Michel van der Aa

news

January 2020

New album ‘Time Falling’

Time falling

Michel van der Aa releases debut indie-pop album featuring Kate Miller-Heidke ‘Time Falling’: A kaleidoscopic concept album centred around the theme of infinity.
Available now on all platforms, with limited edition high definition vinyl double LP and CD also be available through Disquiet Media and Bandcamp. (Order – listen)

For the first time Michel focuses entirely on an indie/alt-pop electronic album involving the masterfully talented and versatile Australian singer song-writer Kate Miller-Heidke. Kate Miller-Heidke voice has been described by US singer-songwriter Ben Folds as “one of the best in the world”, she is a long-time collaborator of Michel van der Aa. Although classically trained, Kate followed a career in alternative pop music and is the only person to have sung at Coachella, the New York Metropolitan Opera and Eurovision representing Australia in 2019.

This album is Michel’s debut indie-pop album, but this is not his first foray beyond classical music, having previously collaborated with Portuguese fado singer Ana Moura, and pop act These New Puritans. The album is produced and mixed by Michel and Thijs de Vlieger (of Dutch DnB act Noisia).

Michel’s trademark sound design of analogue synths, guitars, hypnotic rhythms, and dense tonal atmosphere combine with Kate Miller-Heidke’s powerful distinctive voice to create an album beyond genre with touches of experimental electronic, indie, a cappella choir (Netherlands Chamber Choir) and pop influence.

The album theme explores “Infinity”, in regard to ‘time’, and ‘space’; inspired by the writing of Jorge Luis Borges, Fernando Pessoa, Federico García Lorca, Emily Dickinson and scientific discovery

The first single ‘The Aleph’ was released on 17th January. ‘The Aleph’ considers a universe where all places in the world exist simultaneously as explored in the fantastical stories of Jorge Luis Borges, with mesmerising allusions to mazes and mirrors.

You can order “Time Falling”, high quality (180gr, 45rpm) double LP, or CD here: timefalling.com

October 2019

Italian and Czech premieres for ‘Hysteresis’

Marelli_Michele_200Michele Marelli

Hysteresis, which receives its Chinese premiere on 25 October, will have its Italian premiere at the Venice Biennale earlier in the same month.

Michel van der Aa’s 2013 clarinet concerto will be performed by Michele Marelli, with contemporary music specialists the Orchestra della Toscana, conducted by Peter Rundel.

‘Hysteresis’ – “a thrilling display piece” (Guardian) – is Van der Aa’s first major work for clarinet, and is inspired by the idea that non-living things can carry ‘memories’ of their previous states. Combining live instruments with recordings and electronics, the pieces asks: can music behave similarly? And what is the nature of musical memory anyway?

After Italy and China, the Czech premiere of ‘Hysteresis’ is also forthcoming, on 11 November, when Renata Raková will play with the BERG orchestra and the conductor Peter Vrábel at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague.

October 2019

Van der Aa in Beijing

Eight 200Still from Eight

This year’s Beijing Music Festival, which takes place throughout October, will feature Michel van der Aa as its artist in focus.

Central to this focus will be the virtual reality installation Eight, which will be installed for more than two weeks, between the 10th and 27th October. Created with the designer Theun Mosk and virtual reality company The Virtual Dutch Men, ‘Eight’ is a unique fusion of music, theatre VR and visual art, in which audience members wear VR headsets to walk through and manipulate an installation of physical and virtual objects. As they do so, they piece together the story of a woman whose memories are spread across the walls.

The music that plays throughout the installation has been written by Van der Aa and is performed by Kate Miller-Heidke (who also appeared in Sunken Garden and The Book of Sand) and the Nederlands Kamerkoor (who also sang for ‘The Book of Sand’).

Mischa Spel in NRC describes the experience of ‘Eight’ as “like entering an unprecedented dream world” and called it “an important and pioneering work”. The New York Times (Joshua Barone) described ‘Eight’ as “a breakthrough for virtual reality in classical music”, while Parool (Erik Voermans) called it an “innovative tour de force”. As Spel advises: “You have to experience “Eight” because this mix of music theatre and VR is unprecedented and offers a glimpse into the genre’s endless future possibilities.”

MCO 390
Beijing will also see the Chinese premiere of Van der Aa’s clarinet concerto Hysteresis on 25 October. This performance will feature the soloist Jaan Bossier with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Vicente Alberola. Van der Aa will also give a lecture on music and technology as part of the festival.

‘Eight’ is a co-commission of Holland Festival, Festival Aix-en-Provence, Beijing Music Festival, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen and the Helsinki Festival. In 2020 it will be performed at the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen in Hanover between 15 May and 12 June, and at the Helsinki Festival from 13 to 30 August. A full list of dates, tickets and more information can be found at eightvr.net.

May 2019

Premiere of ‘mixed reality’ installation ‘Eight’ at Holland Festival

eight news

Visitors to this year’s Holland Festival will be able to experience a truly trailblazing premiere with Eight, Michel van der Aa’s latest work of ‘mixed reality’ music theatre. Created with the designer Theun Mosk and virtual reality company The Virtual Dutch Men, ‘Eight’ is a unique fusion of music, theatre VR and visual art, in which audience members wear VR headsets to walk through and manipulate an installation of physical and virtual objects. As they do so, they piece together the story of a woman whose memories are spread across the walls.

The music that plays throughout the installation has been written by Michel Van der Aa and is performed by Kate Miller-Heidke and the Nederlands Kamerkoor. After ‘Sunken Garden’ and ‘The Book of Sand’ (on which the Nederlands Kamerkoor also appeared), ‘Eight’ is the third collaboration between Van der Aa and Miller-Heidke, and the Australian singer and actress will appear on a new album featuring the music of ‘Eight’ alongside new tracks, to be released this autumn.

‘Eight’ is also the first production of the doubleA Foundation, launched by Van der Aa in 2018 to support the production and touring of new and existing works that stretch the boundaries of music theatre, opera, concerts, audiovisual exhibitions, digital art, multimedia and film. Future projects for the Foundation include a film opera, a large-scale work of music theatre and a visual art collaboration.

As well as the Holland Festival, ‘Eight’ is a co-commission of Festival Aix-en-Provence, Beijing Music Festival, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen and the Helsinki Festival, and after June it will tour to those festivals in 2019 and 2020. A full list of dates, tickets and more information about Eight can be found at eightvr.net.

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

  • 21 September 2020
    Shades of Red (world premiere)
    Ensemble MusikFabrik, cond. Johannes Fischer
    Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany
  • 22 September 2020
    Mask
    International Ensemble Modern Academy
    University of Music and Perfoming Arts, Hamburg, Germany
  • 25 September 2020
    Eight (German premiere)
    KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen
    25 Sept – 11 Oct 2020
    Location t.b.d., Hannover, Germany

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Eight - teaser

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

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Latest update 01 August 2020