Louis Andriessen

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Louis Andriessen (born 6 June 1939) is a Dutch composer and pianist based in Amsterdam. He teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He was recipient of the Gaudeamus International Composers Award in 1959.


Life and career

Andriessen was born in Utrecht into a musical family, the son of the composer Hendrik Andriessen (1892–1981), brother of composers Jurriaan Andriessen (1925–1996) and Caecilia Andriessen (1931-), and nephew of Willem Andriessen (1887–1964).

Andriessen originally studied with his father and Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, before embarking upon two years of study with Italian composer Luciano Berio in Milan and Berlin. He later joined the faculty of the Royal Conservatory where his notable students included Steve Martland, Richard Ayres, Richard Baker, Jeff Hamburg, Ivana Kiš, Koji Nakano, Damien Ricketson, Patrick Saint-Denis, Juan Sebastian Lach, Michel van der Aa, Víctor Varela, and Jasna Veličković.

In 1969 Andriessen co-founded STEIM in Amsterdam. He also helped found the instrumental groups Orkest de Volharding and Hoketus, both of which performed compositions of the same names. He later became closely involved in the ongoing Schonberg and Asko ensembles and inspired the formation of the British ensemble Icebreaker.

Andriessen, a widower, was married to guitarist Jeanette Yanikian (1935–2008). They were a couple for over 40 years and were married in 1996.[1]

Style and notable works

Andriessen's early works 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 opted to write for his own idiosyncratic instrumental combinations, which often retain some traditional orchestral instruments alongside electric guitars, electric basses, and congas.

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