Louis Andriessen

Lector Compositie

Louis Andriessen was born in Utrecht. He studied composition with his father, Hendrik Andriessen, with Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, and with Luciano Berio. His brother, Jurriaan Andriessen, was also a composer. Together with Peter Schat, Jan van Vlijmen and Misha Mengelberg he wrote Reconstructie (1968-1969). In the 1970s he wrote political works, such as Volkslied and Workers Union.

In 1972 he founded Orkest de Volharding, writing an eponymously titled work for them. The piece Hoketus from 1977 was the initiating impulse for the creation of the Hoketus ensemble. Andriessen participated in this as pianist. His wife, Jeanette Yanikian, played bass guitar in the ensemble. There followed more compositions for large ensembles: Mausoleum, Il Principe, De Staat, De Tijd. Significant in Andriessen's music are complex chords, played on (numerous) wind instruments and percussion.

Louis Andriessen is one of the founders of the Haagse School, together with composers such as Jan van Vlijmen, Diderik Wagenaar and Gilius van Bergeijk, all connected or formerly connected with the Royal Conservatoire as teachers.

Louis Andriessen's music had a strong influence on the minimal music of composers such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Andriessen has repeatedly remarked on the strong influence Igor Stravinsky has had on his work - the composer to which he (together with musicologist Elmer Schönberger) dedicated the book Het Apollinisch Uurwerk. The book Gestolen Tijd was published by Querido in 2002, which brings together texts by Andriessen on his own work.

From the second half of the 1980s Andriessen concentrated more on theatre music and film music. His operas De Materie, Rosa (in collaboration with Peter Greenaway), and Writing to Vermeer became significant contributions to his catalogue. In June 2008 La Commedia saw its première.

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