Rick van Veldhuizen: recording of ‘unde imber et ignes’ released

Rick van Veldhuizen (1994) wrote unde imber et ignes at the behest of Manoj Kamps, the conductor of the 2020 tour of the Nederlands Studenten Orkest. The brief was to write a piece for soprano and orchestra to be featured among the behemoths that are Richard Wagner’s ‘Vorspiel und Liebestod’ and Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’, with the theme of this intense evening – fittingly – being ‘ecstasy’…   

In close collaboration with conductor Manoj Kamps and soloist Katharine Dain, unde imber et ignes came into existence. The piece, on an original text by the composer, describes the mutual sexual yearning of the orchestra and the soloist, who engage in a courtship over the span of the piece. The soloist does not sing from a female perspective, but rather embodies a dark, universal undercurrent within human sexuality that is neither male nor female.

Some orchestra members start out in the hall, playing unusual percussion instruments such as rubber gloves, chains and duct tape or instrumental musique concrète, and the first song does not start until the orchestra is complete on stage. At that point, a titillating game starts between the vocal lines and the orchestra, who first assert themselves and in the end merge, ecstatically, into one mutant being.

During the ten days of rehearsal, a theatrical concept came together with input from the conductor, the soloist, the composer, and the orchestra itself. It involved a gradual change of appearance and costume for the orchestra and soloist to ‘merge’ not only musically but visually and viscerally.

As usual, Van Veldhuizen employs microtonal just intonation within an almost uncomfortably tonal framework, which renders the music both gutsy and elusive, and uses colourful and experimental instrumentation techniques.

‘I am beyond thankful to have worked so intensively with Manoj and Katharine – who apart from astounding musicians are wonderful human beings – as well as getting to know all the individual, talented members of the Nederlands Studenten Orkest. Together, and truly collaboratively, we put together more than a concert: it was an experience. It is an honour to have this visceral fantasy sung, acted and embodied so well.’

‘The evening’s stunner was Van Veldhuizen’s unde imber et ignes, who had indulged in the huge orchestra at his disposal. The ambitious and overflowing piece explored a myriad of effects: spatial placement in the hall, unorthodox percussion, massive tutti, beautifully elaborate soundscapes. In boisterous and somewhat bombastic lyrics the piece sang of sexuality beyond the norm, in a kind of theatrical courtship between orchestra and soprano Dain. Van Veldhuizen’s sonic imagination was fantastic, with a trio for metal tub, chain and water as a highlight.’

‘In the new, daring and successful piece by Rick van Veldhuizen [soprano Katharine Dain and conductor Manoj Kamps] were also in excellent form.’

Play-along Album for Bassoon by Chiel Meijering

Composer Chiel Meijering has written seven Albums for Bassoon and Electronics. Donemus has published the first score and released the recording…   

Chiel Meijering’s Happy Hours was performed by Vincent Martig during the event “Music for Empry Spaces”, a live stream concert from an empty Main Hall in Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ. This work marked the beginning of a series of compositions for bassoon and electronics. The first of seven Albums for Bassoon and Audio Tracks is now available at Donemus. Both the score and the soundtrack are available in Donemus webshop, so the bassoonists can play along with the audio. 

The full recording, with Kathleen McLean on the bassoon, is available on the label Donemus Crossovers at Spotify, Apple Music and many more digital platforms. The score includes a QR code to the digital release. This offers a great opportunity to bassoonists all over the world to listen to the version including the bassoon, as well as to play along themselves with the soundtrack offered with the score.

More Albums are in preparation, also in the version for (soprano and baritone) saxophone, as well as bass clarinet.


Link to the score in the Donemus Catalogue

Link to the Album on Apple Music

Oscar van Dillen – 12 Eludes, score and recording

Oscar van Dillen wrote 12 Eludes in all key signatures dedicated as a musical offering to Elise van Rosmalen-van Dillen. The score has been published and the audio is released on a number of digital platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify…

The title Elude is derived from the verb to elude = to avoid cunningly or adroitly (Penguin Reference 2001), which has as noun the word elusion. However, the composer chose to create for this music the new noun Elude, in assonance to Prelude and words like it, such as Postlude, Interlude etc. Therefore, as pre-lude means fore-play, inter-lude in-between-play, and post-lude means after-play, thus e-lude means outside-play. This music plays outside of and around tonal, modal and atonal systems, even outside a single style, and enters and leaves such musics at will, never completely bound to each set of formulas and conventions. It is precisely therefore that there are 12, each in its unique key signature, and not 24, as in keys (major and minor set apart), as is the case in similar keyboard collections by Bach, Chopin and Shostakovich. The 12 Eludes each have their own way of playing outside of mode and key, using a simple, technically mostly 2-voice based, setting.

The setting a technically 2-voice mostly, this leaves an open space in harmonic sound, because all redundant tones are left out. The overall sound created by the open intervallic structure of the work as a whole results in a transparent sound and a unique harmony. The contrapuntal score is written in a concise and precise way to achieve this openness and transparency. Moreover, the precise register placement of a wealth of pitches within the time-frame of each phrase, enables several parallel and simultaneous harmonic interpretations. The tonally trained ears may hear various tonal implications, whereas the more modally trained ears will be keener to pick up on some modal suggestions and meanings, all contained in this fully chromatic music. This polysemy is intentional and is what lies behind the original idea of the Eludes in the first place: a common reality for an audience, yet with a truly wide variety of experiences and interpretations, both emotionally and technically.

The score on purpose omits indications of tempo, dynamics, phrasing and pedalling; the performer instead is trusted with all these to decide. Contrary to his custom in his other scores, the composer left this open, feeling that in this particular work a capable individual interpreter’s choices, of course logically based on and connected to the note text itself, should be preferred. This modus operandi allows for a wider variety of possible performances and expressions.

The work was originally conceived for piano, but should with some registration adaptations certainly allow for performance by various keyboard instruments too, such as organ and harpsichord, and beyond that for accordion, and marimba or vibraphone. A piano version realized by the composer was released on streaming media at the time of publishing of this score.

In a certain way, this book consists of two parts: the 7 parts I-VII and then the 5 parts VIII-XII, both parts being of similar duration, even though the second part of this cycle is slightly longer than the first. Thus, for performance purposes also a half cycle can be chosen, as can of course an individual piece.

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Music

Score in the Donemus Catalogue

The Art of Dutch Keyboard Music – Jacob Bogaart

Donemus is excited to bring the digital release of this wonderful anthology of Dutch keyboard works. This 8-CD box, produced in 2015, soon went out of stock and wasn’t available any longer. The box is now re-released at the label ‘Donemus Musicians’ Voice’. At certain platforms such as Primephonic, the listeners can read the booklet as well. Displayed on 138 pages in Dutch and English, the booklet gives a rich overview on Dutch keyboard music spanning over the last four centuries…   

An excerpt from the booklet: 

The typical, yet regrettable responses when high-quality Dutch compositions, whether from the near or distant past, are rescued from oblivion are ‘not bad’, or, the epitome of sarcasm: ‘untypically Dutch good’. Such qualifications are a clear indication of the popular belief that this country was musically of little consequence. The absurdity of it is that, in spite of the most wonderful record and CD productions, we still have insufficient knowledge of what we represent, and not just since the last century. 

The CD editions with works by Diepenbrock, Keuris, and Schat, the Residentie Orchestra’s record box with 400 years of Dutch music; or the rich catalogues of both Donemus and Attacca, have made unmistakably and ostensibly clear how frequently that so-called un-Dutch level is as Dutch as tulips and windmills. Nonetheless, there are still considerable gaps in the proffered repertoire of records, CDs and the like, as well as in the concert hall. The present edition of 400 years of Dutch keyboard music is, in a veritable relay race of recording premieres, a vast journey of discovery.

The structural neglect of Dutch music has imprinted on the populace a particularly one-dimensional image of its native music history. The holes in the cheese are nearly larger than the cheese that holds them! After Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, whose name is taught by the better schools as the ‘First Great Dutch Composer’ there was a lull of nearly three centuries. Then around 1890, the introverted classicist Alphons Diepenbrock emerged as the Second Grandmaster, praised to high heaven throughout his difficult life with accolades that could never sustain a great man. In the 20th century, the composer’s genealogy hopscotched from Willem Pijper and a bit of Henk Badings to Matthijs Vermeulen, past the Second World War to Rudolf Escher, Ton de Leeuw, Hans Kox, Peter Schat, Jan van Vlijmen, Tristan Keuris, Louis Andriessen, Theo Loevendie, and a handful more of Dutch Masters whose significance only vaguely sinks in. 

There is no national family tree, no linear evolution in the Austro-German tradition constructing a line from Bach to Beethoven via Schumann, to Brahms and Schönberg, or by way of a second developmental line from Bach to Beethoven and Wagner to that same Schönberg, channeling the two currents to that one riverbed in which the arts can flow orderly from A to B. Our awareness of historic and stylistic connections between composers and their oeuvres is rudimentary, and composers’ knowledge of their hinterland is so fragmentary, with their orientation to the foreign often so strong, that it has been impossible for a national tradition ever to emerge – one Willem Pijper clone or ‘Haagse school’ does not fill the bill. Dutch orchestras and ensembles seldom perform Pijper, Vermeulen, Schat, or Loevendie, let alone Verhulst, Zweers, or Diepenbrock. In general, a Dutch composer exists only until he breathes his last: of the masters and journeymen who reared their heads in the no-man’s land presumed between Sweelinck and Diepenbrock, we no longer have any inkling. The most auspicious examples have simply become street names near the Concertgebouw: Van Breestraat and Verhulststraat. 

It is not surprising that Dutch composers, even the best, are angry: angry at their country and often at each other. In 1911, Matthijs Vermeulen declared, “Dutch composers, thou art worth no more than simple organ-grinders – thou art the puppets in a Punch and Judy show, old trumpets, dilapidated timpanies.” In 1949, Henriëtte Bosmans writes to that same Vermeulen that ‘the best a Dutch artist has to offer perishes if he stays in Holland, where he is denied possibilities, where he is renounced, where others try to convince the audience to deny his existence.’ That is the disadvantage of being a ‘village’. Everyone is mad at everyone else, and it’s always the neighbor’s fault. After all, how could your next door neighbor possibly be so great? 

If this is the situation regarding concert music, how difficult must it be for the keyboard department? The organ repertoire can still rely on the church, but the fate of Dutch harpsichord and piano music is lamentable. Up and until the 18th century, it functioned as salon music but once concert hall music comes into existence in the 19th century, Dutch solo repertoire became second choice. In piano recitals both before and after the Liszt era, the master pianists played Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and their own compositions, but no obscure Dutch fare, unless they themselves happen to be composers. Rival concert pianists such as Leander Schlegel and the virtuoso Dirk Schäfer could prove their own composing talents in the concert hall, but after their deaths, their names sunk into oblivion even though they should be household words today. 

Illustrative for the situation is that for pianist Jacob Bogaart, the initiator of this edition of four centuries of Dutch keyboard music, collecting the repertoire was an archeological exercise that, notwithstanding a number of lengthy intervals, kept him out of mischief for three decades. The bulk of the material that he wrested from the claws of obscurity lay blanketed with dust, but what he excavated from libraries and archives is the concealed history of a music culture with no significant evolutionary gaps. There was indeed life after Sweelinck; there was Dutch baroque music for keyboard instruments, classicists who composed sonatas, and romanticism of a certain specific gravity. These outweigh the endless parade of followers whom Eduard Reeser in his book Een eeuw Nederlandse muziek (A century of Dutch music, ed.) spurns with a disparaging shake of the head, bestowing restrained clemency on the one rare bird that dared soar above the rest. 

But how important exactly is this insight? Well actually, as important as the music itself of course, which in many cases is of a decent caliber. But even a repertoire of a less exalted quality can have a specific charm. Van Bree’s competently created salon compositions reveal an upright citizen’s contentment which is as sociologically interesting as an audible complement to Hildebrand’s Camera Obscura. This was art from the Dutch middle class of 1830: contented, slightly fawning, not too complex. His Fantaisie is a Dutch image of the era, making it fascinating material by mere dint of its existence. 

The relatively low threshold character of a keyboard instrument as a means for expressing oneself makes the keyboard literature an interesting hunting ground for any anthologist searching for hidden treasures. The road from dream to reality is an obvious one. Those keys lie there waiting, unhampered by any instrumental technique required to make them resonate if one were so inclined, and without the length of a symphony which exceeds the arm’s-length of inspiration. It is practically an identical conversion from resonance to structure. In this domain, even the lesser master has a great chance of shaking off his shackles. Listen to the wondrously feathery fugue from Reincken, a brief miracle, a stone age Mendelssohn. Bogaart says, “I’ve seen other works of his….they don’t even come close.” But the greatest treasures in this edition are more than a single highlight; there is nothing diminutive about Leander Schlegel’s Der arme Peter or the glowing Sonate Inaugurale from Dirk Schäfer, who effortlessly maintains the same high level in his Acht klavierstukken and in his Interludes. These were men with literally, an enormous grasp. 

This unique keyboard project of Jacob Bogaart’s had its origin in 1980, when he was approached by Sieuwert Verster, for an exposition of art from circa 1900. Sieuwert Verster is a programmer and arts entrepreneur and the founder of Attacca Records and also managing and artistic director of the Orchestra of the 18th Century. “The question was whether I knew of any suitable music for that program.” Joint research in ‘Het Gemeentemuseum’ (the Municipal Museum, ed.) in The Hague revealed stacks of photocopies of unusual discoveries and led to a record with works by Dirk Schäfer, Leander Schlegel, Alphons Diepenbrock, and Jan Brandts Buys. Edu Verhulst, head of the classical music department of the Dutch Broadcasting Company at the time, subsequently asked whether Bogaart would like to record Henriëtte Bosmans’ Concertino, after which Schäfer’s Klavier Quintet was also recorded in the Dutch broadcasting capital, Hilversum. 

At the beginning of the 90’s, the NCRV radio network finally suggested a series of programs dedicated to Dutch music. Together with musicologist Leo Samama and a number of piano colleagues, Bogaart compiled and recorded a series of broadcasts of Dutch keyboard music from the early 19th century up through the present time. 

After that, he was more or less forced to continue his quest on his own. After more than thirty years, at the end of the odyssey, there are more than hundred twelve compositions from fifty composers, from Sweelinck to Hamburger, slightly more than had been foreseen, immortalized on eight CDs. Originally, Bogaart could only resort to his recordings and those of the NCRV radio. “The rest”, as he calls it with cardinal understatement, “I’ve been collecting over a period of about eight years”, and on his conditions. “I wanted to compile my own anthology of music from all the eras in which the keyboard – harpsichord, organ or piano – played a role.” He had no specific objective insight as the final goal, having not even considered a CD-edition at first. “But it kept taking on more serious form and finally someone said, ‘this is turning into something extremely interesting.’” At that point in time, there was enough material for five CDs. “But then there was too much missing from the 18th century, and I felt I should reserve an entire CD just for the harpsichord and organ music from the 16th and 17th centuries, even though I had no idea what was still to be discovered in that area. After a lengthy search with the help of Frits Zwart from the Dutch Music Institute, the Music Library of the Broadcasting Company, and two organist friends, we indeed found music that had never been recorded, among others, pieces by Georg Berff and Gisbert Steenwick.” 

At the outset, a complete edition was not the goal. Criteria of quality, taking into account all the whims of personal taste, weighed heavier than historiographic motives. Bogaart does not wish to be the champion of the untenable. For example, he recorded only the excellent first movement of Gerrit Jan van Eijken’s Sonata, as he felt the other movements were so inferior to the level attained in the first movement, that the memory of van Eijken would be tainted. “I certainly don’t prefer it, but I feel it’s justified.” Diepenbrock’s short, but an only piece for piano, his character piece Avondschemer (Twilight, ed.) is not on an even par with his songs, but it is still a Diepenbrock, “so it deserves to have relatively more attention paid to it.” 

Bogaart did not wish to lay a cordon sanitaire around the German immigrants who began to take the national stage starting in the 18th century. Excluding someone like Wilms would in fact be a historical blunder, considering that the composer from Witshelden wrote Wien Neêrlands Bloed, Holland’s national anthem from 1817 to 1932. 

Moreover, he performs all the pieces, including the earliest ones on piano, although in a number of instances in which no instrument is indicated, he could have had recourse to the organ or harpsichord, instruments on which he is equally accomplished. Though opinions may differ as to the legitimacy thereof, he allows himself the freedom of choice. 

Bogaart emphasizes that it is not a scientifically-supported anthology. He navigated through the centuries on intuition, ‘his own parameters’, judging his discoveries by their particular added value, his affinity to the piece, and a certain sense of justice. “Does it do anything to me, can this be of any use to me? Do I have anything to add to it? Has it been played before? Then I probably will not play it, although I have not always been completely consistent.” In addition, Bogaart has obtained diversity by alternating larger and smaller forms, with shorter pieces next to longer ones, Nocturnes and Mazurkas next to Sonatas. Thus we have as a result a grand cultural deed of personal merit, a battle-cry to combat the culture of forgetting.

Download the Booklet here


Dmitri Kourliandski: Eurydice 2.0

In his opera for solo voice and electronics, augmented by an oversimplified piano, Dmitri Kourliandski plunges us into the solitude of Eurydice, surrounded by voices whose distortions are imagined to be caused by the distance separating it from the world of the living…   

From Eurydice, we know that she was bitten by a snake and that Orpheus tried to save her by bringing her back from hell. The story continues in the familiar way: not being able to resists turning back, Orpheus loses Eurydice definitively. From Eurydice, we also know that this is the first opera in history that has come down to us. That of Jacopo Peri, which was premiered in 1600 (seven years before Monteverdi’s Orfeo), and that composers have taken hold of the myth a countless number of times.

The long poem by Nastya Rodionova on which the piece is composed, divided into seven arias, is an intimate introspection, a plunge into a hauntingly graphic electronic environment. An experience of the dark.

We imagine the spectator/listener immersed in the center of these sound hallucinations, facing a ritual where the body and the voice of Eurydice look for each other, dissociated or reunited, facing a memory of Orpheus that is entrusted to Dominique Mercy.

The first stage of this project is developed in partnership with ENS Paris-Saclay and its resources. It is the subject of a Collective Interdisciplinary Program (PIC) from September 2019 to June 2020, under the tutorship of Volny Fages, involving six students from different disciplines in the natural sciences and humanities.

Pekka Kuusisto performs Thin Air at the Concertgebouw

Thin Air was written this spring by composer Calliope Tsoupaki: ‘The piece is meant for anyone who has been affected by the coronavirus in any way’, says the composer. On September 30th, the Finish violinst Pekka Kuusisto will perform Thin Air at the Concertgebouw…   

With Festivals for Compassion festivals around Europe express their solidarity in these times of Corona by presenting a new solo composition by the Greek-Dutch composer Calliope Tsoupaki. Each festival selects their own artist and instrument. The piece has been premiered on the Dutch NPO Radio 4 on 20 June, with the Flemish Klara taking over the next day. After this, like a relay race of compassion, the work has now its journey through Europe traveling from festival to festival…

As the official ‘Composer of the Netherlands’, Calliope Tsoupaki is the face of Dutch music today. She feels a responsibility to bring the craft of composing to a wide audience, always with an eye to current events. Tsoupaki immigrated to the Netherlands in 1988 from Greece to study composition with Louis Andriessen in The Hague. She developed into one of the Netherlands’ most high-profile composers, with her own unmistakable style incorporating her Greek roots.

Flag of Compassion

Festivals for Compassion
took its inspiration from the Flag of Compassion, a conceptual piece by the Dutch artist Rini Hurkmans. The work consists of ‘the Flag’ and a manifesto, held at the Unda Foundation. The Flag is a means to express the universal human feeling of compassion, independent of political, religious, or cultural ends. It is a flag for everybody and can be used by anyone. The Flag of Compassion (actual or virtual) can accompany Tsoupaki’s composition from festival to festival.


More info about the concert

Overview on all the performances

Another performance of Thin Air on Violin by V. Kuçi:

Klas Torstensson – In großer Sehnsucht by Doelen Ensemble

On Friday, March 6, the Charlotte Riedijk & Doelen Ensemble will perform Klas Torstensson – In großer Sehnsucht…   

On the eve of International Women’s Day (8 March) Musis in Arnhem presents a program in which ‘the strong woman’ is central. The song cycle In großer Sehnsucht portrays five women from the past who, each in their own way, are paragons of courage and strength. Composer Klas Torstensson dedicated the cycle to his wife, soprano Charlotte Riedijk, who will perform the songs tonight with the Doelen Ensemble.

More info & tickets

In großer Sehnsucht at the Donemus catalogue

Ensemble Modelo62 presents Petra Strahovnik’s ‘Balerina, Balerina’

This opera is the culmination of DisOrders, a two-year collaboration project between Ensemble Modelo62 and Slovenian/Dutch composer Petra Strahovnik. During this period they have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics, to raise questions on the place and importance of mental health in our society. ‘Balerina, Balerina’ (working title) deals with Autism Spectrum DisOrder…   

Libretto based on the book ‘Balerina, Balerina’ by Slovenian writer Marko Sosič

  • Concept and composition: Petra Strahovnik
  • Stage Director: Rocc
  • Music Director: Ezequiel Menalled
  • Co-producer: Katja Konvalinka from Slovenian Chamber Music Theater
  • Premiere: October 2020 Linhart Hall, Cankar Ljubljana, Slovenia

This opera is the culmination of DisOrders, a two-year collaboration project between Ensemble Modelo62 and Slovenian/Dutch composer Petra Strahovnik. During this period they have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics, to raise questions on the place and importance of mental health in our society. ‘Balerina, Balerina’ (working title) deals with Autism Spectrum DisOrder. 

On the opera

The heroine in Marco Sosič’s novel ‘Balerina, Balerina’, is a little girl with a limited horizon, pushed into a passive position by her mental condition: her autism spectrum disorder. She lives on the border between sky and earth, and the vital earthly categories of life, suffering, passing of time, and death, lose sharpness for her and the reader. The events in the novel are tragic for the little girl Balerina, because while her mother is dying, Balerina thinks her mother is only asleep.

In Petra Strahovnik’s opera, there is no narrative in the traditional sense, since everything is told from the perspective of the autistic girl. The storyline is shaped in the same manner as her perception of time and her awareness of what happens around her are. There are characters and objects on stage, but they are – or can be, brought to life intermittently by the various performers: the singers, the dancer, the musicians, or even the conductor. Balerina’s mother becomes a vase while another performer becomes her persona or her deep frustration. This is answered by gestures or sounds of overwhelming sadness, expressed by another performer. Actions happen, reactions interweave, emotions pour, and the normally closed inner world of the heroine is brought to life so that the audience can plunge into it and deeply connect with her.

The flexibility in the use of materials and representations of dramatic elements in this production is possible thanks to the unusual simultaneous use and combination of music and performance art. The opera is conceived for two sopranos, a performance artist, a dancer, and ten Ensemble Modelo62 musicians on stage. The musicians have undergone intensive training in performance art by artist Jürgen Fritz. 

Extended artistic collaboration.

As mentioned above Ensemble Modelo62 and Petra Strahovnik have created new works combining performance art, video, and electronics during this two-year collaboration project. An overview of these works includes:

  1. Five installations for solo performers, performed simultaneously in five galleries in The Hague. Each installation is based on a different mental condition: Depression, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder. 
  2. Three works for soloist plus ensemble. To be presented in Korzo Theater, The Hague, and during Gaudeamus Muziekweek. The works are based on three different mental conditions: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Schizophrenia.

DisOrders is made possible thanks to the financial support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Stichting Dioraphte and Gemeente Den Haag.

Fair Practice Code Composition

Various parties are involved in a composition commission: commissioner, performer(s), programmer, publisher, funds and other sponsors and, as a matter of course, the composer. A proper agreement is based on a shared view on the joint responsibility of all parties and a candid, timely and comprehensive communication.

The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a guideline for making balanced agreements.

1. Fair compensation in accordance with the fee schedule

  • a) For any composition, the client will pay at least the relevant fee as stated in Nieuw Geneco’s fee schedule. This fee schedule is the Fair Practice calculation matrix for composition commissions, which is supported by the entire sector. The schedule is made on the basis of the duration of the composition, the number and type of instruments/parts and complexity.
  • b) Performance costs, such as scores and other activities are not included.


2. Clear arrangements beforehand

  • a) All parties will make contractual arrangements in time and will comply with them.
  • b) The client (commissioner) and the contractor (composer) make clear arrangements beforehand on the fee referred to in 1. and compensation of any further activities and expenses, for example accompanying rehearsals, giving lectures or introductions, travel and accommodation expenses.
  • c) All parties involved will make clear arrangements on the (feasible) costs of the performance, which includes additional musicians, instrument, scores and technical provisions.
  • d) All parties involved will be open and clear on the budget and the financing scheme, which includes all of the composition fees, rights and additional production costs.
  • e) The composer will in an early stage be involved in the preparation of the wording and contents of applications for subsidy. The quality of such an application is enhanced by appropriate artistic coordination and motivation.
  • f) The parties involved lay down their agreements on financing and the consequences of insufficient financing in financial scenarios, as well as a clear moment for making the decision (go/no go, guaranteed sums).
  • g) Monies awarded by subsidy providers as a fee for the composition will be paid to the composer in full and will not be used for any other purposes (see also I. b).
  • h) All parties involved will cooperate in the making of clear agreements on deadlines and the delivery of performance materials.


3. Settle copyrights. Small or grand right? Arrange it separately

  • a) The producer is responsible for the payment of copyrights and the license. Make sure that consent for the use of music is obtained in time and make sure that the correct source, name, etc. are stated.
  • b) The producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee, for example a publisher) will make clear arrangements on the copyrights due upon publication of the music, including arrangements on mechanical reproduction rights and any grand rights.
  • c) Grand rights (music for theatre, dance, etc.)* must be agreed on separately between the producer and the composer (or the composer’s assignee) and must be a permanent item in the budget of a dance and (music) theatre production.
  • d) Mutual understanding of the flow of income, as well as the flow of investments of all parties, is an important factor for determining the composer’s fair share of the profit.
  • e) If needed, the Complaints Board for Copyright Contract Law may be consulted.


4. List of performed programmes and broadcasts

  • a) The user of the composition will timely provide a list of the fully played programme and the broadcasts for Buma/Stemra, the collective management organisation. It is of vital importance to submit an exhaustive list of the entire program of the works performed (both works protected by copyright and the public domain repertoire) because this is the only way to ensure that the money is received by the parties entitled to it.


5. Make separate provisions for performance materials!

  • a) The production of scores and parts is not included in the composer’s fee (see I.). The commissioner must reserve a separate budget for publishing materials and the costs of renting or buying the scores.
  • b) All parties involved will make timely arrangements on the production, costs and planning of the performance materials.


6. Sustainability: development of the public, repertoire and performance opportunities

  • a) All parties involved will do their utmost to facilitate several performances of the commissioned work and, as a consequence, build a sustainable relationship with the public.
  • b) The commissioner, the author, the performers and the publisher will cooperate as much as possible and support each other’s promotional efforts.
  • c) Exclusive rights on the performance of a composition may be granted only if the work is performed/broadcast a substantial number of times within the relevant period of time.
  • d) The commissioner and the composer will promote co-productions and performance of the work by others.
  • e) The commissioner and the composer will ensure that the scores will remain retrievable and that they are handled and preserved with due care.
  • f) The commissioner and the composer ensure that any audio or audio-visual registration or professional recording will remain retrievable.


*) ‘Small rights’ include all entirely musical works (compositions with/without lyrics). In the Netherlands, Buma/Stemra is responsible for the collective exploitation of those rights. The commissioning/organising party enters into a licence agreement with Buma/Stemra for the use of music and ensures that the rates applicable according to Buma/Stemra are paid, or ensures that payment is made by the relevant stage. Any new organising party is required to make arrangements in that respect in advance.

Grand rights’ include works (of music) forming part of a ‘narrative performance’ or a dramatic musical story involving several copyrights, e.g. for lyrics, music, choreography, lighting and costumes (for example ballet, opera, operetta, musicals etc.). Or, to put it differently: music that is written especially for the production.

Copyrights on music forming part of a ‘Grand Rights Production’ are not collected by Buma/Stemra: the producers of ‘Grand Rights Productions’ enter into agreements with all entitled parties, authors and publishers and may make any arrangements they prefer on the use of the music. (Source: Buma/Stemra 2019)

The Fair Practice Code for Composition Commissions is a specification of the Fair Practice Code from Kunsten ’92, drawn up by Nieuw Geneco in consultation with many commissioning parties, composers, authors’ associations and the Performing Arts Fund NL.

Dominy Clements – An Enlightened Disciple of Darkness

In 2012, Tõnu Kaljuste, famous Estonian conductor and director of the Nargen Festival, commissioned the English composer-writer-performer Dominy Clements, residing in The Hague, to compose a one-act play about the Estonian optician and inventor Bernhard Schmidt, who was born in 1879 on the island of Naissaar (Nargen) off the coast of Tallinn and grew up there. Bernhard Schmidt was the inventor of the famous Schmidt camera (also called Schmidt telescope) which is still used in astronomy today.

At the premiere in 2013 the soloists Endrik Üksvärav (tenor) and Maria Valdmaa (soprano), the Nargen Opera Choir and the Dutch ensemble Fluitoctet BlowUp! were involved in the opera. Costume designer was Reet Aus. Directing and setting were in the hands of Giuseppe Frigeni.

The life story of Bernhard Schmidt

As a 15-year-old Bernhard Schmidt experiments with gunpowder, losing two fingers. However, the local doctor amputates his entire hand. Despite this, Schmidt continues to experiment, now with lenses and photography. While studying at the technical universities of Gothenburg and Mittweida (Saxony), Schmidt began to specialise in mirrors for telescopes, first for amateur astronomers, later for professional researchers.

Based in Germany, his fame grows rapidly and he receives important assignments to sharpen lenses and mirrors for, among others, the astrophysical observatory in Potsdam. He also takes spectacular photographs of the sun, moon, planets, and other galaxies.

Between 1904 and 1914 Schmidt is a wealthy man who owns a car – a rare luxury in this day and age – and allows himself to be driven by a driver. With the outbreak of World War I, however, his life changed drastically. As an official citizen of Russia (to which Estonia belonged) he is now considered an enemy of Germany and was arrested. Even after his release from the prison camp he remains under police control and his business is curtailed. After the war and as a result of the high inflation that caused the German economy to collapse, Schmidt went bankrupt in the mid-twenties. He returns to his homeland Estonia – now an independent republic – and tries to set up a new company with one of his patented inventions, a counter wind propeller boat. When this fails, he returns to Germany and joins the Hamburg Observatory.

There, in 1930, he made his greatest invention: the so-called Schmidt camera with the Schmidt correction plate, also named after him. This invention caused a sensation in the world of astronomy. However, the depression of the 1930s prevented principals from putting the invention into practice, something which ultimately drove Bernhard Schmidt to mental despair. On December 1, 1935, he dies of an acute brain disorder. Shortly before that he had been in Leiden on business. The Schmidt camera is used internationally in astronomical research after the Second World War. In 2009 another satellite was launched, equipped with a Schmidt camera.

Dominy Clements

Dominy Clements talks about his libretto and opera An Enlightened Disciple of Darkness (2011-13): In 2009 I met Tõnu Kaljuste, to whom I told that as a flautist I had specialized in playing the sub-contrabass flute and played with other ‘low’ flutists. His reaction was surprising: ‘new sound!

An invitation to his Nargen Festival 2011 followed. On the programme was my composition for choir and flute orchestra, which Kaljuste apparently appealed to, because after that he suggested that I write a chamber opera for small ensemble about the life of Bernhard Schmidt. He wanted to bring this exceptional inventor and his birthplace, the Estonian island off the coast of Tallinn, Naissaar, back to the attention of the audience. There was no libretto yet, so I began to delve into Bernhard Schmidt’s life. In the end it was the easiest solution to write the whole work myself, both the libretto and the music.

Bernhard Schmidt was a brilliant and idiosyncratic figure who, partly due to the distrust of the society around him, solved all the problems himself; from making the equipment that could be operated with one hand, to sharpening lenses and mirrors himself in the finest detail and sharpness. He found machines ‘stupid’; he relied more on the feeling of his one hand to remove the smallest irregularities from the glass. Unfortunately, recognition for his most important invention, the Schmidt camera, only came after his death. Many old photographs have been preserved that Schmidt himself made of the universe, including images of his working drawings and, of course, of his own work.

More info:

Works by Dominy Clements

Other work by Dominy Clements performed by the Nederlands Fluitorkest