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De Materie | ICE at the Park Avenue Armory

  • Park Avenue Armory | Wade Thomson Drill Hall 643 Park Ave New York, NY, 10065 United States (map)

“Epic … an unclassifiable hybrid of theatre, narration, singing,
instrumental music and philosophical reflection … [with] absolutely compelling materiality”
 — The Guardian (UK)

Louis Andriessen is one of Europe’s most eminent and influential composers, whose music is marked by the combination of forward propulsion, sparseness, and clarity from large blocks of sound to minimalism. But there is nothing minimal about De Materie, starting with its all-encompassing theme: the relationship between matter and spirit. Like four voluminous chapters of a book or movements of a symphony, this exceptional music theater masterwork is better thought of as a series of visions, as much choreographic as it is operatic.

Visionary director Heiner Goebbels stages this monumental work in a highly-imaginative production that infuses the work’s journey through a sequence of non-narrative tableaus with stunning visual imagery to help convey its meaning, with references to Mondrian and Madame Curie as well as floating zeppelins and a flock of sheep. The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) under the direction of Peter Rundel takes on the sonically varied score, which serves as its own journey through eras and styles of music history from early Renaissance, to the jazz-tinged roaring 20s, to contemporary music of today. The vastness of the Wade Thompson Drill Hall is the perfect setting to fully realize this rarely-performed work, which premiered more than 25 years ago and only now makes its highly-anticipated North American stage premiere.

Composer: Louis Andriessen
Director: Heiner Goebbels
Stage and Lighting Designer: Klaus Gruenberg
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)
Conductor: Peter Rundel

A production of the Ruhrtriennale – Festival of the Arts.
Adapted by Park Avenue Armory.



De Materie is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image: Wonge Bergmann.

ICE’s 2015-16 performances and commissioning activities are made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, French American Cultural Exchange (FACE Foundation), the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Family Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New Music USA, The Amphion Foundation, The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, The Concinnity Fund, The Casement Fund, the BMI Foundation, the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research at the Eastman School of Music, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.