A portrait of Pierre Boulez
Holland Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
After previous musical portraits of Varèse, Xenakis, Cage and Nono, in this 68th edition of the Holland Festival the spotlights are on French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez (1925). Boulez’s importance in the postwar music world can hardly be overestimated; the master has had a huge influence on both his contemporaries and the generations of composers who have come after him. One of the key compositions by Boulez that the Holland Festival is presenting is Répons (1981–1984).
This groundbreaking work is the first composition in which the grand maître of the musical experiment combined the performers' traditional instrumentation with real-time manipulated sound. Because of the spiralling character of the score and the spatial grouping of ensemble, soloists, loudspeakers and audience, Amsterdam's Gashouder is the ideal venue in which to fully appreciate the music's exciting interplay between past and present, question and answer. Boulez' faithful collaborators of the Ensemble intercontemporain and the sound wizards of IRCAM, the institute which was founded by Boulez, will play the piece twice, so that the audience can change seats in the break and re-experience the music from a different perspective the second time. It's a unique opportunity to get acquainted with every aspect of this iconic work.
Another production focusing on Pierre Boulez is Beyond the Score®: A Portrait of Pierre Boulez, performed by Asko|Schönberg, Slagwerk Den Haag and actress Bracha van Doesburg under the direction of Etienne Siebens: If there’s anything which epitomises Pierre Boulez, it must be his sense of adventure. This year the pioneer of abstraction, experiment and electronics in music will reach the age of ninety, an occasion which we celebrate with this musical and theatrical journey through his eventful life as a musician. The sets for the show have been designed by Pierre Boulez’ close friend, the famous architect Frank Gehry, and created by Beyond the Score® Creative Director Gerard McBurney.
Key passages from Boulez’ oeuvre, performed live by Asko|Schönberg and Slagwerk Den Haag, are seamlessly interconnected by narrated excerpts from letters and poems and dynamic, atmospheric projections of archival and new video footage of Boulez. It’s a great opportunity to discover the fascinating world of one of the greatest composers and conductors of our time.
June 14, 2015
Westergasfabriek Gashouder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Beyond the Score®
June 2, 2015
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands