In the autumn of 2022, a selection of Rotterdam's cultural institutions will be devoting ample attention to composer and writer Willem Pijper (1894-1947), who is regarded as one of the founders of modernism in Rotterdam. With special performances, discussions, publications, archive material and an exhibition, Willem Pijper will be returned to the city that had almost forgotten him - and to which he made such an important contribution.
In the 1930s, he ensured that Rotterdam was in step with international modernist trends and stimulated modern dance by appointing Corrie Hartong as director of the Dance School. Pijper and Hartong are therefore considered, respectively, as the founders of modern music and modern dance in Rotterdam.
Since 1917, Willem Pijper has been an integral part of Dutch musical life. His symphonic works were played - with the ink barely dry - by all the major orchestras in the Netherlands, and his chamber music was already on the desks in Berlin, Vienna, Prague, London and Paris in the early 1920s. As a critic, from the age of 22, he wrote razor-sharp reviews and well-wrought essays. For a whole generation of young musicians, Pijper was a beacon - he was a born teacher - and for the general public, he was the representative of the new music. Pijper's status in the Rotterdam of the thirties is shown by the fact that at the opening of the Museum Boymans in 1935, his opera Halewijn was performed in a new setting.
Rotterdam was, even before the post-war reconstruction, a very modern city by Dutch standards. Willem Pijper made an essential contribution to this. With the manifestation "In the light of eternity: Willem Pijper, modernist in Rotterdam", this autumn contemporary Rotterdam will renew its acquaintance with the man, his work, his time and his significance for the city.
Participating institutions are de Doelen, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Chabot Museum, WORM, Woordnacht festival, DIG IT UP, Codarts, the Rotterdams Jaarboekje and the Batavierhuis. Programs take place between September and December 2022.