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"11.000 Saiten" at the Holland Festival 2024

Amsterdam (NL)

In 2024, the Holland Festival will present the work 11.000 Saiten by Georg Friedrich Haas: a microtonal composition for 50 pianos and an equally large ensemble. The performance is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas (1953) is internationally known and appreciated as a composer and explorer of the inner world of sound. The majority of his work is an exploration and investigation of the concept of microtonality. Haas himself says of microtonality: “I don't really feel comfortable being pigeonholed as a ‘microtonal composer’. First and foremost, I am a composer who is free to use the means necessary for his music. There is no ideology of ‘pure’ intonation, neither as Pythagorean numerical mysticism nor as a trivially physically determined idea of ‘nature’. I am a composer, not a microtonalist”.

Haas, whose concerto Hyena was performed at the Holland Festival in 2016, will return in 2024 with 11.000 Saiten. Commissioned by the Busoni Mahler Foundation and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the large-scale work for 50 pianos and ensemble explores a microtonal space. In order to achieve the desired acoustic effect of a microtonal composition, each piano is tuned exactly 2 cents apart. Only by using 50 completely identical pianos can the distance between the piano with the highest pitch and the piano with the lowest pitch be exactly 1 semitone minus 2 cents. This approach conveys a new feeling of weightless listening, free from static conventions. In an arrangement where 50 pianos form a spacious circle, the construct of time is explored as sound actually takes time to move from one place to another, creating a unique sound for the audience located in the center.

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June 22, 2024
Gashouder, Amsterdam