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Kronenburg has a lively music life. In the country's two larger cities all sorts of music fans come together to enjoy everything that is offered. Though some well known popular artists and groups originate from Kronenburg, they don't manage to make it to the number ones in the local hit parades; foreign productions are much more favoured by the Kronenburg public. The hopes of (beginning) Kronenburg bands are not very high, which results in a lesser quality of music. The local jazz-scene however thrives and - surprisingly - mostly in Dutch. A Kronenburg jazz legend is the singer Patricia Boom (1950 - 1997), who was very famous in the seventies and eighties with her band, the Boomers. At this moment her large oeuvre (which was collected on 23 gramophone records at the time) is being re-issued on cd. After her passing away the band continued performing as an instrumental ensemble. Other well known vocal artists are - amongst others - Johnny Engels (1928 - 2001), Bernhard Sieger (*1963) and Andrea Hennetved (*1970). Besides them there are many known instrumental artists.

View over the city of Noordeinde

Though Kronenburg has a large number of composers who are famous in their own country, very few of them manage to break through abroad. Some of them even could have become known as the inventors of certain new developments in classical music, which nowadays are supposed to be invented by others. The twelve tone technique for instance was used in 1887 by Otto ten Doornkaat (1863 - 1920) in his Dodekatoniko for string octet, far before Arnold Schönberg would make it publicly known. Ten Doornkaat however wasn't popular even in Kronenburg; in modern times only his Concertino for two pianos and strings can be heard frequently. For Kronenburg standards he was too modern and even now atonal music is hardly accepted by the Kronenburg public, the present day composer Michiel Talsma Tjallingha (*1972) booking some success with this category of music. Kronenburg composers of (semi-) atonal music who are known outside of Kronenburg, are the members of the so called Seppian School. Amongst them is the Seppian-Kronenburg composer Jan Ylieen (1902 - 1979), whose music has been getting more attention from Kronenburg music lovers recently.

The history of Kronenburg classical music starts with the female composer Elina Tadema (1774 - 1815; after her marriage in 1794 Staegeman-Tadema). She was a gifted violinist and pianist as well as a composer. She wrote some large scale orchestral works before her marriage, amongst which a symphony, two piano concertos, two violin concertos and a large amount of string quartets. Her husband, Karl Staegeman (1764 - 1925), forbade her to continue her career and from that moment she officially ceased her compositional activities. Visiting (female) friends however she managed to compose some more works. Until her early death at least twelve works were written: two more symphonies, three more violin concertos and a third piano concertos, amongst some other, minor compositions. Some of these pieces were discovered as early as 1830, not long after Karl Staegeman's death. The fourth violin concerto however was added to the list in 1998. A descendant of a friend of the composer passed away in that year and the concerto was discovered among her possessions. Staegeman-Tadema's style was purely classical, especially in her later works, with a quality comparable with that of European composers like Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. It is probably because of the intolerance of Karl Staegeman that his wife's name is not mentioned with those of the great composers.

Another composer, but from a later generation, is Diderik van Meppel (1812 - 1849). While in Europe romanticism has already begun for years, Van Meppel amazed the Kronenburg music life in 1829 with a purely classical first violin concerto. Although somewhat old fashioned, the composer became instantly famous. In 1845 however he confessed himself to romanticism with his third string quartet, and he subsequently destroyed all his unpublished works.

The era of romanticism as intended by European composers like Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn, has, apart from Van Meppel, few followers in Kronenburg. It is Bart Frama (1851 - 1892) who becomes the most important supporter of the leading music from this period. Like Edvard Grieg and Antonín Dvořák he uses popular music as an important ingredient of his compositions. Kronenburg did not have any specific popular music of its own at that time, so Frama had to invent it first. Many Kronenburg composers have been influenced by Frama's style; in his own generation he is however dominant.

A tram passing the Kronenburgerstraatweg, much to the annoyance of the Seppian ambassador

In 1889 the first symphony of Martinus-Jan Hansema (1870 - 1959) premieres. This composer is the most important Kronenburg late-romanticist, whose seventh symphony of 1925 incorporated the country's national anthem. Hansema's music is strongly influenced by Frama and Gustav Mahler, but has a unique sound that many have tried to imitate without success.

The last well known romanticist is Hans Aarnouts (1904 - 2002). He had to spend most of his life in a wheelchair, giving him very much time to compose. He refused to adapt his music to the new styles in music, composing very many works in an accessible style. Aarnouts is often called 'the Kronenburg (Johann) Strauß', although he never wrote any short orchestral waltzes or polkas. Especially Jan Ylieen could anger himself about Aarnouts, not because of his conservative music style, but mainly because of the popularity Aarnouts did manage to gain in Kronenburg. Pure jealousy, of course.

Jan-Willem Ripperda (1871 - 1959) marks the border between romanticism and avant-garde. Ripperda is a much favoured composer among music theorists and music historians. His scores are most often just read and are seldom performed in public, due to logistical reasons: in Kronenburg are very few spaces that can host a complete Ripperda-instrumentation. His symphonic tableau 'The Tower of Bable', op. 18, from 1924 is so huge - the piece lasts approximately six hours - that theorists will not be finished trying to explain the piece. Ripperda wrote, amongst other thing, ten symphonies, the last seven of which have never been performed yet; these have an average length of three or four hours.

The oldest composer writing avant-garde music is Hubert Brogmann Wess (1883 - 1970). His successors are, amongst others, Peter Hejkens, Ben Vikkens, Lars Larsson (not to be mixed up with the Swedish composer of the same name), Durk Eisses, Klaas Gjaltema and partly Hendrik Ame, who confessed himself to dodecaphonism in the late nineties. Nowadays however serial and minimal music are rising styles in Kronenburg, influenced by foreign composers like Philip Glass, John Adams and others. Bruno Gijssen, who broke through in 2003 with his 'Historia Mundi' for solo singers, choir, organ and orchestra, is the main champion of minimalism in Kronenburg. Followers of composers like Arvo Pärt and Wojciech Kilar are Karel Droge, Bjorn Oldens, and partly Emma Dijkstra-Juwes, who also writes music in the tradition of the Seppian School.

A number of Kronenburg composers don't fit in specific styles, like Christopher Lenferink, who on one hand seems to follow a highly developed avant-garde style, but on the other hand strangely puts late-romantic ingredients in a rather peculiar mixture of tonal and semi-tonal tapestry of sounds. Among his latest works are the large scaled 'Ecossaises' for piano and orchestra.

The works of Johannes Dekker combine all possible styles. His first symphony was a chaos of independent voices playing at the same time; his second is largely romantic and inspired by popular melodies from the AGL member states. His second string quartet on the other hand is minimalist. The last years he seems to have found a steady style, his opera 'King Midas' and the piece 'Hierarchy' for two pianos and orchestra being excellent examples of his craftsmanship. Dekker often provokes with politically influenced pieces, such as the opera 'Ühler', after the controversial former secretary general Marij Ühler of the AGL.

Other forms of art
Kronenburg has known a number of prominent architects, but they work mainly abroad. Buildings designed by Jannes Feenstra (*1954) are very popular in the United States and Canada, and the gardens of Magda Kloosterhoff (*1961) can be found in Venezuela and Brazil. Kronenburg architects who were popular within Kronenburg, can be found in the past and mainly as city architects. The architect of the former houses of parliament, Gerard Klein Kambuer (1838 - 1915), was one of the greatest architects the country has known, but also Marcus Nanne Wolverink (1866 - 1939), who has designed workman's houses in Waterburg and Groningen. For the construction of the new town of Nijensteijn (1999) the Kronenburg government has been working with Onno Nijensteijn (*1947), the architect who gave his name to the town. He has already developed plans for some future new cities, but lack of money seems to have put an early halt to the building of these cities. Two artists who must also be mentioned here, are the architect, graphic designer and painter Jan van Oostrum (*1925) and Piet Tilman (1896 - 1974). Van Oostrum uses rather modern techniques in his work, which includes some striking kiosks in the city centre of Alexanderstad. Tilman is responsible for the Koninginnebruggen (Queen's Bridges) that connect the Westereiland to the city of Marianne.

There haven't been many painters and draughtsmen in Kronenburg. Jan van Oostrum's paintings Stilleven in een Metrostation (1969) and Adamsappels (1984) enjoy some popularity. He mainly paints on request, and he can be considered as one of the richer painters of North America. Works by the impressionist Ewout Jolmes (1847 - 1903) and the avant-garde Niels-Aage Mikkelsen (1881 - 1924) can be found in almost every art museum in Alexanderstad, Friescheburg and Oosterland.

Kronenburg hasn't produced a lot of literature either. The country and its writers are officially speaking and writing Dutch, but they are largely overshadowed by the Dutch speaking communities in Europe. In 1994 the Kronenburg government decided not to adopt the new spelling of Dutch, which made matters worse. Some brave writers have tried to break trough, such as Ruud Bouwman (1924 - 1995) and Willem Janssema (*1941), the latter of whom doesn't seem to have written anything since 1981. Mery Dantuma (1945 - 2000) was somewhat successful with her historical novels. Increasingly popular is literature in the Kronenburg language, mainly by Frederik Bunnema (*1965) and Hink Siemons (*1947). The latter has designed an official spelling for the Kronenburg language. The best-known book by a Kronenburg writer (in Dutch) is the novel Barbarism (1840) by Lodewijk Barthels (1789 - 1855), in which he questioned slavery in the United States.