Composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven is most known by the remarkable projects he creates, connecting styles, cultures but first of all people. Twaalfhovens intention is to bridge worlds of contrast, and to mix unusual elements to a new unity. In his TEDxAmsterdam talk, he suggests that art needs to be reconnected to society to open the art world for new audiences.
Or as he says on his own website,
“‘Strictly speaking, I am not interested in adding more and more new art to the existing arsenal, but want to investigate ways to refine the perception of the visitor and open their senses. I think contemporary, innovative art should be placed in the great open world and not only in the laboratory – or museum-like environment of theaters, concert rooms and cultural institutions. By taking art out of its setting of the existing expectations and behavior patterns of the audience, I would like them to look at experience at hand in a new and refreshed way. I do not wish to mark art by its boundaries, but instead melt it with commonplace matters and the space around it.”‘
Examples of his work are the musical piece for which he took “bridging the gap” literal and positioned 400 musicians on rooftops on both the Greek and Turkish side of the buffer zone in Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus. Last year, Merlijn worked in Jordan and Palestine, combining the Amman Symphony Orchestra with Palestinian refugee children, created a musical bridge across the separation wall in the Occupied Territories and organized a hidden festival in the Old City of Jerusalem where cultural diversity could be celebrated by the local people.
Links and reports
- More info on his website: www.twaalfhoven.net
- NOS Journaal op 3 News item in Dutch public broadcaster’s evening news show, with Merlijn Twaalfhoven as special guest: item TEDxAmsterdam starts on 4′04 (in Dutch)
- NRC Opinie organised an online discussion on the theme of Merlijn’s talk (in Dutch)
- Worldfocus: interview with Merlijn Twaalfhoven on his Jerusalem project (in English)
and as a bonus, the video of Joshua Bell playing in the metro, as referenced by Merlijn in his talk.