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The Garden – Asko | Schönberg & Slagwerk Den Haag

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Gaudeamus Muziekweek opens with the world première of The Garden by Richard Ayres. The Garden is a cyclical tale about a man who, dissatisfied with his life, starts digging from his garden down to the centre of the earth. He then climbs a tree and is transported through clouds and flocks of birds, ever higher up into the heavens, only to land up in the very same tree in his garden. Ayres uses texts by Shakespeare and Dante, from films and from the pub. Video artist Martha Colburn, known for her hallucinatory and kaleidoscopic work, is creating animations for The Garden .

This semi-staged work by the Gaudeamus Award jury member and laureate will be juxtaposed with works by two young music pioneers who have been nominated for the Gaudeamus Award 2018: William Kuo and William Dougherty. Their work will be performed in Hertz, the chamber music hall of TivoliVredenbrug. As you move from the Large Hall to Hertz, at the escalators Slagwerk Den Haag will regale you with brand-new music by composer Georgia Nicolaou.

Singel Serenade
Before the opening concert, at 19:00 there will be a musical ode to the city on the quayside next to TivoliVredenburg. This free concert on and around the water includes work by Yannis Kyriakides and is performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Englishman Richard Ayres studied composition with Morton Feldman and Louis Andriessen. In 1994 he won the Gaudeamus Award. Ayres was commissioned by Asko|Schönberg and London Sinfonietta to write The Garden

In flieht wie ein Schatten (flees like a shadow) William Kuo investigates the boundaries of his own compositional language. The title might well mislead you; the young composer comes from Canada, and found his inspiration in Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible. With this composition, Kuo wishes to offer the listener a fresh, new listening experience.

the new normal by William Dougherty was written in reaction to the disturbing events in America during the summer of 2016: the gun battles and the murders of unarmed Afro-American civilians by the police. This work is a collage of musical layers from different eras, and includes recordings of Afro-American prisoners, made in 1947 by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, quotes from Monteverdi and Purcell, arranged by the Japanese noise artist Merzbow, and police radio recordings from 2016.

At 19:45 musicologist Thea Derks gives an introduction involving the six nominees for the Gaudeamus Award 2018.

Asko|Schönberg conducted by Bas Wiegers
Martha Colburn - video-artist (The Garden)
Joshua Bloom - bass bariton (The Garden)

Richard Ayres - no. 50 The Garden
William KuoFlieht wie ein Schatten
William Dougherty - The new normal

Slagwerk Den Haag
Georgia Nicolaou - Follow and Listen

Image © Martha Colburn

The Garden is made possible thanks to Fonds Podiumkunsten and the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.

Download the programme notes