silence #34: 40 ways of being

4 March 2022

On 4 March, a few days before International Women’s Day, the Oude Kerk will present music by two young, female composers: Andrea Guterres and Wilma Pistorius. This year the duo is working on the composition series 40 Ways of Being (a Woman), of which Part One will premiere on 4 March during a performance by singer Viola Blache and organists Elisabeth Hubmann and Jacob Lekkerkerker.

the musicians
Andrea Guterres (b. Sydney, 1991) earned a Master’s degree in composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of the Arts in 2020. She writes electro-acoustic compositions, performances, sound installations and multimedia compositions. Her work has been performed at the MUSLAB Festival in Mexico City, Tilde New Music Festival in Melbourne, Bushwick Open Studios in New York City, Ars Electronica Forum in Wallis, Klangraum in Krems and at An Evening of Today at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam. It was Andrea Guterres who initiated the project 40 Ways of Being (a Woman), in which three female musicians address the subject of being a woman in today’s world in a series of concerts. Together with composer Wilma Pistorius (b. 1991, Belville, South Africa) and Viola Blache (b. Leipzig, 1993), Guterres is working towards the premiere of the complete series of compositions, which will take place at Het Orgelpark in Amsterdam in the autumn of 2022. By mixing old and new aesthetics – the classical organ and electronics – and classical literary themes and current topics, she is creating a new musical language. 40 Ways of Being (a Woman) connects historical perspectives on gender with the urgency to transcend binary terms and to think beyond patterns of objectification and classification, gender and sexuality.

music in oude kerk
The Oude Kerk is not only the oldest building in Amsterdam,it is also the oldest music temple in the city. It is a place wheremusical traditions have been created, passed on and renewedfor over 700 years. In the Saturday evening Monuments series,leading organists from the Netherlands and abroad play musicby composers in whose oeuvre the organ occupies a centralposition. Playing the Cathedral is a residency programme inwhich nationally and internationally renowned musicians areinvited to create new work especially for the church space. In the Oude Kerk, you get to hear well-known masterpieces in new ways and pioneering works performed by living legends.


Wilma Pistorius          Moon Suite, cello solo
Andrea Guterres        Crime and Punishment, performed by the Blink Quartet
Andrea Guterres        40 Ways of Being (a Woman) (premiere) – Part One
Blink Quartet              Improvisation

This concert is made possible by the Performing Arts Fund NL. The composition process of 40 Ways of Being (a Woman) is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.

Her wings are cut and then she is blamed for not knowing how to fly
― Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here forever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves

The exhibition The Fall by Susan Philipsz engaged me deeply in thoughts of sound and space. The expression of the unpolished female voice, locally in the silos, and in fusion with the acoustic space; combined with the rebirth of Sweelinck, a man who worked here for 40 years. A melody about the transience of existence, ‘Mein junges Leben hat ein End’. It inspires me to write the first part of 40 Ways of Being (a Woman) for this space, at this moment in time.
― Andrea Guterres

Andrea Guterres. Foto: Celia Zwart