Asko|Schönberg, the leading music ensemble for new music in the Netherlands, will present the world premiere of Circus Schönberg
 at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown on 28 and 29 June. A show, a lecture, a performance, a conversation, the performers will introduce audiences to the exciting and diverse world of 20th century music.

Circus Schönberg’s David Kweksilber (clarinet) / Photo: Ada Nieuwendijk

Circus Schonberg's Pauline Post (piano)

Circus Schonberg’s Pauline Post (piano)

South African-born James Oesi (double bass) / Photo: Stamatis Xanthoulis

The Grammy-nominated Dutch chamber orchestra has performed all over the world – from New York to Melbourne. This will be Asko|Schönberg’s first visit to South Africa. While in Grahamstown, Asko|Schönberg will also present a workshop for students of the National Youth Jazz Festival.

‘More than a concert’

Under the guidance of ringmaster Justus Vriesen, the musicians of Asko|Schönberg will take the audience on a search for notes.

Can a note be wrong or right? The revolutionary composers of the Second Viennese School began the emancipation of the ‘wrong’ note from the claws of the ruling aesthetics in Western European classical music. Stravinsky, for example, exchanged these ‘good’ notes for notes that inflamed the gut. Dutch composer Andriessen pulled them from the heavens and shoved them in briny fat clay. Cage, on the other hand, screamed in silence and set the note free to be what it wanted to be. And to complete the circus, composer Ligeti created waves of panic with his army of extremist and radical notes.

The musicians coming to Grahamstown are Pauline Post (piano), David Kweksilber (saxophone/clarinet), James Oesi (double bass), Fedor Teunisse (percussion).

Asko|Schönberg is a visionary ensemble. Music from the 20th and 21st century is the ensemble’s passion – discovering new voices of exciting composers. Stimulating talent development and cherishing the rich history of the ensemble, Asko|Schönberg energises the classical music scene by commissioning and challenging composers. Innovation is key not only in relation to content, but also in relation to the way the ensemble presents work, rehearses, creates and thinks of the way an ensemble could look like in the future.

“We are persistently looking for new languages that communicate to new audiences and connect with other disciplines in arts and science to further investigate and discover new found lands and spaces.”

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