The wind works of Louis Andriessen: A history and comparative analysis

Research output: ThesisNon-UWA Thesis


Louis Andriessen is the most important composer from the Dutch school of the late twentieth century, if not arguably the most important western art music composer from the Netherlands itself. He took a pioneering role in European minimalism, while also shunning the traditional orchestra and string based ensembles. Given his small catalogue of works for traditional orchestra, many of his major works have had limited performances. This is disappointing, especially since pieces such as De Staat are considered cornerstone works in the post-modernist period. Andriessen wrote many of his wind pieces for Orkest de Volharding, an ensemble whose instrumentation can be most easily described as a modified jazz band. Given that musicologists consider many major composers' catalogue of wind music ancillary, this document aims to show Andriessen's Orkest de Volharding works are representative of his oeuvre.
To demonstrate this, I will trace the major compositional traits of the composer within these pieces, namely: the influence of Bach and Stravinsky, minimalism, jazz, quotations, and classicism. The opening chapters outline the historical developments leading to the founding of Orkest de Volharding and discuss each of the aforementioned compositional traits of Andriessen. A comparative analysis of five of Andriessen's works for Orkest de Volharding follows this introduction: On Jimmy Yancey (1973), De Stijl (1984--5), M is for Man, Music, Mozart (1991), Passeggiata in Tram in America e Ritorno (1998), and RUTTMANN Opus II, III, IV (2003). For each work, a formal analysis will illuminate the characteristic compositional style of Andriessen. I hope this document will lead to further interest and increased performances of these pieces.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of South Carolina
  • Weiss, Scott, Supervisor, External person
Award date7 May 2016
Place of PublicationAnn Arbor
Print ISBNs9781339850177
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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