MicroFest Amsterdam 2019

Festival | December 1, 2019 - 11.00-21.30 hours | Small Hall, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam

MicroFest Amsterdam 2019

In November of this year the Huygens-Fokker Foundation organizes for the third time a microtonal festival in The Netherlands, under the title MicroFest Amsterdam 2019. A festival for many enthusiastic listeners and people interested in music based on unconventional tunings and other divisions of the octave. Music that, like the famous American composer Charles Ives put it, consists of ‘the tones between the keys of the piano’. These microtones, tunings or divisions of the octave are leading to completely new musical and tonal possibilities, a source of fresh sounds that forever expands the ear of the listener and the thinking about music. Enough reasons to visit this one-day festival for microtonal music.
(Sander Germanus, artistic director)









Programma MicroFest

Concert 1 | 11.00 - 12.00 hours | Contrasten

Vokalprojekt 31 starts off with the opening concert of the MicroFest Amsterdam 2019, a one-day festival for microtonal music, by performing a resplendent program which focuses on 31-tone music for vocals from 1950 to the present. The ability of the human voice to sing microtones is demonstrated in various compositions by Vokalprojekt 31, which will be accompanied by the Fokker organ. The title of the concert, 'Contrasten', refers to a work by Henk Badings from 1952, composed for an a cappella choir (four-part) in the 31-tone tuning, that will be performed this morning. During the concert, work composed by Frans van Doorn will also be sung. Van Doorn was Professor Adriaan Fokker's assistant at the time that the 31-tone organ was still in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. In addition, there are some parts from 'Vierstemminge Intonatie-Oefeningen' (four-part intonation excercises) by the Dutch composer Jan van Dijk, who has composed several works in the 31-tone tuning and, together with Fokker, has written an article about the musical experiences with the genera musica of Leonhard Euler and especially with the seventh harmonic overtone. This morning, the harmonious and ingenious 'Aphoristic Madrigal' of composer Fabio Costa will sound again, a work that illustrates the use of overtones in music perfectly.

Vokalprojekt 31: Valeria Mignaco (soprano), Alfrun Schmid (mezzo soprano/alto), Daan Verlaan (tenor) en Erks Jan Dekker (baritone).

The accompaniment of this special project will be done by the regular Fokker organist Ere Lievonen.



Henk Badings - excerpts from 'Contrasten' (1952)
- Serenade
- Geestelijk lied
- Elegie

Adriaan Fokker - Kabbelende diëzegolven (1971)

Jan van Dijk - Vierstemmige intonatie-oefeningen (1954?)

Anton de Beer - Onderbroken koraal (1975?)

Frans van Doorn - Pater Noster (op. 70)

Bill Coates - Reflections (Septimal Melody no. 1)

Fabio Costa - Aphoristic Madrigal (2015)


Concert 2 | 13.30 - 14.15 hours | Clarinets in Space   (free entrance)

- - - More information later - - -


Rozalie Hirs - Article 7 [seven ways to climb a mountain] (2012)

Cecilia Arditto - Life on Mars (2016)

Sander Germanus - Spacewalk (2016-2017)

Clarinets in Space:
Denise van Leeuwen, Bb clarinet
Michel Marang, A clarinet
Fie Schouten, basse thorn
Bram Boesschen Hospers, bass clarinet

Roadrunner Trio:
Michel Marang, clarinet
Antonis Pratsinakis, cello
Erica Roozendaal, accordion

Fie Schouten, solo bass clarinet

Concert 3 | 15.00 - 16.00 hours | Harry Partch - Lecture 1942

Scordatura Ensemble will give a lecture-performance about the microtonal music and rare instruments of the famous American composer Harry Partch. Using a few precise copies of his instruments, the musicians talk about their findings over the years. Afterwards there will be a short concert with ofcourse work by Partch. Ever since it was founded in 2006 by musicologist Bob Gilmore (1961-2015), Scordatura Ensemble has performed adventurous music from a series of contemporary composers who are mainly concerned with new tunings and microtonality to enrich the harmonic means of music. The basic occupation of voice, viola and keyboard is often extended with other instruments, depending on the musical context. In addition to "classics" from the microtonal repertoire, Scordatura mainly plays new works written especially for them, often with theatrical aspects, video, dance or multimedia art. This afternoon they show their specialism with the performance of several works by Harry Partch. A rare opportunity not to be missed!

Scordatura: Chris Rainier, voice & adapted guitars | Alfrun Schmid, voice & harmonic canon | Elisabeth Smalt, adapted viola & diamond marimba



Letter from Hobo Pablo (1943)

Progressions Within One Octave (1942)

Dark Brother (1942)

San Francisco: A Setting of the Cries of Two Newsboys on a Street Corner (1943)

Psalms: The Lord is my shepherd, By the Rivers of Babylon (1932-1943)

From the Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po: A Dream, I am a Peach Tree (1932-1933)

a selection from: Barstow—Eight Hitchhikers' Inscriptions (Version C 1943)


Concert 4 | 16.30 - 17.15 hours | lecture recital by Georg Vogel   (free entrance)

Georg Vogel about the presentation and the instrument he built: "This is a presentation of music in 31-EDO on the M-Claviton, a split sharps 31-tone keyboard. It features pieces of the recent solo album and new works consisting of expanded tetrachord based diatonicism, multiple twelve note selections, chord based harmonies with enharmonically changed intonations and various frames for improvisation in 31 equal temperament as well as an overview of the instrument and its keyboard layout."


Utes Reges Mides, Feddy Föhl, Ferry Fahrsept, en-zug & Lill (by Georg Vogel)

Concert 5 | 20.15 - 21.30 hours | The evening of the Microtone

To top it all off, Ensemble SCALA closes the festival with the concert 'The Evening of the Microtone', in which the many facets of microtonality will come to the fore. Microtonal music in all kinds of styles, from modern classical to more pop-oriented. In general, the term "microtonal" says nothing about the style of music. Microtonality only indicates one of the elements with which a musical structure can be made. So it says nothing about the form, style or expression of a composition. And therefore it depends on how microtones are incorporated in music whether the result will appeal to the audience or not. The composers that will be heard this evening all have a completely different approach to microtonal music. The program includes a premiere by Julia Werntz of the Boston Microtonal Society and several microtonal works from the repertoire of Ensemble SCALA that has been built up over the past nine years. In other words, a colorful evening full of microtones!

Ensemble SCALA is an ensemble for microtonal music in the Netherlands initiated by the Huygens-Fokker Foundation (centre for microtonal music) in 2010. Remarkable is that the unique Fokker organ is part of this ensemble. The musicians are all specialists in the field of contemporary music, who jointly explore the colorful borders of microtonality. Over the past five years, the ensemble has built up a broad repertoire of works by composers from The Netherlands and abroad, composed many different musical styles. With unconventional tunings as focal point, Ensemble SCALA focuses on the growing interest of composers worldwide in microtones as a new way to express themselves artistically.

Ensemble SCALA: Raymond Honing (flute), Michel Marang (clarinet), Manuel Visser (viola), Stefan Gerritsen (31-tone guitar), Ivan Pavlov (Carrillo-piano/keyboards), Ere Lievonen (Fokker organ) en Mervyn Groot (percussion).



Juhani Nuorvala - Marche fune`bre trice´simoprimale (2017)

Piet-Jan van Rossum - Adelwarths Schmetterlingsfänger (2019) premiere

Joachim F.W. Schneider - Drei Gassenhauer (2019)

Sebastian Dumitrescu - Ancient Wisdom (2019)

Cecilia Arditto - Musica invisible para flauta (2003)

Julia Werntz - Scala Obscura (2019) premiere

Matthias Kadar - ‘Hangszon’ (2018)

Melle Weijters - Improspectrum (2019)




Single concerts are 13,50 euros, a passe-partout for the entire festival costs 33 euros. >>>

Reduction tickets (Stadspas, CJP, 65+) for single concerts are 11 euros.

Tickets can be reserved at the Muziekgebouw.


Tip: restaurants in the neighborhood

There are several restaurants in the neighborhood of the Small Hall to eat lunch or have diner, like the grand café 4'33, on the ground floor of in the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. At the Oosterdokskade in the public library (OBA) there are two restaurants, La Place on the top floor and Vapiano on the ground floor.







Financial support

This concert is made possible by the support of:

Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Amsterdam Community (District East) and Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.

Also the SNS REAAL Fonds (renovation Fokker organ) and the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ.

A donation of the Nederlands Akoestisch Genootschap and a shared contribution of six reputable consultancy offices, namely Cauberg-Huygen, DGMR, LBP|SIGHT, M+P, Peutz and Wijnia-Noorman-Partners (WNP) made it possible for Huygens-Fokker to purchase the Carrillo-piano