WFIU’s featured composer for September is Louis Andriessen.
Born in 1939 in Holland, Andriessen’s earliest teachers included his father, uncle, and brother, all of whom had prominent musical careers. He studied further with Luciano Berio after receiving first prize for his compositions. He began teaching at the Royal Conservatory in 1973, and gave guest lectures at schools such as Yale, the University of Buffalo (SUNY), and Princeton. He later joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory playing an important role in developing the talent of the next generation of Dutch composers.
Early works by Andriessen show experimentation with various contemporary trends: post war serialism (Series, 1958), pastiche (Anachronie I, 1966-67), 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. Since the early 1970s he has refused to write for conventional symphony orchestras and has instead written for his own idiosyncratic instrumental combinations.
Andriessen’s mature music combines the influences of jazz, American minimalism, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier. His harmonic writing abandons the consonant modality of much minimalism, preferring post-war European dissonance, often combined into large blocks of sound.
WFIU will feature music composed by Louis Andriessen throughout the month of September.
View an interview with Louis Andriessen talking about his life and music with Naxos.