Michel van der Aa

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September 2018

Featured composer at Trondheim Chamber Music Festival

Blank Out NYCMiah Persson, Roderick Williams

Later this month Michel van der Aa will be the featured composer at the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival in a major Scandinavian presentation of his work.

A total of nine pieces have been programmed at the festival, from Memo and Quadrivial to the concertos Up-Close and Hysteresis, and the 3D chamber opera Blank Out. All of them will be receiving their Norwegian premieres; among the featured soloists will be Kari Kriikku (clarinet, Hysteresis), Miah Persson (soprano, Blank Out), Fredrik Schøyen Sjølin (cello, Up-close) and Christianne Stotijn (mezzo-soprano, Spaces of Blank). 

Van der Aa will also deliver masterclasses and lectures on his music. The Trondheim Chamber Music Festival runs for a week from 24 September and tickets and more details may be found here: www.kamfest.no

April 2018

Van der Aa at centre of wide-ranging Spotlight series

Wende MichelWende & Michel van der Aa

‘Super kaleidoscopic’ is how Michel van der Aa describes a programme he has curated for the ensemble Nieuw Amsterdams Peil. Devised for the ensemble’s 2018 Spotlight series, it includes chamber works by Van der Aa, as well as by composers he is inspired by. Van der Aa himself will also play guitar (acoustic and electric) in three pieces.
The concerts include Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s mistily dramatic Luminance, from her ensemble work In the Light of Air; Dieter Ammann’s punchy Après le silence; and Anna Meredith’s Tuggemo, written for the Kronos Quartet and inspired by 80s pop synthesizers. Also featured is a world premiere by the young Dutch composer and intermedia artist Thomas Bensdorp, Private Geographies #1: The House of Breath.
Van der Aa’s music will be featured in three pieces of his: Dormant, a very early work here receiving its first performances; Transit, for piano and video; and the song cycle For the Time Being, the first movement of which will also be receiving its premiere. For the Time Being will be given in a new arrangement for the Dutch singer-songwriter Wende (Quand tu dors, Last Resistance), and she and Van der Aa will close the concerts with five new songs they have written together, on texts by Dimitri Verhulst, Fernando Pessoa and Raphaële Lanadère.
Nieuw Amsterdams Peil’s Spotlight series begins with a warm-up show on 18 April at the Schouwburg, Amstelveen, before touring eight more Dutch cities, beginning with the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam on 19 April and finishing at the Haarlem Philharmonie on 1 May. More details and ticket information for the whole tour can be found on the Nieuw Amsterdams Peil website.

Tour schedule
18 April – Schouwburg Amstelveen, 20.30 hrs (public rehearsal)
19 April – Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, 20.15 hrs (premiere)
20 April – Nijmegen,Concertgebouw De Vereeniging, 20.15 hrs
21 April – Enschede Muziekcentrum,  20.00 hrs
22 April - Muziekgebouw Eindhoven,  14.15 hrs
25 April – Utrecht TivoliVredenburg,  20.15 hrs
26 April – Den Haag Korzo,  20.30 hrs
28 April – Groningen Grand Theatre,  20.30 hrs
01 May – Haarlem Stadsschouwburg,  20.15 hrs

April 2018

Press acclaim for US premieres

JanineCarnegie_13-03-2018Janine Jansen

Two major premieres in the USA last month have won widespread acclaim, continuing Van der Aa’s successful US season. On 8 March Janine Jansen gave the first US performance of the composer’s Violin Concerto, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra, following this up with a second performance at Carnegie Hall five days later Meanwhile, in Texas, Dallas Opera presented the first US production of Sunken Garden on four nights between 9 and 17 March, with on-stage singers Roderick Williams, Katherine Manley and Miah Persson conducted by Nicole Paiement.
Both works were warmly received by the US press. Eric C. Simpson in the New York Classical Review called Jansen’s Carnegie Hall performance of the Violin Concerto ‘stunning’ and ‘riveting’. Describing the composer as ‘a consummate entertainer’, James R. Oestreich of the New York Times wrote that while the concerto was ‘less overtly theatrical’ than the operas The Book of Disquiet and Blank Out, it was ‘hardly less inventive musically’.
Of Sunken Garden, Monica Smart of the Dallas Observer wrote that ‘Van der Aa moved outside the boundaries of opera to create a fantasy world where the difficult questions of life cannot be escaped’. Scott Cantrell of the Dallas News praised all the singers, noting in particular the ‘radiant’ sopranos Manley and Persson, and the ‘warmth and clarity’ of Williams’ baritone. He further wrote that ‘Sunken Garden takes opera into new dimensions – literally.’

February 2018

US Premieres of Sunken Garden and Violin Concerto

Janine JansenJanine Jansen

March 8 kicks off a busy month for Michel van der Aa, who has two major works receiving US premieres: his 2014 Violin Concerto for Janine Jansen, being performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Philadelphia and later at Carnegie Hall in New York; and his film-opera Sunken Garden, presented by the Dallas Opera.

Michel van der Aa’s 2017–2018 season (which kicked off with the hugely successful US premiere of Blank Out at the Park Avenue Armory) ramps up in March with US premieres of two major works. His Violin Concerto premieres on March 8 with Janine Jansen and the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who also bring the work to Carnegie Hall on March 13 for its New York premiere. On March 9–17, the Dallas Opera presents the first US production of Van der Aa’s occult-mystery film-opera Sunken Garden.

about

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

  • 04 October 2019
    Eight (Chinese premiere)
    Virtual Reality installation. Kate Miller-Heidke, Nederlands Kamerkoor.
    Beijing Music Festival, Beijing, China
  • 05 October 2019
    Hysteresis (Italian premiere)
    ORT (orchestra regionale della Toscana) conducted by Peter Rundel
    Michele Marelli, clarinet
    Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
  • 25 October 2019
    Hysteresis (Chinese premiere)
    Mahler Chamber Orchestra
    Beijing Music Festival, Beijing, China

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  • yesterday concluded the ‘opera & new technology’ workshop I was asked to moderate at @festivalaix I had a wonderful time with this ultra-talented group of composers, directors, and designers. Very inspiring!
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@academie_festival_aix yesterday concluded the ‘opera & new technology’ workshop I was asked to moderate at @festivalaix I had a wonderful time with this ultra-talented group of composers, directors, and designers. Very inspiring! - @academie_festival_aix

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Eight - teaser

eightvirtual reality installation ft. Kate Miller-Heidke
1:22 min.

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Editors Jonathan Reeder, Tim Rutherford-Johnson
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Latest update 22 July 2019