Late breaking information



Holland Festival - George Crumb Symposium

Symposium by Holland Festival in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam
Kyle Gann - Steven Bruns - Margaret Leng Tan

Saturday 10th June 2017, 14:00 
Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16

The Holland Festival and the University of Amsterdam are organising a symposium on the composer in focus, George Crumb. The keynote speaker is the musicologist, journalist and composer Kyle Gann. He wrote reviews for The Village Voice and books about John Cage and other modern American composers. He calls himself a ‘real Crumb fanatic’, and will discuss Crumb’s work and its place in the American experimental tradition of radical innovators. Another speaker is professor Steven Bruns, a distinguished George Crumb scholar from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Margaret Leng Tan, Crumb’s muse on the piano, provides an intimate portrait of the composer supplemented with musical illustrations.

Photo: Yvonne Tan
Abstract Kyle Gann:
"George Crumb's Personal Crystallization of American Postmodern Trends"

The sudden appearance of George Crumb's Black Angels and Echoes of Time and the River shook the American music world in the early 1970s with the exotically idiosyncratic soundworld they created, and even more with the stunning originality of his music-engraving skills. So personal and delicate an idiom was destined to have a short-lived influence, yet Crumb survives as an emblem of the era partly because his music drew together so many new ideas, soon adopted by others, that were poised to grant some needed relief to the previous twelve-tone saturation: the ironic quotation of pre-modern musics, the illusion of timelessness, the extended instrumental techniques, the forthright acceptance of harmonic stasis. His reputation, which seemed at one point to plummet as precipitously as it had risen, is now stabilizing as his lifelong vision comes into better focus, allowing us to hear the deep and gentle musicality behind the exoticisms.

Abstract Steven Bruns:
"The Persistence of Memory in the Music of George Crumb"

Throughout his career, George Crumb’s music explores the mysteries of musical memory in compelling, often innovative ways. This lecture suggests a way of understanding Crumb by considering central aspects of his art: timbre and extended performance techniques; allusion and quotation; symbolic notation; and gestural, choreographic elements of musical performance. Examples are drawn from Crumb’s entire oeuvre, from his first fully characteristic work, Night Music I (1963), to his recent Metamorphoses, Book I (2017). The discussion incorporates excerpts from the published scores, recorded performances, and also the compositional sketches and drafts.