The gesamtkunstwerk translated into the present day

Marco Frei. October 2017

Even in Richard Wagner’s idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk – the “total work of art” – there is no lack of precedents. In the three treatises he wrote about art while living in Zurich – Art and Revolution, The Art Work of the Future, and Opera and Drama – Wagner refers to Attic tragedy with its cult of Dionysus as an early ideal.

Lucerne Festival program note, Language: English

High tech meets high art in a 3-D opera

Nina Siegal. October 2017

As a boy soprano in the youth opera company that his parents ran in their small town, the Dutch composer Michel van der Aa once accompanied his father to the clockmaker who was painting a set for them. What he saw, he recalled recently, was revelatory.

New York Times, Language: English

Im Dialog mit dem Bild

Stefan Drees. August 2011

Van der Aa’s Konzeptionen begreifen bestimmte Arten des musikalischen Agierens und die daraus resultierenden visuellen Informationen mit ein und definieren sie als essenzielle Elemente einer künstlerischen Arbeit, die nicht bei der Musik haltmacht, sondern immer auch dem Sichtbaren eine tragende Rolle innerhalb des ästhetischen Diskurses zuweist und es somit als »an addition and stretching of my musical and compositional vocabulary« nutzt.’

Seiltanz. Language: German

Vermessung von Zeit und Erinnerung

Reinhard Brembeck. April 2011

Sol Gabetta spielt die Uraufführung von Michel van der Aas „Up-Close“ – und damit das erste ausschließlich für eine Frau komponierte Cellokonzert.
“Was finden wir im Leben wichtig? Wie blicken wir auf Ereignisse zurück?”

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Language: German

I am an art omnivore

Andrew Clements. April 2010

Michel van der Aa’s ‘After Life’ is another seamless hybrid of film and opera. Andrew Clements meets the ultimate multi-tasker.

The Guardian, Language: English


Press keys, no sound

Abi Bliss. November 2009

What do you do with a piano score that says “press keys, no sound”? Acclaimed pianist Sarah Nicolls and Michel van der Aa reveal all.

HCMF website. Language: English

Interview about The Book of Disquiet

David Allenby. October 2008

Michel van der Aa’s latest music theatre work, The Book of Disquiet, was premiered in Linz, starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. David Allenby talks to the composer.

Quarter Notes. Language: English


Rarely have modern techniques and ancient musical virtues coexisted more naturally
— The New Yorker, Alex Ross

Van der Aa proves a master of allusion. Mr. van der Aa is also a master — a full-out virtuoso — of mixed media
— New York Times

One of the most distinctive of the younger composers in Europe today. His ability to fuse music, text and visual images into a totally organic whole sets him apart from nearly all his contemporaries.
— The Guardian

Van der Aa, stage director and mastermind as well as composer, pushes the boundaries of all of his media. This is the Gesamtkunst of the future.
— Financial Times

Here is no avant-gardist who mercilessly frightens off his audience, no esoteric metaphysician, no gushing neo-Romantic. Instead, here we have a powerful seeker on a quest for the meaning of life who combines austere sounds with a preference for whip cracking rhythms and dense tonal atmosphere.
— Sueddeutsche Zeitung


Componisten van Babel

Componisten van Babelby Joep Christenhusz
Veelstemmigheid in de gecomponeerde muziek van nu in Nederland en Vlaanderen
ISBN 9789491444272

Studies in Musical Theatre

by Jelena Novak
Voices beyond corporeality: Towards the prosthetic body in opera
ISSN 17503159

A breach in the dike

Bookcover Dijkdoorbraakby Peter van Amstel
The promotion of Dutch Music abroad
(Dutch & English)
Gaudeamus / Donemus
ISBN / EAN: 978-90-812526-1-4

Contemporary music in The Netherlands and Vlaanderen

Bookcover Hedendaagse Muziekby Emile Wennekes & Mark Delaere
(Dutch, French, German, English, Spanish, Italian versions)
Ons Erfdeel
ISBN 90-75862-85-3

Radicaal gewoon

Bookcover Radicaal gewoonby Jacqueline Oskamp
Chapter in book: ‘Radicaal gewoon’ (Dutch)
The book portraits 10 Dutch composers and investigates if they there is a thing called ‘Dutch Music’.
ISBN 90-5330-372-3

Instituut Pro Arte

Bookcover ProarteMichel van der Aa’s music analized by Boris D. Filanovski
Chapter in book: ‘Pro Nederlandse muziek ’ (Russian)
Instituut Pro Arte
ISBN 5-93356-033-2