Louis Andriessen


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 1-25 of 26 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Andriessen: Theatre of the World / Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 561784 Release Date: 09/29/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Cristina Zavalloni,  Leigh Melrose,  Lindsay Kesselman,  Marcel Beekman
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Personae / Smucker
    Label: Gega New Ltd   Catalog: 32 Release Date: 08/04/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Antheil,  Ezra Pound,  Louis Andriessen,  JP Merz  ... 
    Performer:  Leslee Smucker
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  • 3.
    First Drop / Hillier, Ars Nova Copenhagen
    Label: Cantaloupe   Catalog: 21127 Release Date: 05/19/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Skempton,  Michael Gordon,  David Lang,  Kevin Volans  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Copenhagen
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  • 4.
    Beneath A Canopy Of Angels ... A River Of Stars
    Label: Aerocade Music   Catalog: 5638574571 Release Date: 02/26/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Simon Hutchinson,  Louis Andriessen,  Ethan Wickman,  Lanier Sammons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Post-Haste Reed Duo
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  • 5.
    Mariss Jansons Live: The Radio Recordings, 1990-2014 [13-CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 15002 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Hector Berlioz,  Anton Bruckner,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky,  Frank Peter Zimmermann,  Ferruccio Furlanetto,  Leo van Doeselaar  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Horizon 6 / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 15001 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Luc Brewaeys,  Detlev Glanert,  Michel van der Aa,  Louis Andriessen
    Performer:  Janine Jansen
    Conductor:  David Robertson,  Xian Zhang,  Vladimir Jurowski,  Otto Tausk  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    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
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 9.
    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
    CD: $19.99
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  • 10.
    Minimal Piano Collection 2 / 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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  • 11.
    Andriessen: Anais Nin, De Staadt / Atherton, Zavalloni, London Sinfonietta
    Label: Signum Classics   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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    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:  Mirjam Schroder,  Tatiana Koleva,  Berndt Thurner,  John Corbett  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Rundel,  Reinbert De Leeuw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  musikFabrik
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  • 13.
    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 Ensemble
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  • 14.
    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:  Carla Bleyl,  Chinary Ung,  Darren Jones,  Lyle Mays  ... 
    Performer:  Nancy Zeltsman,  Beverley Johnston,  Jack Van Geem,  Gordon Stout  ... 
    On sale! $41.98
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  • 15.
    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
    CD: $35.49
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  • 16.
    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
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 17.
    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  ... 
    CD: $44.49
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  • 18.
    Andriessen: Writing To Vermeer / Narucki, Bickley, Hannigan
    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
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 19.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Deconstruction - Bach, Ligeti, Couperin, Etc / Willi
    Label: Musicaphon   Catalog: 56863 Release Date: 06/28/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  François Couperin,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Maria Willi
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  • 21.
    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,  Rolf Hind,  Nicolas Hodges,  Paul Silverthorne  ... 
    Conductor:  George Benjamin
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  • 22.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    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
    On sale! $16.99
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  • 24.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Bocins D'aire - Berio, Donatoni, Varela, Et Al / Izquierdo
    Label: Lindoro   Catalog: 705 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Andriessen,  Franco Donatoni,  Luciano Berio,  Anna Bofill  ... 
    Performer:  Joan Izquierdo
    CD: $17.99
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