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Zuidam, Robertlocked

  • Frans van Rossum

Extract

(b Gouda, Sept 23, 1964). Dutch composer. He studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Philippe Boesmans and Klaas de Vries, and in Tanglewood with Knussen and Foss. In 1989 he won the Koussevitzky Composition Prize with Fishbone, which launched his international career. While being trained as a classical pianist, he played the guitar in punk bands, and his chameleon-like musical output reflects a natural affinity with the complex compositional procedures of serious music and the simple directness of rock music. Though Zuidam uses a multiplicity of genres and styles, both Western and non-Western, he alludes to his models rather than borrowing from them literally. In his music, which is vigorous and entertaining, rhythm plays a paramount role because ‘it forges the link between reason and emotion’. The communicative simplicity and formal transparency of his music stems from a desire for clear musical argument but involves elaborate transformational techniques. These facilitate the music’s change of perspective by shifting quickly but smoothly between disparate elements and emotions. Zuidam’s talents for twisting the obvious and predictable are considerable. In a way, his music reflects on ordinary perceptions. It is a critique in disguise, seriously humorous and biting, even as it pretends to be sentimental or downright vulgar. His opera ...

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