Peter Schat (1935-2003)

Composer Peter Schat lived in this canal house until his death in 2003. He found fame as a controversial and innovative artist. From a young age he had aspirations of becoming a composer, but his wilful behaviour made his piano teachers despair of him. As a student at the music academy Schat proved to be an extremely gifted artist. When his first opera Labyrinth was staged in 1966, it aroused strong emotions among the audience and in the press. Two years later in 1968 when On escalation was performed at Carré, the police had to fence off the area for fear of riots. In the tumultuous 1960s Schat asserted himself as an activist: it was in his basement where the Provo activists kept their stencilling machine. He participated in the 1969 Notenkrakersactie (the ‘nutcracker campaign’) which disrupted a concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Later on Schat made peace with this distinguished music company and distanced himself from musical modernism. He started teaching composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. In 1982 he revealed his tone-clock invention: an ingenious systematic arrangement of the chromatic scale.


Photo: City Archive Amsterdam