Obituary: Leading Dutch Composer Louis Andriessen Dies, Aged 82

By Logan Martell

Boosey and Hawkes has announced the passing of Dutch composer and pianist Louis Andriessen, one of the leading figures in the world of contemporary music, on July 1, 2021.

Born in Utrecht on June 6, 1939, Andriessen came from a musical family, with his father being a professor, and later director, at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Studying with his father and Kees van Baaren until about the age of 22, Andriessen continued his studies in Milan and Berlin before returning to Amsterdam.

One of the founders of the avant-garde movement known as the Hague School, Andriessen was also a co-founder of the Studio voor Elektro-Instrumentale Muziek STEIM in Amsterdam, and helped other ensembles such as Orkest de Volharding and Hoketus, both of which are named after works of his. As a composer, he was recognized internationally and would receive commissions from orchestras such as San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic.

Recent works of Andriessen include “Mysteriën,which premiered with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Mariss Jansons, and “Agamemnon,” with the New York Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden. His final work is “May,” a tribute to Frans Bruggen which premiered at the Concertgebouw in 2020.

Among his distinctions, Andriessen received an honorary doctorate from Binghamton City University as well as the University of Amsterdam, the 1977 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, and held the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.