Spiros Mazis

Spiros Mazis was born in Corfu, Greece. His creative and critical thinking has always been the starting point of his compositional activity. Most of his works are based upon extramusical ideas that derive from contemporary views of Physics and Mathematics, which are transferred with as much fidelity as possible, to the musical structure.

His research is based on exploring the harmonic series and the relations among their partials with a way that he names Multiharmonic Modes or Multi-spectral Modes. The first work in which he exploits the connection between music and mathematics, was Nine Variations on an Arithmetical, Sonic and Geometrical Drawing for large orchestra, in 1985.

He has invented a system of new fingerings for microtonal intervals for brass which can perform just intonation scales with real fingerings. Fifteen of his works have been distinguished in composition contests around the world.

His works for orchestra have been performed by the Athens State Orchestra; Greek Orchestra of Colours; Bulgarian String Orchestra Beograska; Italian Symphony Orchestra of Meran; American String Orchestra of Charleston; Louisiana Symphonietta; German Symphony Orchestra of Marburg; Helvetian Orchestra Santa Maria; German woodwinds orchestra from Langenargen; German Symphony Orchestra of Neckarsulm; Bavarian Classic Orchestra and the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra.

He holds a Degree in Composition with Distinction and First Prize from Athens with Yannis Ioannidis, and PhD in Music Composition with Thomas Simaku at York University, England. He attended composition seminars with Theodore Antoniou and Iannis Xenakis in Greece and Tristan Murail and Marco Stroppa in Hungary. He attended Computer and Electronic Music seminars, with Kostas Moschos, David Waxman and Andrea Szigetvari.

He is Professor in Composition and Director of the Classical and Contemporary Music Conservatory in Athens, and a board member of the Greek Composers Union.

Aftab Darvishi

Aftab Darvishi (Tehran, 1987) started taking violin lessons when she was five. Later on the kamancheh (an Iranian bowed string instrument) and the piano followed. She studied music at the University of Tehran and composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where her teachers included Martijn Padding and Yannis Kyriakides.

Aftab Darvishi started to play the violin when she was 5, As she grew older she got in touch with more instruments like Kamancheh (Iranian string instrument) and more specific with classical Piano.

Aftab has studied Music Performance at the University of Tehran, Composition at Royal Conservatory of The Hague and Composing for film-and at the same time- Karnatic Music (South Indian music) at Conservatory of Amsterdam.

Aftab has presented her music in various festivals in Europe and Asia working with various ensembles such as Kronos Quartet, Hermes ensemble and working with companies like World Lap Opera in many productions.

In 2014, Aftab was shortlisted for the 20th young composer meeting in Apeldoorn (Netherlands) and in 2015, she won the music education award from Listhus artistic residency to hold Music workshops for teachers at Music school of Fjallabyggd, Iceland.

She is a former member of KhZ ensemble; an experimental electronic ensemble with the supervision of Yannis Kyriakides that has performed in various festivals such as Holland festival.

Since 2015, She has been regularly invited as a guest lecturer to the University of Tehran.

In October 2016, She was awarded the prestigious Tenso Young Composers Award 2016 for her piece And the world stopped Lacking you… for a capella choir. In 2017, Aftab was commissioned by San Francisco’s Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet to write a piece for Fifty for the future: The Kronos Learning repertoire. A project devoted to the most contemporary approaches to the string quartet, designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals.

She continued her collaboration with Kronos, with creating a new piece for Music for change- The Banned countries- A project as a direct protest to the 2017 executive orders limiting travel to the United States. With the support of Stanford University.

Chmielewska, Aleksandra

Aleksandra Chmielewska, born in Warsaw (1993), a Polish composer of the young generation. She graduated in composition by the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw,  she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and a chair of the Young Composers Society of Poland. 

She creates orchestral, chamber and choral music, that has been performed in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Slovenia, USA, Hungary, Austria, India by such musicians as Symphony Orchestre of Lviv, Symphony Orchestre of Lublana, Leopoldinum Orchestre, Choir of Narodowe Forum Muzyki, Vogler Quartett, E-MEX Ensemble, Polish Chamber Choir and many others. 

Since she studied History of Arts, she is particularly interested in connections between music and visual arts – that is why her compositions are often program music. Currently she is working on her Ph.D. dissertation – an opera about the life of Frida Kahlo.

Aleksandra Chmielewska is also a writer. In 2014 her debut novel „Uczeń Czarnoksiężnika” was released. She also created a radio play for children „Tam gdzie mieszka cisza”, that received numerous awards in Poland.

Her music was released by such labels as NFM recordings, Dux, Chopin University Press.

Vanessa Lann – Rise

Rise is a modern work, yet also fun and accessible for both the musicians and the audience. The piece gives bassoonists the opportunity to be in the spotlight, supported by their fellow orchestral players (a real change from their all-too-often accompanying role at the back of the symphony orchestra!).

The work was premiered on November 17, 2017, by the Netherlands’ Van Wassenaer Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Boers. The soloists were Martine Reurings and Dick Hanemaayer. Since that time Rise has been performed twice more by the Netherlands’ Airchestra, under conductor Johan Olof.

The version of Rise in this fragment is the original version, for chamber orchestra. And it is equally suitable for performances by larger orchestras. A symphony orchestra version has been published as well and includes the original parts as well as additional orchestral instruments. (read more…)

The piece (in the chamber orchestra version) is available online from the publishing house Donemus. Amateur orchestras receive a reduction in costs. The staff at Donemus are also available to answer any questions: info@donemus.nl.

Short description of the work.

Rise, for two bassoons and orchestra, was composed at the request of the Dutch Bassoon Network, an initiative taken as part of the Year of the Bassoon 2016. Their goal was the creation of a piece to be performed by amateur orchestral players and soloists, and that the bassoons have the most prominent role possible.

The composer had intensive working contact with the commissioners, solo bassoonists and orchestra during the composition and rehearsals for Rise. Both soloists (Martine Reurings and Dick Hanemaayer) made copious suggestions, starting with their own wishes as players but also including ideas about the instrument, extended techniques and performing practice. The Dutch Bassoon Network successfully applied for a grant from the Dutch Performing Arts Foundation to fund the composition of the work, and Donemus Publishers agreed to special price reductions for amateur orchestras worldwide. The piece was premiered by the Van Wassenaer Orchestra, Martine Reurings and Dick Hanemaayer on November 17, 2017, conducted by Benjamin Boers.

The music: in the first movement the two solo bassoonists call to each other from different positions, the second bassoonist sitting in the back of the orchestra and the first standing next to the conductor in the traditional soloist’s position. The music leaps back and forth between the two bassoonists – from a middle D-flat to a low C – their motives gradually taken over seamlessly by the other orchestral players. At the end of this movement the meaning of the word “rise” becomes ever clearer. In the second movement the two soloists circle around each other with driving rhythms, the orchestra answering them while dancing in irregular meters. Movement three brings back the sounds and instrumental patterns of the first movement. At the end of this movement the bassoonists get the chance to improvise within suggested patterns, incorporating trills, glissandi, references to famous works – anything they come up with. The rhythmic dances of the fourth movement lead to a surprising conclusion where the bassoonists have the last word…

If you’d prefer to order Rise, but in the version for symphony orchestra, please read more here.

Rise at the webshop of Donemus


Austin Yip

Born in Hong Kong, Austin Yip’s works have been performed worldwide. Places like the United States, Argentina, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, China and Australia have seen traces of his performance records. His musical creations are very diverse, ranging from orchestral piece to electroacoustic works, from Western orchestral to folk instruments. All the above shows his knowledge and creativity upon different styles of music.

Yip has participated in numerous music festivals, in which he has worked closely with many world-renowned performers and ensembles. Festivals he participated include the ISCM (Beijing), ACL 2017 (Japan), Thailand International Composition Festival (Thailand), London New Wind Festival (UK), ACL (Vietnam), 17th World Saxophone Congress (France), Singapore Saxophone Symposium, ACL (Singapore), International Rostrum of Composers (Czech), Sguardi Sonori (Italy), World Saxophone Congress (Scotland), Intimacy of Creativity, Hong Kong Arts Festival, ISCM (Australia), ACL (Japan), WOCMAT (Taiwan), Yogyakarta Contemporary Music Festival (Indonesia), Shanghai Conservatory of Music New Music Week, Asian Art & Cultural Workshop (Korea), Asia Culture Forum (Korea), Hong Kong Asian Film Festival etc. Yip has received commissions from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio and Television Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Composers’ Guild, Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, HellHOT! New Music Festival and more.

Yip received his PhD and Master of Philosophy degrees at the University of Hong Kong under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Chan with the support from the University Postgraduate Fellowship and University Postgraduate Studentship. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Music) degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a “high distinction in general scholarship”, and a FTCL in composition. Yip is the holder of CASH Golden Sail Music Award 2017 with his orchestral work “Metamorphosis”, 2018 Chou’s Annual Composition Commission Award, James Kitagawa Memorial Music Scholarship, Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship, Henry Holbrook Scholarship, James King Scholarship, Eisner Prize, Milton C. Witzel Memorial Prize, Rayson Huang Scholarship and CASH Best Commissioned Piece Award.

Yip’s works are published by ABRSM (UK), BabelScores (France), Ablaze Records (US), Navona Records (US), Hugo Production and Hong Kong Composers Guild. He is the chairman of Toolbox Percussion, and is currently a lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Jan-Peter de Graaff – De Grens

De Grens (The Border)
The year is 1918: World War I is nearing its end. The German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, arrives at the Dutch border as an exile from his own country, seeking asylum in the Netherlands. However, the Dutch government was not notified in advance of the Kaiser’s arrival and takes its time to decide whether the royal visitor is welcome.

Pending the government’s decision, the Kaiser (mezzo-soprano Eva Kroon) is stuck at the railway station of Eijsden, a small town at the southern border of the Netherlands. At the station, he meets the station manager (soprano Ginette Puylaert), a man whose character, lineage and political views are in complete dissonance with those of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The two gentlemen have a fiery discussion, but despite all the differences, they have one thing in common: a total lack of control over their own situation.

A historical event with a contemporary twist, wrapped into a compact chamber opera: De Grens is an attractive performance of 25 up to 45 minutes that brings new music close to the audience. The length is flexible because the two scenes can be performed separately. Due to its small setup – two singers and five instrumentalists – De Grens can be performed both in concert halls and on less traditional locations, such as industrial buildings or living rooms, and even multiple times on the same day. The chamber opera makes use of unique film material from 1918, supplemented with new footage.

Cast & crew
Eva Kroon and Ginette Puylaert, who play the two male characters, are highly accomplished singers on their way to the top of the opera world, and both participated in young talent projects at the Dutch National Opera. They are accompanied by violinist Pieter van Loenen (Finalist and Audience Prize winner Dutch National Violin Competition 2016) and the ensemble But What About, who together form an active part of the dramaturgy. The ensemble But What About consists of clarinet, accordion, double bass and percussion and won the Grote Kamermuziekprijs 2016 of the conservatories of The Hague and Rotterdam.

The music has been composed by the young Dutch composer Jan-Peter de Graaff, based on a libretto by Yuri Robbers. The performance is directed by Saskia Bonarius. Film images have been shot and mixed with original 1918 footage by Caroline Keman.

The resulting 25-minute chamber opera De Grens premiered in Vught on April 22nd and was met with spectacularly enthusiastic responses. The entire cast & crew of this chamber opera agreed that this project was so special – and the suspense with regard to the Kaiser’s fate so unbearable – that a second scene has been created, making a full-length performance of De Grens last a good 45 minutes.

music: Jan-Peter de Graaff
libretto: Yuri Robbers
director: Saskia Bonarius

Kaiser Wilhelm II: Eva Kroon (mezzo-soprano)
station manager: Ginette Puylaert (soprano)

music performed by: But What About,
featuring on violin: Pieter van Loenen

bass clarinet: Vincent Martig
accordion: Wilco Oomkes
percussion: Antonio Pierna García
double bass: Julián Sarmiento Escobar

film and images: Caroline Keman

Performances confirmed
12-08-2018 Culemborg, NJO Muziekzomer (try-out)
16-08-2018 Amsterdam, Grachtenfestival (try-out 2x) 17:00 & 19:30
17-08-2018 Amsterdam, Grachtenfestival (try-out 2x) 17:00 & 19:30
25-09-2018 Kerkrade, Parkstad Limburg Theaters (premiere) 20:30
16-10-2018 Maastricht, Ainsi 20:00
07-11-2018 Den Bosch, November Music 19:00

Vladimir Rannev – Prose

PROSE is an opera based on texts by Yury Mamleev and Anton Chekhov, whom the creators of this opera consider to be two of the harshest, most uncompromising writers in the 150 year tradition of Russian realism. A full century separates the times in which they worked, but their manner of exploring human nature and social relationships is timely even today – or, to be exact, is especially timely today. Composer Vladimir Rannev interprets Yury Mamleev’s story “The Bridegroom (1980), and fragments of Chekhov’s story “The Steppe (1888) as di erent stages in the development of a single story. The former is an example of “cruel” prose, the latter is meditative and virtually event-free.

Mamleev’s story is simultaneously the hyper-realistic and phantasmagorical exploration of an incident that occurs in a common Russian family, changing it radically and incontrovertibly.

The boy Yegorushka, the hero of Chekhov’s “The Steppe,” is traveling to be raised by distant relatives. He is thrilled by the natural world surrounding him, but is already preparing for the discovery of a new, alien and terrifying world – the world of people.

We see before us a single person, captured at di erent moments in his life, as if Chekhov and Mamleev had written about one and the same life, and the very same anxieties. The di erent types of texts give rise to a tension that dictates a principal di erence in the way they are presented. In turn, this gives rise to the dramaturgical nature of the opera, and helps reveal to the viewer a statement about the complex nature of the relationships among people in contemporary society.

Composed and directed by Vladimir Rannev
Designed by Marina Alexeeva
Lighting designed by Sergei Vasilyev
Musical director: Arina Zvereva

Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes
First night: November 20, 2017,
at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow

The press about Prose

Nezavisimaya gazeta
“This composition is capable of stunning. It is a radical great-grandson of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk. Vladimir Rannev employs musicians of tremendous virtuosity, who, for almost an hour and a half, work on the outer limits of their physical capabilities.” (November 22, 2017)

“A miracle has happened at the Electrotheatre. The appearance of this production should be compared with the landing of aliens. Rannev’s Prose, based on stories by Chekhov and Mamleev, is a completely new degree of thinking. It is impossible to imagine what kind of hellish work must stand behind the subtle and fragile beauty of the vocal ensemble’s work.” (November 22, 2017)

Rossisskaya gazeta
“Suspense, aesthetic bliss, and philosophical freedom – this is what the viewer conquered by this modern opera remains with.” (November 26, 2017) 

“A performance of technological harmony and beauty, in which the interplay of textures is not inferior to the richness of the music.” (November 23, 2017)

“In the absence of instrumental accompaniment, which makes the vocals seem especially ethereal, one hears the pulse of that genuine ‘life of the human spirit,’ which Stanislavsky dreamed of materializing on stage. Vladimir Rannev’s opera Prose is an important milestone in the biography of the genre.” (December 1, 2017)

The Village
“Complexity is what Rannev demonstrates with this show. Forget literary meanings –the complexity here of form alone, both theatrical and musical, is sufficient.” (December 1, 2017)

Max Knigge

Max Knigge (1984) started playing the violin at the age of eight, and switched to viola at seventeen. Max studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. As an instrumentalist Max plays with orchestras and ensembles in the Netherlands, with focus on contemporary repertoire.

Besides viola, Max studied composing with Daan Manneke, Willem Jeths and Wim Henderickx in Amsterdam. His style is adventurous and based on resonance. If possible, he tries to create for each ensemble its own sound, in a narrow collaboration with the musicians.

His compositions are performed by a.o. Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Nobuko Imai, Ensemble Ludwig, Amstel Quartet, Dudok Quartet, members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Duo Hochscheid-Van Ruth. In 2006 Max won the first prize in the Ricciotti Arrangers Competition, in September 2007 Max was awarded the second prize of the NOG Young Composers Concours for his orchestral work Nazomer,

Latest publications

Zaid Jabri

Zaid Jabri was born in Damascus. His mother is a renowned modernist artist and his father a retired director of television and theatre. His background and early interest in music alerted him to the dense and long histories of shared and reworked harmonic and instrumental strategies across such divides as East and West. The intersection of Western and Middle Eastern musical traditions converge in his compositions.

Drawn to music from an early age, he studied violin with Riyad Sukar in Damascus. At the age of 19, he was accepted at the Academy of Music in Kraków where he completed his M. A. degree with honors and then pursued his doctorate under the directorship of Zbigniew Bujarski and Krzysztof Penderecki. He obtained his doctorate in 2014.

While still studying for his doctorate, Zaid Jabri began receiving international recognition when he won the prestigious Adam Didur Composers’ Competition in Sanok in 1997 for his “Two Songs for Soprano and String Orchestra.” The following year he was appointed Artist/Composer in residence at the Istanbul Bilgi University Music Department during Polish Composer’s Week. He was an instructor at the Krakow Academy of music and currently a resident composer at The Norwegian University of Sciense and Technology.

Jabri is also committed to facilitating the future careers of young musicians and composers, serving on juries for AFAC, the Adam Didur Composers’ Competition, ‘2 Agosto,’ Bilgi University and the Gdańsk Academy of Music.

He has lectured at Barnard College and Columbia University in New York, Harvard University, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Bilgi University in Istanbul, the Gdańsk Academy of Music, the Onassis Centre in Athens, and Alwan for Arts in New York, and The University of Victoria in Canada.

Zaid Jabri’s work has been performed in Belgium, Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Syria, Tunisia, the Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA. His work as featured at numerous festivals that include: the MATA Festival in New York, the SALT New Music Festival in Victoria, Canada, the Mediterranean Voices Project, the Oriental Landscape Festival in Damascus, the Musiikin Aika Festival in Helsinki, ECLAT in Stuttgart, the Modern Music Festival in Kiev, Ravenna Festival, the Festival of Polish Premiers of Contemporary Music in Katowice, and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. His works have been commissioned and performed internationally by such ensembles as Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica, the English Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Zera n, the Orchestra of the Teatro Communale, Bologne, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Neue Vocalsolisten, Stuttgart, the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra.

His recent compositions demonstrate the range of his skills. These include: A Garden Among the Flames,  for soprano, baritone, children’s choir, mixed choir and orchestra, Altum, for cello and accordion, Variation on (R)evolution, for mezzo-soprano, violin and piano and Glyptos 2, for tape, flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano, violin and bass

One of his most ambitious current undertakings is the score for the opera Cities of Salt, based on the novel by Abdulrahman Munif, with a libretto by Yvette Christianse and Rosalind Morris. Four scenes and an intermezzo were showcased at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theater as part of the Shubbak Festival in July 2015.

Ziad Jabri is the recipient of prestigious fellowships and residencies. In 2011 he held a Tactus Composer’s residency and, in the same year was admitted to the Polish National Composer’s union (KZP). He also received the George Evans memorial fellowship at the Virginia Centre for the Creative Arts in the United States (2014), the Tactus Young Composers Forum residency in Belgium (2012), and a residential fellowship with the Rockefeller Foundation/Bellagio Centre (2015). In 2016-2017 he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institution at Harvard University. He is currently a resident composer at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway

In addition to the 1997 Adam Didur Composers’ Competition in Sanok, Poland, for his Two Songs for soprano and string orchestra, and second prize at the 2012 ‘2 Agosto’ Competition in Bologna with Les Temps des pierres for baritone and symphony orchestra.

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