In January 1993, the Netherlands Royal Conservatory and the Municipal Museum of the Hague held an international symposium devoted to the comparative analysis of the creative works of two artists who have become twentieth-century symbols-composer Arnold Schoenberg and painter Wassily Kandinsky. The "synthetic" ideas of the artists were emphasized in the event, which highlighted the interaction of music and painting. The symposium was timed to occur with the celebration of the opening of 25 new studios and workshops for students of the electronic arts department and the Conservatory Music Theatre. The celebration also marked the opening of the international Academy of Light - with presentations by those whose work today embodies the spirit of the painting and music-synthesis of Kandinsky and Schoenberg.
Speakers included the following: from Holland: Frans Evers, Konrad Boehmer, Laurens v.d. Heijden, Hans Janssen, Job Ijzerman; from Germany: Albrecht Dumling, Klaus Kropfinder; from the United States: Reinhold Brinkmann, Kurt W.Forster; from Russia: Irina Vanechkina and Bulat Galeyev.
In the Art Gallery and hall, where Kandinsky's pictures are exhibited, the Conservatory students performed Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire". In the Conservatory's Great Hall, Schoenberg's monodrama "Die gluckliche Hand" was presented with the original stage set and light-musical synthesis elements. The author of this review showed two musical videotapes that highlighted Kandinsky's pictures. In addition, a videotape of the recent Moscow stage performance of "Der glebe Klang" by Kandinsky and A.Schnittke (with a drama ensemble headed by G.Matskyavichyus) was shown.
One evening the guests were given tours of the new electronic music studios in the Conservatory and of the most ancient and newest musical instruments in the Museum in the Hague. The place of honour in this exposition was occupied by the "Thermenvox," produced in the pre-war years in the United States by the company founded by compatriot Lev Termen. Meeting participants enjoyed a pleasant surprise when 97-yearold Termen himself, along with his daughter Natalia, performed several pieces on the Thermenvox. Termen took part in the Academy of Light's opening celebration as guest of honour in recognition of the fact that, in addition to electronic music, he was engaged in the design of light-musical devices in the 1920s and 1930s. (In the United States, he conducted these experiments with Albert Einstein.) The Academy of Light is an unofficial organization, working in the "invisible college" mode, and it is intended to unite everyone engaged in music and light synthesis all over the world.
From the United States, Bill Moritz and Elfriede Fischinger reported on the light-musical films by Oskar Fischinger, and gave a concert with their lightinstrument, the "lumograph." Videotapes of light-musical concerts of Christian Sidenius, also of the United States, were shown in his absence. The director of the performance of "Die gluckliche Hand", Dick Raaijmekers, and light-artist Christa van San- ten represented the Netherlands. Gustav Metzger, light-designer of famous rock-band ensembles, demonstrated in detail the technical methods he uses in his artistic practice. In addition to Termen, Russia was represented by my presentation of a documentary film abo- ut the works of SKB "Prometheus." F.Evers and Babeth M. Vanloo took part in the planning and preparation of the academic program.
The whole event ended with a "round table" devoted to interdiscipli- nary problems of art education, with discussion of the question: "Are the utopian ideas of Schoenberg, who in 1942 proposed to estab- lish a 'School for Soundmen,' and of Moholy Nagy, who described at the same time the contours of an 'Academy of Light, a reality now?" Such meetings give us hope that today these ideas have indeed become reality.
Published in "Leonardo", 1994, v.27, N 1, pp.3-5.