"As an artist, I have been interested in silence since 2006. In that year, I both graduated from the Rietveld Academy and had terrible neighbours. In desperation I sent them a letter in which I asked them to pay rent for that part of my house that they occupied with their noise. Of course they didn't respond but I did discover what art could be and what it meant to be an artist.
My first reaction when the Concertzender asked me to produce an art work for the radio was hesitant. What did I know about classical music?
But one of my heroes is the American composer John Cage who once said: "If you listen to Beethoven, it’s always the same, but if you listen to traffic, it’s always different." So I started digging into my memories to see whether I really didn't have any that were concerned with classical music, and almost immediately I found myself standing in my father's shed. I remember that while he worked there, making things out of wood, he was always listening to Bach and Haydn, and sometimes he even whistled along within the music. Wim Janssen from the Rijksacademie did the same thing. In homage to Wim, you can listen to my father at work in the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, with thanks to Stephan, Els and Wim. You then enter my second memory.
I have an uncle who has a secret love of organ music. The story goes that whenever he visted a church that was new to him he would ask if he could play the organ. Is it really true? I don't know for sure, but in memory of my uncle I have asked Ton Donders to play the Vater Müller orgel (from 1724) in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, an organ that he has never played before. This work is actually also inspired by the need for experimentation and practice, something that every artist has a love-hate relationship with… Even though Ton is very experienced, this is an enormous organ and has the reputation of being one of the most difficult and demanding to play. This is made worse by the fact that the organ, despite looking and sounding magnificent to a novice like me, is actually in desperate need of maintenance. The Oude Kerk is currently investigating the possibilities for renovation. And if you listen very carefully you can also hear a Christmas carol.
To finish, you can listen to Aart Staartjes reading one of the Christmas stories that I was so obsessed by as a child that I still listened to them in January and sometimes even at Easter."
Sarah van Sonsbeeck
For complete information see the programme guide.