Emma Roijackers played Dutch première of my Zarabanda for solo-violin

Muze van Zuid Festival - logoAt the Amsterdam  Muze van Zuid 2023 Festival violinist Emma Roijackers gave the first Dutch performance of my Zarabanda for solo-violin, to great public acclaim.

Emme Roijackers
Emma Roijackers

The first version of my Zarabanda dates back to 2014. It was written then for Rosanne Philippens as the Dutch part of her programme for the International Violin Competition Freiburg (where she took first prize). Emma now plays in Muze van Zuid not only a first public Dutch performance, but also a new revised (I hope: improved) version. This final version became all the more a virtuoso, but at the same time very lyrical piece in which echoes of the original 17th-century South American Zarabanda, which was rhythmic and fast, mingle with later Romantic versions, which are slower, solemn and more in the spirit of bel canto.

Premiere: new work for young master pianist Thomas Beijer

Thomas Beijer-pianist
Thomas Beijer

Thomas Beijer played the world premiere of the piece I wrote especially for him, The Pilgrim’s Progress, on 26 March in the series of Slot Concerts at Slot Zeist. The programme included Schubert’s Moments Musicaux, Falla’s El Amor Brujo and Chopin’s 3rd sonata, op. 58. My piece still has two movements – perhaps a third and final movement will be added. The work is based on melodies from the Llibre Vermell.

Knowing Thomas’ love of Iberian, I chose this collection of melodies from the Catalan monastery of Montserrat as an important starting point – and because they are beautiful tunes that, moreover, were once the first ‘Early Music’ I heard.  They are now ‘standards’ of medieval musical practice. The collection was intended to put edifying lyrics in the mouths of the elated pilgrims, when they finally reached the Black Madonna in the high monastery, so that their wild dances would still retain the appropriate sacred character…


Trio for clarinet, violin and piano: concerts in run up to CD-recording

My beautiful Trio for violin, clarinet and piano will be performed a number of times in the near future ahead of a CD recording in April:

  • this Sunday 12 February between 10.00 and 11.00 on NPOKlassiek in the radio programme Spiegelzaal from the Concertgebouw;
  • on Saturday 18 February at the Vondelkerk in Amsterdam in a fine series of Bartók Salon Concerts (ticket sales here);
  • and finally on 2 April in the Kromme Rijn Concerts (the concert that had to be cancelled last year due to illness – ticket sales here).

A constant factor in these performances is masterpianist Bas Verheijden, who plays in Amsterdam with Emma Roijackers (violin, artistic director) and Stefan Woudenberg (clarinet) and in Bunnik with Nancy Braithwaite (clarinet, artistic director) and Amarins Wierdsma (violin). He will also record the piece with the latter – more on that later.
In both programmes, my piece accompanies Béla Bartók’s famous trio Contrasts. Where the Hungarian Bartók uses folk music from the Balkans, in my piece you will hear historical Dutch folk music (yes, a rarity in new classical music!) – alongside tango, gamelan and much more.

International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht 2022

Aan de BruidI had to wait for two seasons, and each time corona was the game-breaker. But now it is finally going to happen! At the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht, Camerata Trajectina will play my song cycle Aan de Bruid on poems by Ingmar Heytze on 30 December at 17.00.



UTRECHT900 – new choral work for the Utrecht Chamber Choir

Utrecht900-van NieuwkerkUtrecht will be celebrating throughout the summer of 2022: in 1122 the city received city rights and this 900-year jubilee is being exuberantly celebrated under the motto Utrecht 900: City without walls. As part of the festivities, the Utrechts Kamerkoor and the City of Utrecht commissioned me to write a choral work. The text was provided by the choir and written by one of the choir members. It is, quite appropriately, about how the city and the rights and duties of its citizenry developed into modern Utrecht society.


Songs of War & Peace: German première and printed edition – a powerful new piece for the recorder in a rare program with string quartet

In Münster, on June, 25 and in Lengerich, on June, 26, Peter Holtslag (recorders) and the Ruysdael Quartet played the German première of my Songs of War & Peace in the opening weekend of the Summerwinds Festival.Summerwinds Festival The programme also included Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet and Gordon Jacob’s Suite (alto recorder and quartet). Three suite-like works with a historicizing slant, that is. Plus, with a leading role for the recorder alongside the string quartet that is rarely found in concert programs.



Peter Holtslag & Ruysdael Quartet
Peter Holtslag & the Ruysdael Quartet, Erbdrostenhof, Münster (photo Susanna Schulte)

My Songs of  War & Peace are based on melodies of the Thirty Years’ War period, from the countries that suffered most: the German lands, the Netherlands, and Bohemia, where it all started in 1618 with the Defenestration of Prague. The two German performances were all the more fitting because they took place in Münster, where in 1648 the various treaties were signed that concluded the war (the Peace of Westphalia), and in Lengerich, the ancient small town north of Münster that prides itself in the Lengericher Conclusum, a treaty signed there in 1645 advising that all representative political bodies should partake in the peace talks (including the towns and cities, most of whom were not combatants but victims).

The Münster concert, in the sold out Erbdrostenhof, was a resounding succes.


The Utrecht Requiem 2021-22

Utrechts Requiem 2021

The Utrechts Requiem Foundation presented the third edition of the Utrecht Requiem, extraordinary life stories set to music, again framed by the Introitus and In Paradisum that I wrote for earlier editions of this project.

Ensemble Postland will play  a series of 24 concerts cumulating in two performances in the recital hall of Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht on Januari 30, 2022.

The recording that Dutch Classical Radio4 made can be listened to here.

NPO Radio4





The Utrecht Requiem 2022 by Ensemble Postland and soloists

Utregs Requiem 2019 – In Paradisum | Ensemble Insomnio en het Koor NEON.

Premières 2020-2021

Holtslag&Ruysdael Kwartet
Peter Holtslag & The Ruysdael Quartet

Songs of War & Peace, for recorder and string quartet, was baptised by master recorder player Peter Holtslag and the Ruysdael Quartet in a series of four concerts in October 2020. The piece was originally written for the Bennewitz Quartet but the Covid-crisis prevented this great Czech quartet from coming to the Netherlands. You can hear the Ruysdael’s wonderful playing in the recording made by Dutch Classical Radio. Peter Holtslag, who commissioned the piece, will take it to Germany in 2021-2022 to give it a première there in the ElbPhil in Hamburg.  I am very proud of the piece and look forward to its reception in Germany.



Scènes uit ons lot  (‘Scenes from Our Fate’) was premiered on June 5, 2021 in the Aegtenkapel, Amersfoort. It is a song, or ballad, on a text by former Dutch Poet Laureate Ester Naomi Perquin in which she describes our experiences of the Covid-crisis in vivid, and sometimes comical, detail. Written for Camerata Trajectina and its lead singer Nico van der Meel, it uses a renaissance mixed consort and mean-tone temperament to describe a very contemporary phenomenon.


Première: Songs of War & Peace – 17-18 Octobre 2020

Holtslag&Ruysdael Kwartet

by the Ruysdael Quartet and Peter Holtslag (recorders)

It was hard work to make Songs of War & Peace. Selecting and musically understanding the songs from the Thirty Years’ War, especially the so completely different Bohemian songs. Imagining a 17th-century instrument (the recorder), with the styles that go with it, along with an ensemble that is largely rooted in Romanticism (the string quartet). And practically speaking, of course, there was the Covid crisis, which meant that the Czech Bennewitz Quartet had to be replaced at the very last minute by the Ruysdael Quartet. The quartet did a formidable job in the four concerts that were recorded by NPO Radio4. Master flutist Peter Holtslag will be taking this commissioned work to Germany next season, where he will play the German premiere at the ElbPhil. I am more than satisfied with the piece. Listen to it here the way it sounded at the premiere.


Bennewitz Doelen

 The Bennewitz Kwartet & Harry-Imre Dijkstra played 15 januari 2019 my Super Suite in De Doelen chamber music series to great acclaim.