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WILL EISMA

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Will Eisma

Period

13-05-1929 - current

Genre

componist, contemporary classical music, electronic mucic and computer music, twelve-tone technique and serialism, viool

Online

Officiële website

Pseudonyms

William Feadler

Will Eisma

Will Eisma is a violinist with the Netherlands radio orchestras and establishes in addition a career as a soloist specialising in contemporary music. Eisma set up his own studio for electronic music. With other composer/instrumentalists from Hilversum, he found the electro-instrumental ensemble ICÉ, which performs many premieres. He also writes ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist, viool

Biography Will Eisma

Will Eisma is a violinist with the Netherlands radio orchestras and establishes in addition a career as a soloist specialising in contemporary music. Eisma set up his own studio for electronic music. With other composer/instrumentalists from Hilversum, he found the electro-instrumental ensemble ICÉ, which performs many premieres. He also writes much didactic music. “With regard to compositional technique, there is no experiment he shies from: serial, aleatoric, graphical. But not for the sake of experimentation itself. The focus is invariably directed toward the joy of performance, often concertante virtuosity. In addition, he creates a characteristic atmosphere, which has its roots in his years spent in Indonesia.”

1929 - 1945

Will Eisma (born May 13, 1929, in Sungailiat, Bangka, Indonesia) begins taking violin lessons at age 7, first from his father and later from an Indonesian teacher. His first compositions, for or including the violin, are written in a Japanese internment camp in Bandung.

1946 - 1952

Will Eisma studies the violin in The Netherlands at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Jewsey Wulf and Oskar Back. He receives composition lessons from George Stam and Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

Kees van Baaren

1955 - 1959

Eisma’s compositions have a rhythmically modern style, influenced by Béla Bartók and Igor Stravinsky, as for example in the 'Concertante Muziek' for orchestra (1957), the premiere of which is conducted by Eduard Flipse in 1959 in Rotterdam. In 1958, his 'Concertstuk' for violin and piano (1956) is awarded the Béla Bartók Prize (Bloomington, Indiana, USA).

Eduard Flipse

1959 - 1961

Through his contact with the Gaudeamus circle of composers in Bilthoven, Eisma leans increasingly toward serialism. He continues studying composition in Rome with Goffredo Petrassi. There he receives the Diploma di Studi Superiori di perfezionamento with 'Concerto per due violini' (1961).

1963 - 1965

The 'Sonatine' for flute (1959) wins the Visser Neerlandia Prize. Eisma develops a preference for graphic notation in scores. The score of 'Non-Lecture' (1965) is a drawing to be interpreted by a string or wind player (or combination of the two) as he or she sees fit.

1967 - 1970

Will Eisma turns more intensively toward electronic music. His first foray into the medium is 'Bth.3457' (1963), a piece created in the Gaudeamus studio in Bilthoven. Aleatory (chance) elements play an increasingly important role, for example in 'Hot Powdery Stones' (1968) for recorder solo and 'Gezang XXIII' (1970) for violin and percussion. His teachers in the Studio for Sonology in Utrecht are Gottfried Michael Koenig and Frits Weiland. There he creates 'Elaborated Relaxation' (1967), 'Stripped of Outer String Quotes' (1969) for violin and tape, 'Newsreel Sunday', 'Newsreel Tuesday' and 'Newsreel Saturday' (1969).

Gottfried Michael Koenig

1972

Eisma is invited to work in the electronic studio of the University of North Texas in Denton. 'Newsreel Sunday' (1969) receives Honorable Mention at the electronic music competition of the SIMC in Rome. This piece, which follows a series of works with only electronically generated sounds, blends electronic sounds with traditional instruments.

1973

Will Eisma sets up his own studio, Five Roses. He composes various pieces with and for ICÉ (Electro Instrumental Group) in which live electronics play a considerable role. Through this, his music becomes more spontaneous; the strict serialism of earlier works makes way for improvisational and aleatory elements.

1974

On the invitation of Joel Chadabe, Eisma works at the SUNY [State University of New York] Studio in Albany. Among the works he composes there are 'Moogly for Joel' and 'Wormstekige Appels' [Wormy Apples], both for four-track tape.

1976

Will Eisma is awarded the Cultural Prize of the City of Hilversum. Using the pseudonym William Feadler, he writes with Willy Reeser the violin method 'Haren op Snaren' [Hairs on Strings] for group instruction. He composes duos and trios for the method and makes a number of arrangements of various classical and folk melodies.

1977

Onno Mensink, curator of the music department of the Gemeente Museum in The Hague, asks Eisma to compose for the museum’s pelog gamelan. Eisma creates 'Liwung', for gamelan and tape.

1984

Paul Kuik devotes his doctoral thesis – 'De rol van de klankkleur in enkele na-oorlogse strijkkwartet-composities' [The role of timbre in several post-war compositions for string quartet, University of Amsterdam] – to Eisma’s composition 'Archipel' (1964).

1996 - 2000

Ensemble Gending performs compositions for gamelan by Will Eisma. The Japanese ensemble Marga Sari includes his gamelan piece 'Liwung' in its repertoire and performs it in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogya, Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. The ensemble asks him to compose for it, and Eisma complies with 'Uguisu', for pelog gamelan and tape, which is premiered in Tokyo in 2000.

Ensemble Gending

2004

The VPRO radio programme Cafe Sonore devotes a broadcast to Will Eisma in honour of his 75th birthday.

2005 - 2009

Reed quintet Calefax performs Eisma's 'Upstream' (2004) at the opening of Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam on May 1, 2005. In 2009, the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet premiers 'Lazulite' (2006) in that concert hall.

Aurelia Saxofoon Kwartet Calefax Rietkwintet

Discography Will Eisma

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Will Eisma

Audio/Video Will Eisma

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