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Oog (Eye) for cello and tape shows some resemblance to Auburn, which was written a year earlier, but this time the different sides of the instrument – the continuous bowed sound and several kinds of staccato playing – are introduced right from the start. Also, the piece already bears some distinctive Van der Aa fingerprints, such as the double demisemiquavers and the mechanic pulse. As in Auburn, the sound track creeps in almost unnoticeably and then gradually takes the initiative. The electronic sounds are once more derived from the instrument itself, with the exception of the sound of clashing stones, which persists prominently after the climax. A remarkable feature are the

illusionary contrasts between the dry and spatial acoustic effects. In the end (but here one needs to see a live performance) even the musical reality becomes an illusion, as the cellist mimes bowing her instrument while the final tone is produced by the loudspeakers only. It is the kind of game Michel van der Aa is fond of playing.
— Frits van der Waa

Choreographer Thom Stuart made a choreography on the piece for one solo dancer. This version with dance was premiered at the Venster/Lantaren theatre Rotterdam on the 12th of March 1998.


Örs Köszeghy, cello


A completely engaging dialogue with the electronic soundtrack

“I confess that only one work really grabbed me by the shirt collar: the opening ‘Oog’, by Dutch composer Michel van der Aa, given a smashing performance by Peter Stumpf. With the cello in an almost masochistic fight with the tape, Stumpf piled on many extended techniques (e.g., thumping the base of the instrument) to produce a completely engaging dialogue with the electronic soundtrack. And as in the Reich at the end of the evening, the electronics sounded terrific in the room.”
— Bruce Hodges, Musicweb, november 2003

Oog, an exciting jewel

“It doesn’t happen every day you come across such a true jewel. ‘Oog’ is one of those cases, made by dancer/choreograher Tom Stuart, composer Michel van der Aa and performed by cellist Justa de Jong. The result is a exciting work that carries you away, combining both extreme emotional and intimate moments.”
— Telegraaf, Bertjan ter Braak, 1997


for cello and soundtrack

Soundtrack (from CD)




First performance

18 January 1996
De IJsbreker, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Commissioned by




Last performance

16 June 2019


Renate Apperloo, cello

21.15 hrs, B. Haitinkzaal, Conservatory, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All performances of Oog


27 August 2009

U.S. premiere of Oog in LA Philharmonic New Music series

Walt Disney Concert Hall Van der Aa: Oog for cello and soundtrack (U.S. premiere). The Green Umbrella: “Solos Night”, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, Monday, November 3, 2003 I confess that only one work really grabbed me by t...

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Justa de Jong, cello