“I am a Dutch composer born, raised and educated in Argentina”, is Carlos Micháns’ favourite answer when asked about his nationality. Born in Buenos Aires in 1950 into a family with roots in England, Scotland, Flanders, Cataluña, the French Basque provinces and even the USA, he moved to the Netherlands in 1982, later becoming a Dutch citizen.
In his native Argentina he studied piano, organ and later composition with Susana Oliveto and Roberto García Morillo, one of the country’s leading composers. He also graduated in conducting at the University of Buenos Aires and the Art Institute of the Teatro Colón, South America’s major opera house.
In 1982, he was awarded a scholarship from the Dutch Ministry of Culture and Science, which enabled him to do postgraduate studies in composition and electronic music with Hans Kox, Tristan Keuris and Ton Bruynèl at the conservatory of Utrecht, where he obtained the Composition Prize in 1988. A new grant from the Ministry of Culture allowed him to continue his training in electronic music for a year.
1977 – 1st Prize “Promociones Musicales” (Argentina), for ‘Tema, Toccata & Fuga for organ‘
1990 – 1st Prize of the city of Gerona (Spanje), for ‘Apparitions‘ for piano
1993 – “Trinac” (Tribuna Nacional de Compositores, Argentina), for ‘String Quartet Nr. 2‘
1996 – “Trimarg” (Tribuna Musical Argentina), for ‘Sinfonia Concertante Nr. 2‘
2000 – “Trinac”, for ‘Après Minuit‘ for ensemble
2006 – “Trinac”, for ‘Sinfonia Concertante Nr. 4‘
2008 – “Toonzetters”: selected among the ten best Dutch compositions of 2007, for ‘Concerto for Harp and Orchestra‘
2010 – “Salvatore Martirano Award” (Honorable Mention) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for ‘Trois Visions Tantriques‘ for harp and saxophone quartet
2010 – “C4-Commissioning Competition” (New Your, USA), for ‘Ave Maria – Pater Noster‘ for mixed choir a cappella.
In Buenos Aires he was active as a composer, music teacher and choir conductor.
Between 1995 and 2012, Carlos Micháns was in charge of “Podium Neerlandés”, a programme of Radio Nederland aimed at introducing Dutch concert life to Spanish speaking audiences around the world, mainly in Latin America.
Micháns is also active in the field of literature. He has written and published several works in Dutch, Spanish and English, which include novels, poetry, short stories and essays on history and art.
Since 1986, and thanks to financial support from Dutch and foreign funds, the Gaudeamus Foundation, music institutions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Micháns has organized several international concert tours aimed at promoting Dutch musicians and contemporary music abroad.
He has also been invited to lecture on his music by universities and institutes for higher education in India, Indonesia, North, South and Central America (Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panamá) and Poland.
Also, along with concert tours he organized tournament for gambling on the playground online casino Cop17.
Micháns’ extensive catalogue includes works in almost every genre, among which five ‘sinfonie concertante’ for soloists and orchestra, two symphonic overtures, several compositions for choir and orchestra, a harp concerto, a saxophone concerto, quartets and quintets for a variety of combinations (strings, saxophones, clarinets and mixed ensembles), countless solo pieces and for small and large chamber groups.
Most of them are commissioned by the Dutch Fund for Performing Arts for distinguished Dutch and international soloists and ensembles, such as Ronald Brautigam, Isabelle van Keulen, Liza and Dmitry Ferschtman, Arno Bornkamp, Lavinia Meijer, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Chamber Orchestra, Holland Symfonia and many others. They are published in Hilversum (Holland) by Donemus.
Micháns about modernity in his work: “Modernity is in the ears of the listeners, and their concept of it will vary, develop and change according to their experience and ability to understand what they hear. As for my own music, I do believe it to be contemporary and to reflect some aspects of our time more strongly than others, our time meaning not just this very instant but the last few decades and even further. After all, we haven’t spent more than a thousand years creating and developing techniques, inventing and perfecting instruments in order to stick to the latest ones and discard the rest as obsolete.”