Michel van der Aa


April 2011

'Up-close' earns rave reviews across Europe

Up-closeSol Gabetta, Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Up-Close, Michel van der Aa’s multimedia cello concerto for Sol Gabetta and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, received its world premiere on 11th March at the Konserthuset in Stockholm to great critical acclaim. It was described in Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper as “A work that captivates from beginning to end”. Commissioned by ECHO, the European Concert Hall Association, Up-Close was then performed in five more European cities – Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam, London and Hamburg – in just over a week, earning plaudits throughout the tour: “Brilliant, sensual, virtuosic” (La Libre, Belgium), “wonderful music” (Trouw, Netherlands), “hauntingly beautiful” (Guardian, UK), “an exciting, complex dialogue between film, electronics and live music” (Hamburger Abendblatt, Germany). Cellist Sol Gabetta, an ECHO artist of the year in 2009, was also praised for her “world-class” (Volksfreund) and “magnificent” (Trouw) performances.

Scored for solo cello, strings, electronics and film, Up-Close creates a dialogue between the live performance of a cellist on stage and an old lady (played by Vakil Eelman) on screen. Sounds from the film escape and intertwine with the music on the concert platform, drawing the two women ever closer but never quite bringing them together in an abstract drama whose theme is the rituals and trials of communication.


Michel van der Aa (Netherlands, 1970) is a truly multidisciplinary figure in contemporary music. A unique voice, he combines composition with film and stage direction, and script writing. Classical instruments, voices, electronic sound, actors, theatre and video are all seamless extensions of his musical vocabulary.

upcoming performances

  • 13 August 2017
    Blank Out (Swiss premiere)
    Miah Persson, soprano
    Roderick Williams (film), Nederlands Kamerkoor (film)
    Lucerne Festival
    4pm, KKL, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • 13 August 2017
    The Book of Disquiet (Swiss premiere)
    Walter Sigi Arnold, actor
    Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni
    11am, Luzerner Theater, Lucerne, Switzerland
  • 17 August 2017
    Up-close (Swiss premiere)
    Chamber Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy
    Jay Campbell, cello
    18.20 hrs, Luzerner Saal/KKL, Lucerne, Switzerland



  • New arrival; 4U Clouds. Made by @loudestwarning ❤️👾 New arrival; 4U Clouds. Made by @loudestwarning ❤️👾


  • the thing with playing guitar through an epic looping delay is that the fuckups also haunt you for ever 05 July 2017
  • and here am I covering Klaus Maria Brandauer in paper boats https://t.co/WarKXl6POv 04 July 2017
  • preparing "The Book of Disquiet" for Lucerne Festival. Came across these 'making of’ photos.… https://t.co/f16zqUmda9 04 July 2017

recent video


upclose TNSol Gabetta, cello. Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Candida Thompson
31:11 min.

recent audio


Editors Jonathan Reeder, Tim Rutherford-Johnson
Web-design Studio Lonne Wennekendonk
Realisation Martijn ten Napel & Kyver
Latest update 23 July 2017