Asko|Schönberg and BredaPhoto present the premiere of Islands
New work by composer Richard Ayres in collaboration with artist duo Nest
Welcome to Islands: the marvellous island domain of composer Richard Ayres and the artistic duo Nest. Together, they expose the culture and nature of a number of imaginary islands for your delectation.
They will present the spectacular result in a concert featuring the top-class pioneering musicians of Asko|Schönberg. Islands is a surprising combination of live acoustic music, electronics and a major theatrical installation tying together expressive art, photography, performance and video.
Islands is Ayres from top to toe: outrageously fantastical, humorous, eclectic, obstinate and kaleidoscopic. On his journey with Islands, the composer was brought down to earth by uncertain reality. As a result, his islands sometimes border on the absurd, harshly realistic, melancholic and burlesque.
The artistic duo Nest (mother Wiesje Peels and daughter Trijntje Keijser) have developed their own image of his islands at the invitation of BredaPhoto and in close collaboration with Ayres himself. They do this in their own characteristically familiar DIY style, where they build on their own strong visual world, meshing it seamlessly with Richard Ayres’s work.
Islands started off as an idea for a sort of do-it-yourself kit to construct your own dream island; smart and inspirational in times of global uncertainty. The notion was inspired by the book The Atlas of Remote Islands by German author Judith Schalansky and the memories of his childhood that this reawakened in Richard Ayres. Growing up by the Atlantic coast, he spent childhood nights zooming across the seven seas with his bed as an imaginary boat. Creating all sorts of non-existent islands was part of the composer’s thought-experiment, prompted in times of the Corona pandemic and climate crisis: ‘Perhaps, I thought, the ancient art of dreaming or imagining might be the future of travel if our planet is to survive. An interesting thought-experiment.’
Richard Ayres & Asko|Schönberg
In 2018, Asko|Schönberg played the jointly commissioned The Garden both live and in a special online version inspired by the pandemic, which was recorded in the Dutch bulb fields. ‘One of the best things ever in my life,’ was how Richard described this. The Garden represents an absurdist and eclectic road trip, effortlessly combining Purcell with ‘Zappanese’ and the influences of electronic music.
Richard Ayres composer
Artist duo Nest: Wiesje Peels and Trijntje Keijser artworks and staging
Jurjen Hempel conductor
In cooperation with BredaPhoto and Nest.
Richard Ayres Islands is supported by Performing Arts Fund NL
Thursday 8 December 2022, Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, 20:15 – premiere
Saturday 1 April 2023, Rotterdam, De Doelen, 20:15
Information and tickets viawebsite Asko Schönberg.