In 1977 I wrote Antifoon at the request of the Music School in Bodegraven. All the pupils of the school were going to participate. The première would therefore include a remarkable assortment of instruments: 80-100 recorders, 20-30 flutes, 8-12 clarinets, an alto saxophone, four trumpets, a church organ, timpani, two large Orff percussion groups, and a children’s choir of 65.

The audience was assigned the role of applauding, humming melodically, and singing low tones. The notation was graphic for the most part. Each group was divided in two and placed antiphonally. Antifoon was meant to be performed in a church. Four conductors were necessary. The performance in Bodegraven never took place. The church council heard rumors about the kind of music that was going to be played. That the only saxophonist had been assigned a place in the pulpit did not go down well. One by one the teachers refused to cooperate, parents threatened to remove their children from the school. In the end the Muziekcentrum Zuid-Kennemerland was found to be more progressive.

Word première: 18 May 1979 in the St. Antonius of Padua church in Haarlem by pupils of the Muziekcentrum Zuid-Kennemerland conducted by Robert Nasveld, Marga van Rijn, Barend Lutgendorff and Peter Maissan. Second performance: Bielefeld, Germany, by pupils of the Utrecht Music School.