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Emergence in minimalism

Although Simeon ten Holt’s music is often categorized under the Minimal Music banner, the question is whether this characterization captures the true nature of his composing talent. Although the minimalist inspiration is undoubtedly present in all of his piano compositions, the distinctive feature is not so much the rhythmic and tonal structure which is so typical for this style, but much more the evolutionary space which his music actually creates for the players performing his music.

Simeon’s compositions are not just single works, but rather a collection of an infinite number of compositions, all hidden in a single written code. Like a multitude of images hidden in a holographic photographic image, the script outlines a solution space in which actual shape and form will develop in time towards its full extent and depth. Every performance is therefore unique, yet recognizable as a part of the larger collection. Like life itself, it emerges and takes shape in a complex interaction between the genotypes as a code in the score and the context of performers and audience. This evolutionary and interactive characteristic distinguishes the music from the mainstream minimal music and gives it a special position within this type of compositions. Whereas the minimal music is essentially a modernist, constructive style, Simeon’s music is better characterized as post-modernist and organic in nature.

The success of this music might be explained with this characteristic in mind, as it connects with audiences on an emotional level, taking them on a, every time unique, journey through a musical space. Adventurous but not unsafe, challenging but not beyond the stretch limit, uncharted but not random.


Ton van Asseldonk
Simeon ten Holt Foundation