Obituary: Composer Louis Andriessen, 82

Posted on: July 2, 2021

“Louis Andriessen, the most widely acclaimed Dutch composer of his generation, died on Thursday, July 1, in a care home in Weesp, North Holland,” writes Tom Huizenga in Thursday’s (7/1) National Public Radio. “He was 82 years old [and] was suffering from dementia, though he continued to improvise daily at his piano. Celebrated for his eclecticism, Andriessen … embraced the pulsating repetitions of his contemporaries Philip Glass and Steve Reich, but also wove elements derived from Igor Stravinsky’s music, big band jazz, popular styles and the rigid tenets of serialism into his compositions.… In 1972 founded his own ensemble, De Volharding (‘Perseverance’), which he described as a kind of ‘left-wing street orchestra, almost like a little big band,’ comprising saxophones, brass, bass and piano…. Perhaps most visible were his collaborative theatre works and operas…. In 2016, Andriessen, who famously had spurned the orchestral world early in his career, was named the recipient of the Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music at the New York Philharmonic, an event marked by several concerts and a new commission, Agamemnon, premiered in 2018…. Andriessen’s last major work, May, was a tribute to his friend, the [late] conductor and Baroque recorder player Frans Brüggen…. The piece … received its world premiere on Dec. 5, [2020], at the Concertgebouw.”