aaa festival

the fifties
11 Oct 2013

Location: Teijin auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Time: October 11, 2013, 4:00 pm – 5:45 pm
Language: Dutch 
Entrance: Entrance price to the Stedelijk Museum + € 2.50 
Reservations: It is necessary to make a reservation. Send an e-mail to, stating your full name, e-mail address, telephone number, and the date of the program you want to attend. 

The Stedelijk Museum – in collaboration with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and other partners – proudly presents the next program in the stedelijk|aaa-festival series “Confrontations.” On this afternoon, the theme of “The Fifties” is explored by various speakers and musicians, including Anna Tilroe (art critic), Jonas Staal (artist), and Rob Zuidam (composer). 

In 1949, the French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote an experimental piano piece less than four minutes long. This was a great source of inspiration for the young generation of composers. Its rational organization was the complete opposite of the free and vital work of the CoBrA artists and the poetry of artists in the 1950s. However, there are also clear similarities: the extreme break with tradition and the desire for a new language. The freedom went hand in hand with an often compelling ideology. Did the modernist developments in these years have any influence on the current generation of artists and composers? 

In “Confrontations,” art critic and Raboud University professor emeritus of art and culture Anna Tilroe looks back at the fifties and gives a short visual presentation. With artist Jonas Staal, known for The Geert Wilders works and his pamphlet “Art in defense of democracy,” we arrive at the crossover point between politics, culture, and ideology. Is there a sense of ideological nostalgia in our current dislocated age? And what doesthe hard ideological struggle mean for composer Rob Zuidam 60 years later?

In addition to the famous piano piece by Messiaen, a work by Ton de Leeuw will be performed, who studied with Messiaen and was to leave his mark on the conservatory in Amsterdam from 1959 to 1987. In his work Two pieces, the young Peter Schat was inspired by Kees van Baaren’s Septet (which will be performed on Saturday). It reflects his search into the tremendous new possibilities of an entirely fresh approach.