Kees Arntzen wins 3rd prize for Composition at the 4th Microtonal Guitar Competition

Norwegian Mood arose as a result of a composition competition for microtonal guitar music in Istanbul, organized by the tireless Tolgahan Çoğulu…   

Where most entries build on – variations of – Eastern and Arabic tone scales with the help of some extra frets on the fretboard of the guitar, Kees Arntzen opted for a radical, more Western approach in the footsteps of the Czech Alois Haba who worked with quarter tones early in the twentieth century and even wrote a theory of harmony.

With the help of three strings tuned a quarter-tone lower, almost all frequencies of the 24-tone scale are available on the guitar. In particular, Kees Arntzen wanted to emphasize the so-called ‘natural seventh’, as it plays a prominent role in European folk music. In the melody of the song ‘Danse ikke gråte nå’ by Norwegian singer Lillebjørn Nilsen he found the starting point for seven free variations. The text of this touching vocals, which can give rise to beautiful vocal arrangements and improvisations, reads as follows:

This earth will feed you
This river will give you water
This girl will give birth to your child
This earth will become your grave

Please check out the recent release of Kees Arntzen – Lieder und Balladen zu Texten von Kurt Tucholsky. Now available at Donemus Records.

12 Russian Songs written by Josef Malkin at the Grachtenfestival

Soprano Channa Malkin has been nominated for the Grachtenfestival Prize 2020. Together with cellist Maya Fridman and pianist Slava Poprugin she has put together a wonderful program revolving around the topic of ‘motherhood’, including a few songs composed by her father Josef Malkin…   

Channa about her concert:

Few things in life are as far-reaching as having a child. The sleepless nights, but also the immeasurable love and primal power that you, as a new parent, suddenly seem to possess. During one of those sleepless nights, I found the song cycle When I rock this child asleep by Mcieslaw Weinberg, to poems by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. These songs expressed exactly my maternal feelings.

Parenting brings you back to your own childhood, and at the same time is a confrontation with your mortality. In his Children’s Room, Mussorgsky humorously sets the smart, inventive and naughty mind of the child. On the other hand, there is John Tavener, the 20th-century British composer who was inspired by the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. She sees death as a ship in a turbulent sea, a cabin waiting for her, and the inevitable, painful farewell to her motherland.

The songs of my father, Josef Malkin, also combine childhood and mortality. In Pis’mo, a little girl writes a letter full of mistakes to her grandmother. In De Waarzegster (The Soothsayer) a gypsy woman predicts to the young poet Boris Ryzhy from whom he will die: guilt.

More info at the Grachtenfestival

(Concert already sold out)


Imaginations alive; Video performance with arrangement of Kasia Glowicka

Where is the balance between man and nature? Should we acknowledge our superiority during this pandemic? In ‘Roxana’s Song’ Kasia Głowicka and Krystian Lada look for an answer…   

For Roxana’s Song, Krystian Lada is inspired by the opera Król Roger, which focuses on the confrontation between man and nature. Lada sees in that story points of contact with the pandemic in which we find ourselves today. Once again, man clashes with the limits of his unbridled ego and has to acknowledge his superiority in nature. For Lada, the future lies in a society that finds the balance between ego and eco. The voice of the soprano is a force of nature that awakens a consciousness in man – here a dancer.

Opera Ballet Flanders is a leading performing arts organisation that produces opera, dance and concert for all ages in Ghent and Antwerp. The program includes new creations, forgotten masterpieces and well-known titles from opera and dance history. To create performances together with the ballet, orchestra, choir and children’s choir, they bring creative talent from all over the world to their home.

Concept: Krystian Lada
Choreography & Dance: Aaron Shaw
Music: Karol Szymanowski – Roxana’s Aria from Król Roger
Arrangements: Kasia Głowicka
Singing: Dagmara Dobrowolska
Whistle: Melanie Roses
Hobo: Arie van der Beek

Read more…


Bonsai Garden by De Graaff

‘Bonsai Garden’ by the Dutch composer Jan-Peter de Graaff are eight mini-opera’s grown in quarantaine.
Human creativity and the need for expression cannot be locked up! Opera Zuid premiered a new living room opera every week until the end of the season. The young composer Jan-Peter de Graaff – maker of the chamber opera “De Grens” – created by Opera Zuid – and opera director Kenza Koutchoukali joined forces to release a new miniature opera online every week. For Jan-Peter de Graaff, a bonsai tree symbolizes this project: bonsai trees are grown meticulously and with great attention to detail in an enclosed environment. This method is a parallel of the development process of these mini-operas. The intimate and honest snapshots in their own way give a voice to our shared reality…   

Composer Jan-Peter de Graaff, raised on Terschelling, has been composing since the age of 15. He graduated from The Hague Conservatory in 2016 with the opera “All Rise!” and in 2018 won the Rostrum Prize for composers under 30 for the orchestral work “Le café de nuit“. Since then he has been a much sought-after composer at home and abroad. His music is transparent, richly orchestrated, melodic, direct and always cast in a clear form. Theatrical, dramatic and non-musical elements often play a role in his compositions.

Director Kenza Koutchoukali grew up between her father’s blues and her mother’s Baroque. When she first directed a new composition by Jan-Peter de Graaff in 2016, the world of contemporary music opened up to her. Under her direction, Kenza searches for “the fantastic dimension of reality”: words she would have thought of herself, but read in a book by photographer Jean-Claude Gautrand.

More info

Bonsai Garden is produced by Stichting Leonore and Opera Zuid.

This project is part of the digital program of Opera Zuid Online

Merlijn Twaalfhoven performs sound collage with spoken word about a time of rest, unrest and change.

Merlijn Twaalfhoven: Single “Waartijd”, written during the lockdown, evokes rebellion. Initially, composer and writer Merlijn Twaalfhoven wanted to write a poetic piece of music about the stillness that the pandemic brought us. But when economic support packages for multinationals were announced as early as the first week, the unrest struck. Are we, as human beings, offside now that the future is being determined? Is the unfair and unsustainable system being put back or is a turnaround possible? How can we show what is really important?…   

In the 4’40 minute single “WaartijdMerlijn Twaalfhoven, who is known as a composer of large music projects in challenging locations and worked in conflict areas and refugee camps, makes a call for revolution. But it’s not a revolution you’ll see on television, he paraphrases Gil Scott-Heron. It’s a revolution that’s on the inside. Only when we see the beauty of the world can we connect with what is really of value, and thus prevent ourselves from being carried away by the hypes of the day.

For this single, Merlijn Twaalfhoven worked remotely with composer Jurriaan Berger, who edited recordings of Twaalfhoven’s compositions in the computer and assembled them into a collage. Filmmaker Anna Eijsbouts made the video clip.

Listen on Apple Music

Listen on Spotify

First releases of Donemus Records online

On May 26th, Donemus launched ‘Donemus Records’. This new initiative offers a great opportunity for composers and musicians to submit their recordings and get it distributed on many digital platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon. The first releases are now available. Enjoy the new recordings…   

Find the announcement here



Festivals for Compassion with Calliope Tsoupaki

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.


Calliope Tsoupaki’s composition can be played by melodic solo instruments, and chordal instruments such as guitar, piano, harp, etc. Each festival will invite a performer from their own network. The costs of performance, filming, and streaming will lie with the participating festival.


When sharing your performance on social media, please use the tag #festivalsforcompassion and if you want also #flagofcompassion. Your video will also be included here.

The score is published by Donemus and can be downloaded for free…

Read more…

Emergency Fund Music

On May 1st, Buma/Stemra and Sena launched the Emergency Music Fund (Noodfonds Muziek). As of today, it is possible to apply to this fund for a donation. The fund was set up for beneficiaries who were most affected by the Corona crisis. Rights owners of Buma/Stemra who received a minimum of € 290 and a maximum of € 20,000 in 2018 or 2019 from Buma’s copyright proceeds as a composer or lyricist…   

You can apply for a one-off donation via There you will find all the criteria for an application and other background information. You can apply until 30 June 2020 and Buma/Stemra aims to pay out the donations by the end of July.

Who founded the Emergency Fund Music?

The Emergency Fund Music is a collaboration of Buma/Stemra, the Buma Social Fund and the Sena Social-Cultural Fund and receives a contribution from the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief Fund.

What support does the Emergency Fund Music offer?

Financial support in the form of a contribution for the most seriously affected rightholders of Buma/Stemra and Sena.

Who can apply for a contribution from the emergency fund?

Authors, composers and publishers who are members of Buma and/or affiliated with Stemra and musicians and producers who are rightholders of Sena. An income test for the years 2018 and 2019 applies.

read more…

Live Stream with Dutch composers: Matthijs Koene & Geerten van de Wetering

Now that many concerts, unfortunately, have to be cancelled or postponed, Stichting Kunstcentrum Kloosterkerk organizes a live stream concert from the Kloosterkerk, which you can follow live via YouTube at home. The link to YouTube is yet to be announced. The program will include Dutch music from the 20th & 21st century…   

List of works:

Anthon van der Horst (1899 – 1965)
Uit: Suite in modo conjuncto (1943)

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 – 1621)
Echo fantasia in a

Daan Manneke (1939)
Ligatura (2015)

Daan Manneke
Uit: De zonne rijst (1962-63/2008)
‘Aleer het licht ten avond raakt…’
Vijf versetten op een avondhymne

Calliope Tsoupaki (1963)
Song for life and death (2018)

Kate Moore (1979)
The Crow (2019)

Hendrik Andriessen (1892 – 1981)
Fête-Dieu (1918)

About the performers:

Matthijs Koene (1977) is internationally regarded as one of the most prominent panflute players of his time. Matthijs is groundbreaking; his vision and way of playing have increased the technical possibilities and expression of the pan flute. As a result, the pan flute has been able to make its entry into classical music…

Geerten van de Wetering studied organ and improvisation with Jos van der Kooy and church music and choral conducting with Theo Goedhart at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He also studied political science at Leiden University. After obtaining his master degree in organ he studied at the Universität der Musik in Vienna with Roman Summereder (20th-century music) and Peter Planyavsky (improvisation) and then with Ansgar Wallenhorst (improvisation) and Wiecher Mandemaker (choral conducting)…

Read more…

Media opera ‘Letter of happiness’ by Dmitri Kourliandski

The idea of the opera came literally at the beginning of the isolation period – in the second half of March. We all regularly receive spam, in particular the so-called “Nigerian letters” (they describe the tragic fate of fictional rich people and propose to share the capital left by victims of accidents and fatal diseases)…   

In a situation where communication with the outside world is limited and communication is largely displaced into the Internet, it seemed interesting to Dmitri Kourliandski to imagine that these fictional characters and virtual reality is the only world with which interaction is possible. Virtually all of the opera’s material – both text and visual and musical – is obtained with the help of available online generators of random texts, melodies, rhythms and photographs of non-existent people (and cats). Generated texts are read out with standard computer voices. It is possible that the listener of this opera is the same non-existent, virtually generated character.

Some sounds are taken from online libraries, some are recorded by musicians – Vladimir Gorlinsky (guitar samples), Anton Svetlichny (synthesizer) and Alexei Kruglov (saxophone). In the programme, created in collaboration with Oleg Makarov, all this material undergoes fragmentation and deformation, also following the random principle. Nevertheless, Kourliandski sets a certain direction for this flow of chance, so he gets exactly the result that he needs in this or that act.

For five acts of opera, Kourliandski made the video himself. The second act presents the work of musician and multimedia artist Alexander Serechenko, also based on the principle of chance. The sixth act, the work of video artist Marina Chernikova, is inspired by the ideas of psychogeography, which has its own special relationship to chance.

The listener/viewer can even find some plot in the opera. Four non-existent characters (“the authors” of Nigerian messages) live in a non-existent Argleton (a real non-existent city). One day they receive a threatening letter from Anonymous Hacker. One of the characters knows the Hacker and tells his story. The characters hold an online conference where they decide how to deal with the Hacker. Once the problem is over, they gather at a local bar and recite poems. In the finale of the opera, it turns out that there is a love affair between the female characters.

Act I

Act II


Act IV & V

Act VI