Louis Andriessen

Biography

Born: June 6, 1939; Utrecht, The Netherlands  
Composer Louis Andriessen was born in Utrecht into a musical family headed by his father Hendrik Andriessen, one of the recognized pioneers of modern Dutch music. Louis Andriessen began his musical studies with his father, and then studied in The Hague with Kees van Baaren, and later in Milan with Luciano Berio. Early Andriessen works are serial, but by 1963 he was working with graphic notation, as in the piano piece Registers, using a Read more combination of fixed and non-fixed elements to facilitate improvisation. In 1969, Andriessen participated in his first large-scale theatrical "happening," Reconstructie, at the Holland Festival in collaboration with Ton de Leeuw, Misha Mengelberg, Peter Schat, and Jan van Vlijmen. In 1970, Andriessen swore off writing music for standard symphonic ensembles for good, a decision that was to profoundly impact his development. For a time, he worked in electronic music; his first venture into theater on his own with Il Principe. Andriessen experienced a creative breakthrough in 1976, with De Staat, a large choral work based on Plato's Republic sung in the original Greek, combining ancient Greek scales, Stravinskyian rhythms, repetition, and hocket. De Staat earned Andriessen the coveted Kees van Baaren Prize, and since then he has garnered numerous awards, citations, and commissions. The unusual instrumentation of De Staat deserves mention: four women's voices, four oboes, four horns, four trumpets, four trombones, two electric guitars, bass guitar, two pianos, two harps, and four violas.

"All that whining about textural sonorous fields and special instrumental effects bores me," Andriessen has said. "Instrumentation must correspond to the structure of the music." Andriessen often uses rock instruments, such as electric guitar, bass, and synthesizer to augment his ensembles. Andriessen also composes music designed to challenge the talents of specific performers; Forget-Me-Not requires an oboist to also play piano, and in TAO there is a part for a pianist who speaks and also plays the koto. Andriessen is regarded to some extent as an ensemble builder; Orkest de Volharding is a group he formed to play the same-named Andriessen work, and the ensemble came together afterward to program and commission other repertoire. In the United States, performing groups such as the California Ear Unit and Bang On A Can have eagerly programmed and recorded Andriessen works such as Workers Union and Hoketus. Younger composers view the work of Andriessen as an alternative to academic serialism and American minimalism, and aspiring composers from many nations have come to Holland to study with him at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. After De Staat, Andriessen's major works have included De Tijd, Facing Death for the Kronos Quartet, and Trilogy of the Last Day. He collaborated with stage director Robert Wilson on the four-part De Materie in 1989. In the 1990s, a fruitful collaboration with film director Peter Greenaway led to several works, including the films M is for Man, Music, Mozart; Rosa: The Death of a Composer; and the opera Writing to Vermeer, which premiered in 1999. Sometimes didactic in his defense of his progressive political views, Andriessen is nevertheless far from humorless. His penetrating insight as an essayist on topics such as Stravinsky may be read in his book The Apollonian Clockwork, published in 1989. Andriessen has said "I don't feel comfortable with composers like Schoenberg who always push ahead in one direction. I prefer the jacks-of-all-trades: the Purcells and Stravinskys, who are at home anywhere, borrowing here, and stealing there." His popularity with young listeners and presence on the scene has provided an unprecedented boost to the prominence of contemporary Dutch music throughout the world. Read less
Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Louis Andriessen: La Commedia
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 534877 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Cristina Zavalloni,  Claron McFadden,  Jeroen Willems,  Marcel Beekman
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Asko Schönberg Ensemble,  Dutch National Opera Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Threads / Molly Morkoski
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1342 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Wuorinen,  Frédéric Chopin,  Louis Andriessen  ... 
    Performer:  Molly Morkoski
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  • 3.
    Big Beautiful Dark And Scary / Bang On A Can All Stars
    Label: Cantaloupe   Catalog: 21074 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Conlon Nancarrow,  Julia Wolfe,  David Longstreth,  David Lang  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bang on a Can
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  • 4.
    Minimal Piano Collection 2 / Van Veen
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9171 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  William Duckworth,  Michael Parsons,  Douwe Eisenga,  Gabriel Jackson  ... 
    Performer:  Tamara Rumiantsev,  Marcel Bergmann,  Jeroen van Veen,  Elizabeth Bergmann  ... 
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  • 5.
    Andriessen: Anais Nin, De Staadt / Atherton, Zavalloni, London Sinfonietta
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 273 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Cristina Zavalloni
    Conductor:  David Atherton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Sinfonietta,  Synergy Vocals
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  • 6.
    Andriessen: Anais Nin, Never A Dull Moment / Zavalloni, Nieuw Amsterdams Peil
    Label: Attacca   Catalog: 2011127 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Cristina Zavalloni
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nieuw Amsterdams Peil
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  • 7.
    Vom Himmel Zur Holle (From Heaven To Hell)
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 6853 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Martin Smolka,  Mauricio Kagel,  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Berndt Thurner,  Tatiana Koleva,  Mirjam Schroder,  Adam Orvad  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Rundel,  Reinbert De Leeuw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  musikFabrik
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  • 8.
    Flexible Music
    Label: New Focus   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Orianna Webb,  Ryan Streber,  Nico Muhly,  John Link  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Flexible Music
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  • 9.
    Masterworks For Marimba - Bley, Johnston, Schuller, Et Al / Nancy Zeltsman, Et Al
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9311 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Fred Hersch,  Ed Haddad,  Betsy Jolas,  Anders Hillborg  ... 
    Performer:  Jack Van Geem,  Tom Burritt,  Jean Geoffroy,  William Moersch  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Minimalists / Jussi Jaatinen
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 214 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Steve Reich,  Kyle Gann,  Louis Andriessen,  Terry Riley  ... 
    Performer:  Geoffrey Douglas Madge
    Conductor:  Jussi Jaatinen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Volharding Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Andriessen: La Passione, Bells For Haarlem, Etc / Gil Rose
    Label: Bmop/Sound   Catalog: 1011 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Cristina Zavalloni,  Monica Germino
    Conductor:  Gil Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Modern Orchestra Project
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  • 12.
    Holnd Fstvl - A Dutch Miracle - Fifty Years - 1947-1997
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6900 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Rudolf Escher,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Renato Capecchi,  Teresa Berganza,  Giulietta Simionato,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  George Szell,  Jean Fournet,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Danzi Woodwind Quintet  ... 
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  • 13.
    Andriessen: Writing To Vermeer
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79887 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Michel Van der Aa,  Susan Bickley,  Brenda van Duijkeren,  Wendy van Epen  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ASKO Ensemble,  Schoenberg Ensemble
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  • 14.
    Ac/Dc / Sentieri Selvaggi
    Label: Cantaloupe   Catalog: 21030 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Gordon,  Filippo Del Corno,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Louis Andriessen  ... 
    Performer:  Paola Fre,  Thomas Schrott,  Annibale Rebaudengo,  Mirco Ghirardini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Boccadoro
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sentierri Selvaggi
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  • 15.
    Label: London Sinfonietta   Catalog: 12004 Release Date: 03/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Charles Wuorinen,  Alexander Goehr,  Detlev Glanert  ... 
    Performer:  Bruce Nockles,  Nicolas Hodges,  Rolf Hind,  Paul Silverthorne  ... 
    Conductor:  George Benjamin
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  • 16.
    Gigantic Dancing Human Machine - Andriessen / Bang On A Can
    Label: Cantaloupe   Catalog: 21012 Release Date: 03/11/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Steven Schick,  Lisa Moore,  Mark Stewart,  Evan Ziporyn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Icebreaker (Classical),  Bang on a Can
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  • 17.
    The Art of Han De Vries
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2004 Release Date: 12/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda,  Louis Andriessen,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Han de Vries,  Jaap Van Zweden,  Bob van Asperen
    Conductor:  Anton Kersjes,  Howard Williams
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 18.
    It Takes Two - Andriessen, Bartok, Et Al / Schneemann, Et Al
    Label: Channel Crossings   Catalog: 18598 Release Date: 08/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bart Schneeman,  Iva Bittová,  Astor Piazzolla,  Simon Burgers  ... 
    Performer:  Bart Schneemann,  Daniel Raiskin,  Alfredo Marcucci,  Gerrit Boonstra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2517 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bohuslav Martinu,  Edwin McLean,  Louis Andriessen,  Alexander Nico Voormolen  ... 
    Performer:  Elaine Funaro
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  • 20.
    Don't Panic! - 60 Seconds For Piano / Guy Livingston
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 6649 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anderson, Thomas J., Jr.,  Lansing McLoskey,  Atanasio Khyrsh,  Atsushi Yoshinaka  ... 
    Performer:  Guy Livingston,  Joana Preiss
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Andriessen: Zilver / The California Ear Unit
    Label: New Albion   Catalog: 94 Release Date: 08/19/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Lorna Eder
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  California EAR Unit
    CD: $15.99
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  • 22.
    Andriessen: De Stijl, M Is For Man Music Mozart / De Leeuw
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 79342 Release Date: 08/09/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Gertrude Thoma,  Astrid Seriese
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw,  Jurjen Hempel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schoenberg Ensemble,  ASKO Ensemble,  Volharding Orchestra
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