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 May 2017
    Blank Out (German premiere)
    Katherine Manley, soprano
    Roderick Williams (film), Nederlands Kamerkoor (film)
    Orangerie Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany
  • 17 June 2017
    Attach (Israel premiere)
    Israel contemporary players
    Ed Spanjaard, conductor
    9pm, Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 12 August 2017
    Blank Out (Swiss premiere)
    Miah Persson, soprano
    Roderick Williams (film), Nederlands Kamerkoor (film)
    Lucerne Festival
    9pm, KKL, Lucerne, Switzerland


last instagram photo

  • Gorgeous remake of the Ondes Martenot by Japanse designer Naoyuki Omo
http://ondomo.net/ 😍
#ondesmartenot #ondomo Gorgeous remake of the Ondes Martenot by Japanse designer Naoyuki Omo http://ondomo.net/ 😍 - - #ondesmartenot #ondomo

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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 19 April 2017