have attracted many leading exponents of contemporary music, including the two Dutch groups named after his works De Volharding and Hoketus. Other eminent Dutch performers include the Schoenberg Ensemble, the ASKO Ensemble, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Schoenberg Quartet, pianists Gerard Bouwhuis and Cees van Zeeland, and conductors Reinbert de Leeuw and Edo de Waart. Ensembles outside of the Netherlands that have championed his music include the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble InterContemporain, Icebreaker, the Bang on a Can All Stars, and the California EAR Unit.

    Recent collaborative works include the full length theatre piece De Materie, created with Robert Wilson for the Netherlands Opera and Rosa - The Death of a Composer, premiered at the Netherlands Opera in 1994 with text and production by Peter Greenaway, released on Nonesuch in May 2000. A new collaboration with Peter Greenaway, Writing to Vermeer, premiered in Amsterdam in December 1999 and will receive its North American premiere at Lincoln Center in July.

    Nonesuch Records has released a series of recordings of Andriessen's major works, including the complete De Materie, De Stijl / M is for Man, Music Mozart, De Tijd and De Staat. The score for his latest Nonesuch release, Rosa - The Death of a Composer, is described by The Guardian (London) as "...a virtuoso achievement that synthesises all the strands of Andriessen's musical personality - its debts to jazz and popular music, its minimalist tendencies, its Stravinsky-an tang - into a work of total coherence."

on May 29, 2008 - 7:06pm

Dutch composer Louis Andriessen was born in Utrecht in 1939 into a musical family. He first studied composition with his father Hendrik Andriessen, an established composer in his own right, and later with Keevs van Baaren at the Hague Conservatory, Between 1962 and 1964 undertook further studies in Milan and Berlin with Luciano Berio. Since 1974 Andriessen has combined teaching with his work as a composer and pianist. He is now widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and is a central figure in the international new music scene.

From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Andriessen has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic and rhythmic materials, heard in totally distinctive instrumentation. His acknowledged admiration for Stravinsky is illustrated by a parallel vigor, clarity of expression, and an acute ear for color. The range of Andriessen's inspiration is wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondrian in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. He has tackled complex creative issues, exploring the relation between music and politics in De Staat, the nature of time and velocity in De Tijd and De Staat, and questions of mortality in Trilogy of the Last Day.

Andriessen's compositions have attracted many leading exponents of contemporary music, including the two Dutch groups named after his works De Volharding and Hoketus. Other eminent Dutch performers include the Schoenberg Ensemble, the ASKO Ensemble, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Schoenberg Quartet, pianists Gerard Bouwhuis and Cees van Zeeland, and conductors Reinbert de Leeuw and Edo de Waart. Ensembles outside of the Netherlands that have championed his music include the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble InterContemporain, Icebreaker, the Bang on a Can All Stars, and the California EAR Unit.

Recent collaborative works include the full length theatre piece De Materie, created with Robert Wilson for the Netherlands Opera and Rosa - The Death of a Composer, premiered at the Netherlands Opera in 1994 with text and production by Peter Greenaway, released on Nonesuch in May 2000. A new collaboration with Peter Greenaway, Writing to Vermeer, premiered in Amsterdam in December 1999 and will receive its North American premiere at Lincoln Center in July.

Nonesuch Records has released a series of recordings of Andriessen's major works, including the complete De Materie, De Stijl / M is for Man, Music Mozart, De Tijd and De Staat. The score for his latest Nonesuch release, Rosa - The Death of a Composer, is described by The Guardian (London) as "...a virtuoso achievement that synthesises all the strands of Andriessen's musical personality - its debts to jazz and popular music, its minimalist tendencies, its Stravinsky-an tang - into a work of total coherence."

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