Louis Andriessen

Louis Andriessen

Louis Andriessen (b.1939) is widely regarded as the leading composer working in the Netherlands today and 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 range of inspiration is wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondriaan in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I.

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 ensembles who have commissioned or performed his works include Asko|Schoenberg, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, London Sinfonietta, and the Bang on a Can All Stars.

Collaborative cross-discipline works include the theatre piece De Materie, created with Robert Wilson for the Netherlands Opera; three works created with Peter Greenaway (the film M is for Man, Music, Mozart, and the stage works ROSA Death of a Composer and Writing to Vermeer); and collaborations with filmmaker Hal Hartley, including The New Math(s) and La Commedia, an operatic setting of Dante.

Recent commissions include Mysteriën, premiered by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons; Agamemnon for the New York Philharmonic, premiering in fall 2018; and The only one for Los Angeles Philharmonic, premiering in April 2019. His newest opera, Theatre of the World, about the 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher, received first performances in Los Angeles and Amsterdam in 2016, and was released on disc by Nonesuch in 2017.

Louis Andriessen held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, and was awarded Composer of the Year Award by Musical America in 2010. He won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his opera La Commedia and in 2016 was awarded the Kravis Prize for New Music including the commission of his orchestral work Agamemnon.