Peter Bjuhr Composer

Peter Bjuhr Composer

As you may have read here before, I am very interested in conceptual art and its possible application in music. A basic description of conceptual art would be that the ideas or concepts behind the art work takes precedence over concerns about aesthetics and craftsmanship. Traditionally aestheticism and craftsmanship have been very highly rated so a radical form of conceptual art would be to diminish these considerably. A famous and early definition of conceptual art by Sol LeWitt stated:

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.
So basically we could say that in a radical or true form of conceptual art the execution of the ideas is merely a trifle. From this it can´t really be concluded though that the execution is swift.  And it can´t even be concluded that the execution doesn´t involve craftsmanship. But one way to make clear the shift from the aesthetical to the conceptual is an apparent lack of (traditional) artistic skills in the work. (In talking about artistic skill we have to  appreciate though that conceptual art involves new and different artistic skills.) All art forms has been and are in constant change. In my view conceptual art no longer needs to be made in its most crude or radical form; for me it is interesting to combine traditional artistic skills with the new conceptual artistic skills. But even older more aesthetically and artistically driven art of course included ideas, so to be called conceptual the precedence of the idea has to be maintained. In some if not all of my latest works I have permitted the aesthetical and stylistic choices to be totally dominated by the fundamental idea or ideas, i. e. if the idea have demanded a certain kind of music I have not hesitated in my ambition to create that kind of music or sound world. I would also like to make a distinction between what would be "conceptual" in a more strict sense, i. e. actually involving concepts; and more idea driven conceptualism not actually involving concepts. Many conceptual works has of course been "conceptual" in this stricter sense, even solely involving words and concepts. But I have not seen the distinction being made. Several of my recent works have also been conceptual in this stricter sense. I would like to conclude with a comment on a previous post.  Here I stated my belief in what I called conceptual neoestheticism. The idea could briefly be described as an idea-driven return to more aesthetical music. I would (again) like to clarify this: The term "neoestheticism" assumes a crude view which could be applied to much of the post-modernistic movement - the view that the modernistic movement was not interested in aesthetical considerations and that post-modernism implies a return to pre-modernistic views on aesthetical values. At first glance you could very easily come to this conclusion, which I now think is a mistake. My current view is that the modernists were not anti-aesthetic - they were merely "anti" the aesthetic view that preceded them; I think we must conclude that they clearly had a very specific aesthetical belief-system. What then happened when what has been labelled "post-modern" ideas came in to play, was a remission of the modernistic approach; a more liberal view where in its extreme forms everything is aesthetically acceptable. The return to some aesthetical ideas of the past is I think a result of this relaxation and a symptom for the strong distancing of the past by the modernists.  Put in this way my approach of allowing the ideas to rule the aesthetics is perfectly post-modernistic.

Peter Bjuhr

Peter Bjuhr Composer

Here I publish information of the music I've written. I also blog about my projects and thoughts about music in general.

I am a contemporary classical composer and compose music for classical musicians, but as you can see from my worklist I've also done other things - including live electronics, electroacoustic music (eam) and music for other types of ensembles (e.g. a jazz trio).

My works have been performed globally, including Europe, Asia and North America.

Follow | Contact



Please contact me with any questions or comments!