Bram van Camp

Bram Van Camp (Antwerp °1980) graduated from the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Antwerp (2003) where he studied the violin, chamber music, composition, music analysis, counterpoint and fugue. He studied composition under Wim Henderickx (1998-2005) and Theo Loevendie (2003-2005) at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. His works contain solo and chamber music, ensemble works, orchestral music (including a symphony called Tetrahedron ), a Violin Concerto and Piano Concerto and a song cycle (The Feasts of Fear and Agony, inspired by poems by the Flemish poet Paul Van Ostaijen).

He has received many prizes for his work as a composer: in 1999 he won the Aquarius Composition Competition with Rhapsody for violin and orchestra. In 2002 he won the BAP prize (Belgian Artistic Promotion) awarded by SABAM, for his Trio for clarinet, viola and piano (2000). His String Quartet (2004) and his The Feasts of Fear and Agony (2012) were selected for the ISCM Catalogue (International Society for Contemporary Music). In 2007 he won the Jeugd en Muziek Prijs voor Compositie (Youth & Music Award for Composition) and in 2014 his String Quartet (2004) won the second prize at the International Composition Contest ‘New Note’ in Croatia.

His compositions were commissioned by several organizations: the ‘Festival of Flanders’, the TRANSIT New Music Festival, ‘deSingel’ (Antwerp) and the Ars Musica Festival. His works are performed by (among others) the Arditti Quartet, Hermes Ensemble, I Solisti, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Het Collectief, Oxalys, Blindman Collective, Wibert Aerts, Piet Van Bockstal and Jan Michiels. Furthermore, his works are performed in various Belgian concert houses, including deSingel, BOZAR and the Concertgebouw Brugge. From 2012 his work was also programmed in London and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Croatia, Denmark and Slovakia.

His portret cd (including The Feasts of Fear and Agony, Music for 3 instruments and Improvisations ) recorded by Het Collectief in 2013 (Fuga Libera) was higly praised at home and abroad, including 5 stars in Diapason (Fr) and The Gramophone (GB).

In creating his music Bram Van Camp always strives for a style with an intuitive starting point in which each note can still be explained within its own consistent system. He always keeps a musical and organic sounding result in mind. In this way, his composition system does not constitute a goal in itself, but is used as a means to a natural sounding essence: the actual organic music. To him composing is a quest in which he always tries to renew his style compared to his previous compositions. On the philosophical level a clear similarity with György Ligeti can be detected. His stylistic roots originate from Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg.

Because of his penchant for natural, organic musical freedom, his music is often influenced by jazz music.

Bram Van Camp is professor of composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and at the Academies of Merksem and Schoten. He is also the initiator of The Times, a forum for young composers organized by the Hermes Ensemble, where he acts as coach each year.

Jussen brothers play Roukens

On March 10 the Jussen brothers will give the world premiere of Joey Roukens – In Unison in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. With the Radio Filharmonic Orchestra and conductor Emilio PomàricoIn. Unison was commissioned by the NTR ZaterdagMatinee for the Jussen brothers as soloists…   

Before I started composing, I listened to their CDs and was struck not only by the sparkling brilliance of their playing, but also by the fact that they sounded perfect as a duo. Gradually, the idea arose to write a double concerto in which the two soloists would not sound as two separate soloists, but as if they were as one super pianist on one super piano. This means that there are many unison passages (both pianos having exactly the same notes) in the piece. In any case, the unisono is an element that often pops up in my work, perhaps a legacy of the “Dutch musical tradition.” My plan was to go for the classic design in three parts (fast-slow-fast). While I was working on the piece, I was in a period when I played a lot of Italian baroque concertos on the piano, and something of that pianistic style might be heard in the solo parts in this piece.

(Joey Roukens)

More info about the concert

In Unison at Donemus

Olivier Greif

Olivier Greif was born in Paris on January 3rd, 1950. His father had studied piano in Poland before moving to France and becoming a doctor. A precocious child, Olivier discovered music at age three in a progressive kindergarten. Admitted to the Paris National Conservatory at age ten, he studied piano with Lucette Descaves and composition with Tony Aubin. He received his composition prize in 1967.

In 1970, he went to New York City to study with Luciano Berio in Juilliard School. He followed his master to Santa Fe as an assistant for the creation of Berio’s work Opera.

From 1961 to 1981, he composed a first series of works. His style was quite personal, unaffected by current trends.

Unhinged by the illness and death of his mother (in 1978), he found solace in meditation and the teachings of a New York-based Indian guru. After composing a Requiem sonata for cello and piano celebrating the memory of his mother (in 1979) and a small opera, Nô (in 1981), he stopped writing classical music altogether during ten years. He became his guru’s Kapellmeister. He founded choirs of disciples in France and other European countries, composed pieces for the choirs based on his guru’s words and tunes, went on tour with the French choir around the world.

In 1991, he resumed his career as a classical composer. He wrote a new series of dark and intense pieces, marked by themes he had always been familiar with: the war, his father’s stay in Auschwitz, the loss of most of his family in the death camps. Lettres de Westerbork for voice and two violins (1993) is based on Hetty Hillesum’s letters from the Westerbok camp. Olivier Greif put Paul Celan’s poems to music in his Symphony with voice (1997) and in a great chamber music work, L’office des naufragés (1998). Most of his important works can be heard on YouTube and Spotify.

Having been badly ill twice, he died suddenly at home on May 13, 2000, aged fifty. The autopsy didn’t reveal the cause of his death.

His two brothers, with the help of Olivier’s closest friends, founded an Olivier Greif society to help his music be better known. The society finances concerts, recordings, the engraving and publishing of scores, etc. The society’s website:, includes a list of current concerts, a complete list of concerts since 1957, a biography, a detailed catalog of the music, a list of records, several photographs of Olivier and a form for joining the society

Jean Jacques Greif © 2017

Robert Nasveld by the ‘Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij’

Robert Nasveld together with Ton de Leeuw and Douwe Eisenga in the concert called ‘Time out! by the ‘Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij’ on March 18, 23 and 24 in Soest, Utrecht and Middelburg. World premiere of the new version of the composition ‘My wife and I’ based on hotel reviews presented at by funny Google translations….   

Robert Nasveld wrote the composition Me and my wife (2012/2016) for five and six part choir alone.

Commissioned by the Fonds Podiumkunsten for the Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij, conducted by Fokko Oldenhuis. World premiere April 20, 2013 in the Nicolaï Church in Utrecht within the frame of the Peace of Utrecht. World premiere of the a cappella version March 23, 2018 in the Academiegebouw, Utrecht.

Me and my wife was originally written for accordion, harp, percussion and mixed choir and consists of three songs. The texts are reviews about hotels and restaurants, found on the internet and are only in Dutch (see Dutch page).

The occassional combination of chorus with accordeon, harp and percussion has the disadvantage that the number of performances will be limited. The transcription for five to six part unaccompanied chorus was possible because of the strong independent role of the choir.

The same concert will have a performance of ‘A settee heure du jour’ of Ton de Leeuw and a new work by Douwe Eisenga.

More about the concert by the USC

Me and my wife at Donemus

Website Robert Nasveld

Sioumak and Voronov in premiere at Sochi

Valery Voronov (Germany) – Kanchenjunga (The Five Treasures of the Great Snow); The great elegy for viola and large orchestra
and Alexey Sioumak (Russia) – King Lear; for string quartet, percussion and string orchestra, have both a world premiere at the XI international Winter arts festival in Sochi…   

King Lear’ by Sioumak will be performed by Jury Bashmet and ensemble Moscow Soloists at the gala-opening concert of the festival in Winter Theater.

More about Alexey Sioumak

Info about the concert

The viola-concerto by Valery Voronov inspired by the titel of a painting by Nikolay Rerich will close the same festival in performance by Yury Bashmet and Russian Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Info about the concert

World premiere Cantata by Luc van Hove

On February 20 and March 2 the new Cantata of Luc van Hove will be premiered in Leuven. The work was commissioned by Luca School of Arts, campus Lemmens in Leuven, Belgium. The cantata opus 54 refers to the former religious and spiritual meaning of a cantata….   

The composition reflects on the notion humanity, whether or not supported by religious belief. Four different texts out of three different traditions are put to music: Psalm 22 (Old Testament, in Latin), the Beatitudes from Matthew (New Testament, in English), and two small texts from the Zen-Buddhist tradition (one set to music in an ancient Shino-Japanese language, the other also in English).
The fragment of Psalm 22 depicts man as being thrown on earth surrounded by violence and cruelty. Against that, the other texts show ways for compassionate human behavior, and respect for human life itself.
The composition is written in one movement, though the four different texts mark different characters and tempi as well. The music is predominantly slow and introspective, only interrupted by the faster and more energetic music of the Psalm.
The starting point for my composition was again this Psalm 22, which I already put to music some years ago, then for an a cappella choir. I wanted to create, against the dark and hopeless sentences of that text, a more hopeful perspective for human behavior. The current, ongoing crisis for so many refugees clearly instigated me to write the music.”
(Luc van Hove)

Cantata at Donemus

More about Luc van Hove

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New ‘Chamber Oratorio’ by Kris Oelbrandt

Composer and monk Kris Oelbrandt osco wrote a one hour during chamber oratoria on lyrics of Beatrijs van Nazareth. The world premiere will be exactly 750 years after her death in 1268 at the same monastery of Brecht that rarely opens its doors…   

Beatrice van Nazareth, a Cistercian nun of the 13th-century Flemish abbey Our Lady of Nazareth, wrote the “Seven Manieren van Minne” (Seven Ways of Love), an intriguing and mystical text, carefully composed and full of new ideas. She distinguishes seven feelings in her love to God: desire, rest, heartache, joy, storm, peace and union. It is a unique text in the history of mysticism because of its clarity.

Kris Oelbrandt, who lives at the abbey of ‘Koningshoeven’, composed music on these lyrics. The work is written for mezzo-soprano, violin and harp. The performers are Els Mondelaers, Johan Olof and Liesbeth Vreeburg.

More about Beatrijs van Nazareth

An English translation of the texts

Score of the composition of Kris Oelbrandt

‘The Riot of Spring’ performed in Verona, Lyon and Omsk

The Riot of Spring for tape and orchestra gets numerous performances at outstanding concert venues, including Verona, Lyon and Omsk. After being performed in Russia, Germany, Spain etc, this work will have 3 other performances in February. The score consists of just 2 pages of text. But the effect on the audience is very appealing…  

In my “The Riot of Spring” I question myself: “What is folklore today? What bears today the energy of the collective unconscious? Is it destructive or neutral for the elite post-postmodernistic consciousness? Is it compatible with the academic concert situation?”
The answers to these questions I try to find in turning to the rave culture, to the electronic music – dubstep, idm, d&b. This is not an attempt to imitate the existing genre, not an “away match”, but a rave prepared by the composers’ perception and, not to a lesser extent, an experience of the composer’s perception preparation by the rave.
I decided consciously not to synthesize new sounds, working with sound samples the way composers worked with folk or, to go deeper, with ready instrumental sounds and timbres in the European tradition. However, the structuring of the material follows the logic I used while working with a more familiar to me instrumental material.
Trying to define the genre of “The Riot of Spring” I’d derive a term “technoballet”, or “electroballet”.
At the same time, it is evident that the words “riot” and “spring” are full of connotations with the actual situation in Russia. I’m quite far from the politics, however, the situation we live in directly or indirectly influences us, induces to act or to reflect.
(Dmitri Kourliandski)

The Riot of Spring in the Donemus Webshop

Michael Fine ‘At the Gate’; world premiere in Mexico

An orchestral overture ‘ At The Gate’ by Michael Fine will be performed in Mexico in the philharmonics regular subscription series.
‘This orchestral overture has nothing to do with airports…   

‘This orchestral overture has nothing to do with airports, though my friends may easily make this assumption due to the peripatetic nature of my work, but rather the beautiful gate at Deoksugang Palace in Seoul. Although surrounded by modern buildings, the Gate opens to the graceful and elegant palace grounds taking one back to another Korea before western influences. The overture reflects both worlds but ends in the distant past or at least the way I imagine it was.’(Michael Fine)

Premiere Olga Victorova in Vilnius (Lithuania)

The new composition “Sutartines” for violin solo and string orchestra was commissioned to Olga Victorova by the Lithuanian chamber orchestra and its artistic director, famous violinst-virtouse Sergey Krylov. The piece is based on Lithuanian folk songs, taken from a book by Z. Slavjunas “Sutartines, Polyphonic chants of Lithuanian folk”….  

Sutartines” is to be performed without a conductor. A soloist moves freely on the stage while performing and playing Lithuanian sutartines to different orchestra groups that repeat the themes canonically.

The Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and its Artistic Director and Conductor violinist Sergej Krylov (picture) commence the celebration of the centenary of the re-establishment of Lithuanian statehood, which will be widely celebrated in the country.

Olga Victorova’s huge oratorio “Exodus” will be premiered in Nantes on February 3 with 2 more upcoming performances.

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