Confrontations in Dialogue

But What About Confrontations in Dialogue


But What About, in collaboration with composer Patrick David Clark, confronts cultural collision and “cultural noise”. Concerts in the first half of 2020 are being planned.

BWA initiated a relationship with Patrick David Clark by recording and performing on many programs his Light Bending Forward, which was written during his studies with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. This led to the idea of further collaboration with Clark, and the other composers invloved in this project, with support from the American Composers Alliance (ACA).




Louis Andriessen - Workers Union

John Cage - Radio Music

Patrick Clark - Light Bending Forward


Jan Peter de Graaf - NEW PIECE

Sunbin Kim - NEW PIECE

Patrick Clark - NEW PIECE




In a trans-Atlantic cultural cross-fertilization, Dutch new music ensemble But What About (BWA), in a collaboration with composer Patrick David Clark, confronts cultural collision and “cultural noise.” Conceived in the spirit of the Hegelian Dialectic, “thesis,” “antithesis,” and “synthesis” are combined in a program of musical works in which conflicting societal ideals confront each other musically.

The conceptual basis for But What About’s musical program is centered around reactive tension that has always driven the evolution of the arts—the collision of ideas that has spawned every new social, as well as musical, movement.

The world is changing, and as it does, the arts reflect these changes—sometimes in the form of open or subdued resistance; sometimes in the form of acceptance and embrace. The goal of true “synthesis” is elusive, often accidental.

All works on the planned program will address this dialectical principle. Louis Andriessen’s Workers’ Union represents a Socialist zeal in encouraging the potential of the industrial worker to increase the value of the individual against firmly entrenched socio-economic limitations. John Cage’s Radio Music may best be understood as “observation (of the cultural and political ‘noise’) without comment,” offering no estimation of value or judgement. Patrick Clark’s Light Bending Forward allows Jack Kerouac’s narrative of the personalities of the 1950’s American Beat Generation to emerge in a colorful rejection of anything beyond immediate experience. That this work was written by Clark during his studies with Andriessen in Holland is not accidental—only by leaving home can one come to understand what home is, and how one feels about it. 

Three commissionees (Dutch composer Jan-Peter de Graaff, American composer Sunbin Kim, and Clark with a new work based on the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, Tao te ching), will offer further commentary and reaction to the political and social turmoil in which we currently live. The musical program embraces the logic of the universe to unfold itself, even if in violent fever—such is the form of our eventual and inevitable return to the placid and blissful origins of all things.

Should these perspectives be social, political, cultural, spiritual, or none of the above, is of no concern to the core principles of the project—which may well be the very essence of liberty in the arts.