Michel van der Aa

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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.

December 2017

First Greek performances for The Book of Disquiet

Ana and oxAna Moura

The Book of Disquiet is to receive its first Greek performances on 15 and 16 December, at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens. Making use of a new Greek translation by Annie Spyrakou, the opera will feature the actor Miltiadis Fiorentzis, and the Greek contemporary music group Ergon Ensemble, conducted by Kasper de Roo.

A cutting-edge integration of music, live action and video, The Book of Disquiet is built from text fragments by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. In his work, Pessoa often cast himself in a series of distinct characters, or ‘heteronyms’, portrayed as multiple personalities on the video and soundtrack of Van der Aa’s work. His ‘Book of Disquiet’ was a posthumously reconstructed autobiography of the alter ego Bernando Soares, described as a ‘mutilation’ of Pessoa’s own personality – an obsessive cataloguer of anecdotes, dreams and moods that gradually push him closer to the nature of the self.

Van der Aa’s third piece of music theatre, premiered in 2009, is also one of his most widely performed. Last season it was staged in London and New York, receiving strong reviews in both cities. In his 5-star review for The Times in London, Richard Morrison described how Pessoa’s ‘manic intensity beneath a seemingly static surface is wonderfully explored in Van der Aa’s score’, while the New York Times’s James R. Ostreich found it ‘memorable … imaginative … riveting’.

Tickets and more information may be found here.

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.

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Festivalkomponist @michelvanderaa sin 3D-opera Blank Out settes opp fredag 28. september i @olavshallen. Sikre deg billetter på nett, link i bio! #kamfest2018 #hvahørerdu #stolpåoransje 🧡 #Repost @kamfest with @get_repost ・・・ Festivalkomponist @michelvanderaa sin 3D-opera Blank Out settes opp fredag 28. september i @olavshallen. Sikre deg billetter på nett, link i bio! #kamfest2018 #hvahørerdu #stolpåoransje 🧡

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  • 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

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