Composer meets visual artist

Apr 01, 2019 by SFTH in  Spring Festival Countdown

‘A paradise built in hell’ will be performed at Tuesday evening 19.30h in Korzo.

This performance is the result of a huge collaboration that already started in November. Students from the composition department, students from the Royal Academy for Visual Arts and the Ensemble Klang were working together on a so-called ‘Mixed Media Opera’.

From November on the creators met weekly to give shape to the theme: ‘the relationship between man and nature’.

Germán, one of the composers felt like there was a good connection in the group:

‘Things came naturally, we had to understand that we didn’t have to push anything, and give everyone space to do what they could do best’

One of the biggest challenges was, that the visual artists wanted to get inspired by the music. They had to wait for the composers to finish their notes and work with an electronic representation of the pieces.

According to Germán everything started to come together in the last three weeks. In the beginning this was still a bit difficult. The 14 students split up in four smaller groups during the writing process. This led to four completely different scenes. That was where the director came in, and together they were able to create a whole out of it.

The theme of this spring festival is ‘collaboration’. This project is THE example of collaborating composers. You are not only working together with the artists of your team, but also with the other composers, the director and the ensemble.

Germán: ‘You care for the whole thing, not just for your own music’

And that’s maybe how so many people can work together. They are all striving towards the same goal: An amazing performance.

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Technology is a football, the concert is a cake

Mar 30, 2019

On the first day of the spring festival there will be a very special concert (as on all the other days as well of course).

The composition department invited Nicolas Collins to fill an evening with his music.

He was happy to do so, made a program which will be performed by students of the composition department.

Nicolas selected four pieces, for this concert. In the selection process he was mostly concerned with one thing: It had to make use of the students as performers as much as possible. He is interested in what happens if performers are working together, he wants to challenge performers by putting them into situations in which they don’t exactly know what is going to happen so that they have to creatively react on a short notice.

‘If you perform a piece you can really figure out how that stuff has been made’

Nicolas collins at the rehearsal of ‘Roomtone Variations’

All of the pieces that Nicolas selected for this concert make use of electronics:

Students working on Nicolas’ piece

“My interest in technology is not so much that I want it to create new sounds, but at home we always called it a football. If you put 6 kids that don’t know each other in a playground and you put a football in the middle you have instant interaction, but if you don’t and they have to talk to each other it Is complicated. So, I tend to use technology more for organizational purposes then for it’s purely sonic ones.

I love to take risks, which means that occasionally stuff doesn’t work correctly. I want to perform proper experiments on stage. Neither the performers, the audience, or the composer knows what is actually going to happen, but as with a good cake recipe, you’re so happy when it comes out of the oven right!”

Blogpost by Eva Beunk

Pictures by Wilson Leywantono and Yannis Kyriakides

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Spring Festival 2019 Countdown

Mar 18, 2019

Are you ready!? In two weeks the 52nd  Spring Festival at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague begins!

Between the 1st and the 6th of April, there will be a diverse range of captivating music from the Composition students, along with performances from ensembles and solo artists including the Nieuw Ensemble, Ensemble Klang and the New European Ensemble.

Events will take place in the Conservatoire’s Arnold Schönbergzaal, the Korzo Theater and other spaces in and around the Conservatoire.

One of the themes of this year’s festival is collaboration. Throughout the week you will witness works by students of the composition department which have been worked on with Ensemble Klang and the KABK, as well as the vocal, classical, early music and the dance departments in the Conservatoire.

Over the next two weeks, we will keep you posted on all the ins and outs of the preparations, rehearsals, program, musicians, audiences, concerts and lots more!


Blog post by Eva Beunk, Patrick Ellis and Amba Klapwijk

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Reflections from an Audience Member

Apr 05, 2019

During the interval of Tuesday afternoon’s concert (Sara Zamboni’s / Microtonal Pianos), we had a brief chat with Hup, who you might know from visiting many concerts of the composition department.

When talking to him, we found out that he had begun attending the Spring Festival four years ago.

He noted that this year’s festival includes works by composers outside of the department (notably Nicholas Collins and Arnold Schoenberg), which for him changed the mood of the festival.

What makes Hup come back to the Spring Festival is the diversity of music, which caters for his own need to be surprised. He admires that the music is ‘sincere and people have to do it’, which makes it interesting. He likes that the students’ music has a ‘sense of urgency’.

Blog post by Patrick Ellis and Eva Beunk

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