Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2009
On June 1, 2005, the Holland Festival – now in its fifty-eighth year – opened with music featuring Rob Zuidam's Fanfare, Andriessen's De Tijd and Racconto dell'Inferno, and Tôru Takemitsu's In Autumn Garden in the Concertgebouw's main hall. The evening featuring three hours of contemporary music began with the audience saluting Queen Beatrix, whose unfailing presence at such events serves as a testament to the Netherlands' longstanding commitment to the arts. Almost eighty years since Willem Pijper bemoaned the country's lack of interest in “homegrown” music (chapter 1), contemporary music in Amsterdam seems to be flourishing more than ever: a new concert hall was built overlooking the harbor IJ in the center of the city, new operas are being commissioned every year, and public broadcasting includes frequent interviews with living composers and retrospective documentaries on composers and novelists who took part in the legendary “protest” activities circa 1969.
Indeed, the current landscape of new music in the Netherlands encompasses a remarkably diverse range of musical styles. Michel van der Aa represents the new generation of the Hague school, with the complex tapestry of fragmentary sounds he explores in multimedia works such as the Here trilogy (2000–03). Then there is the fluid, heterophonic sound world of Zuidam, whose new opera Rage d'Amours, featured in the Holland Festival, was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2003.