Author: Allison Smith
Title: "Louis Andriessen: The Musical Egalitarian"

Louis Andriessen (b. 1939) is arguably the most prolific Dutch composer of all time. In the 1960s and 1970s, Andriessen began to develop his modern style in the hype of the cultural revolutions going on in Amsterdam; these cultural revolutions parallel those found in the United States. A highly politicized musical style in which he wrote in the '60s and '70s is still prevalent in his music today, although Andriessen, in his words, has now become the Dutch "establishment" as opposed to the counter-culture. Aspects of this style include but are not limited to: non-traditional instrumentation, minimalistic dynamics, highly political operatic topics, mixing several popular genres of past decades (jazz, maximalism, Baroque, among others), and challenging the audience to be involved in performances due to the intellectual nature of his works. The inclusion of non-traditional instrumentation and audience participation is indicative of Andriessen's philosophy of embracing clash and, more importantly, socialistic egalitarianism; this idea was in its developing stages in Amsterdam's political spectrum during the '60s and '70s when Andriessen was developing his mature style. His use of minimalist dynamics and combining music from other cultures is directly related to his philosophy of using music as a universal tool of unity and as a tool to promote social and musical egalitarianism. Minimalism is an American genre and Andriessen employs it as an inconspicuous backdrop to his more modern, and typically, dissonant musical foreground. Yet another constant influence on his composition is Igor Stravinsky whose musical philosophy closely paralleled that of Andreissen's -- Stravinsky also employs music from other cultures, believed in egalitarianism, and wrote music rich with stylistic diversity. This paper seeks to present Andriessen as both a political and philosophical egalitarian seeking to intellectually challenge and unify his audiences and performers.