New European Ensemble presents the premiere of the 1984 performance with whistleblower Edward Snowden and actor Boris van der Ham based on George Orwell’s book. Estonian composer Mihkel Kerem wrote an ensemble piece inspired by the novel for NEuE. Film maker Gijs Besseling made an accompanying film in which musicians from the ensemble portray Orwell’s story linked to their role in the piece. Narrations from Orwell’s novel are acted by Boris van der Ham with commentary by Edward Snowden.
Snowden made the disclosure about the US NSA and the extent to which ordinary citizens’ communications are intercepted and tapped. According to Snowden, “Increasingly we lose our seat at the table and our ability to steer the future and all of these processes begin from the corruption of language which was Orwell’s greatest fear.” The increasing extent to which our personal communications are intercepted and stored by companies and governments prove the relevance of 1984 in the present time. Advances in technology make it possible to keep us under surveillance and are nothing less than a step towards Orwell’s dystopia.
“A massively powerful piece…the playing is superb…a superb telling of Orwell’s story.”
“A powerful evocation of the dystopian themes of Orwell’s novel places the orchestra score at its heart…gripping and compelling.”
**** Planet Hugill
New European Ensemble
Willem Stam cello
Boris van der Ham actor
Edward Snowden presentation
Gijs Besseling film
Karim Ameur translation and dramaturgy
2 November 2021 | 8:15 pm
Stadsgehoorzaal | Breestraat 60 | Leiden