Words & Music: Samuel Beckett, 2e festival day

Festival with dramatic monologues, tranquil music, moving concerts, interdisciplinary theater, installations and more.

What is the word (piano and voice)
Diese Freiheit - commissioned by Asko|Schönberg*)
Roundelay - commissioned by Asko|Schönberg*)


For Samuel Beckett


Zamenhof project, Breaking the Codes**)

*)  supported by Performing Arts Fund NL
**) production Stichting Gaudeamus Muziekweek, supported by Performing Arts Fund NL

Ensemble Academie
conductor Manoj Kamps
piano Reinbert de Leeuw
voice Gerrie de Vries
actors, dancers, live electronics, video-artist


Order tickets for:

Sunday, 12 January 2020
17:00 hours
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ


A 2-day (11 + 12 january) festival featuring dramatic monologues, hushed music, compelling concerts, interdisciplinary theatre, installations and more in every corner of the building.

Samuel Beckett was a literary genius, the author of tragicomic stage plays, verse and novels. But he was also an icon of absurdism and a writer of poems stripped to the bone. Although a great lover of music, he rarely worked with composers. With one exception, that is: the American Morton Feldman, who like Beckett, was a radically nonconformist artistic personality with a unique œuvre. Beckett’s words and Feldman’s music run through Words & Music, the festival where a different world appears behind every door, like a golden thread.

The second day of Words & Music: Samuel Beckett features a multifaceted programme.
For Samuel Beckett was composed specially for Asko|Schönberg. The festival would certainly not be the same without this work, dedicated by Feldman to Beckett. The compositions of György Kurtág, Klaas de Vries and Jan van de Putte are all very intimate. Kurtág’s What is the Word is based on Beckett’s poem of the same name in which the main character has lost the ability to speak and tries to recover it. Reinbert de Leeuw and Gerrie de Vries take the audience along in a theatrical performance examining the relationship between word and music. Klaas de Vries and Jan van de Putte are creating a new work for the festival.
The production entitled Zamenhof Project, Breaking the Codes draws inspiration from the life and ideas of Ludwik Zamenhof, the inventor of the universal language Esperanto and a promoter of world peace. Like Beckett, Zamenhof was first and foremost a citizen of the world. This event focusing on language and communication fully integrates music and visual elements such as theatre, contemporary dance, installation, video, set design, costumes and lighting. The concept and music are by the young composer Jerzy Bielski (b. 1984). Having garnered popular and critical acclaim, his work is unconventional, limitless and by design impossible to pigeonhole. Featuring an international cast, the production blends concert, theatre, dance, visual arts and readings. 

See the programme of 11 January.

On both days, Dick Raaijmakers’s installation Shhh! can be viewed in the Atrium afterwards.
Shhh! is based on a tape recording of Samuel Beckett’s film Film. In Film, Beckett used the sounds of falls and blows from a Laurel and Hardy film. Because the visual images are missing in Shhh!, the sounds of falling, heard in stereo at the highest volume, are totally unexpected. A slide projector on a tripod like a telescope projects a slowly drifting yellow moon on to a deep-blue night-time background. The moon moves as a result of the performer trying to manoeuvre the ponderous projector fluidly through the space. Over time, though, the signs of ruthless fatigue become apparent.