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


Highlighted concerts at November Music

The well known festival November Music showcases the prominent composers of our time. Not to mention top-notch ensembles, jazz & world pioneers, sound installations, and interdisciplinary concerts. November Music takes place from 6 through 15 November at various locations in the Dutch city of ’s-Hertogenbosch. Ticketsale for November Music 2020 has started, but because of the COVID situation, ticket availability is limited…   

Saturday, November 7th – Huis73

12.30h and 16.00h: René Samson / Mathilde Wantenaar / Max Knigge – We’ll Never Let You Down by Doris HochscheidFrans van Ruth and Mattijs van de Woerd

An opera dedicated to the unique life of the legendary cellist Jacqueline du Pré. The Surinamese-Dutch composer René Samson (1948-2019) expressed her dramatic life in an inspired mini opera. His We’ll never let you down is about beauty, friendship and oblivion. An intimate musical theatre work on which René Samson, a pupil of Leo Samama and Klaas de Vries, worked until just before his sudden death in 2019. Read more…

Sunday, November 8th – Huis73

12.30h and 14.00h: Jan-Peter de Graaff – Rimpelingen by Maya Fridman and Carlos Marin Rayo

During this concert, the cello will be in the spotlight, and works by one of the most talented young Dutch composers will be performed. Jan Peter de Graaff will have a reprise of his cello concerto Rimpelingen in a new version for cello and piano.


Sunday, November 8th – Huis73

15.30h and 17.00h: Saskia Venegas and more performed by Maya Fridman

As soon as cellist Maya Fridman enters the stage and crawls behind her cello, something magical takes place. The concerts of young Dutch-Russian cello diva are a total spectacle in which musical performance, instrumental control and pure charisma go hand in hand. ‘Maya has the unique talent to search for the deeper intention of music, and she translates this into a powerful emotional performance’, says Maxim Shalygin, a composer with whom Fridman works closely together. Now she will perform works by Saskia Venegas, Wilma PistoriusKaveh Vares and more…


Tuesday, November 10th – Verkadefabriek

21.00 – 21.3h: Sarah Neutkens & Dutch Saxophone Octet

Sarah Neutkens is a composer, pianist, model and artist. She makes minimalist, contemporary music that she publishes through her own label. She has her piece September performed by four members of the Nederlands Saxofoon Octet. The piece, inspired by the onset of early autumn and the melancholy of late summer, consists of four movements, each with a different character.


Thursday, November 12th – Verkadefabriek

18:45h & 21.30h: Celia Swart – Elevation of self-validation by Kluster5

The perceived reality is coloured differently for each composer. Celia Swart experiences an alternative reality in all the apps on her phone, while Alexandre Kordzaia discovered the different layers of his perception of reality as he grew up in the troubled Georgia of the nineties. Both composers wrote half an hour’s work for which Kluster5 is extended with drum pads and midi keyboards, among other things. Under the direction of director Peter Leung, music, visuals and a subtle personal direction are fused into one work of art.


More info about November Music


Composer Yannis Kyriakides receives the Johan Wagenaar Prize 2020

On the recommendation of the Johan Wagenaar Foundation, the municipality of The Hague awards the Johan Wagenaar Prize 2020 to composer Yannis Kyriakides. This composition prize is awarded once every four years for an entire oeuvre and is unique in the Netherlands…   

Earlier laureates included Martijn Padding (2016), Guus Janssen (2012) and Louis Andriessen (2008). Kyriakides will receive the Johan Wagenaar Prize from the Municipality of The Hague during Festival Dag in the Branding on Saturday 12 December 2020. On different locations in The Hague ensemble Maze and Silbersee will play works by Kyriakides.

Johan Wagenaar Prize

The Johan Wagenaar Prize is one of the composition prizes of the Municipality of The Hague, curated by the Johan Wagenaar Foundation (JWS). The prize is awarded once every four years for an entire oeuvre and is in that sense unique in the Netherlands. This prize consists of a cash prize of  €25.000 and the performance of works from the oeuvre of the winning composer. Robert van Asten, Alderman for Mobility and Culture of the Municipality of The Hague: “We stimulate a strong and healthy cultural sector and help artists and performers at all levels to grow further.”

From the jury report:

This time the jury consisted of Masa Spaan, Calliope Tsoupaki, Guus Janssen, Saskia Lankhoorn, Joseph Puglia, Diamanda Dramm, Joep Stapel and Pieter van Loenen. In their jury report they praised Yannis Kyriakides:
“Kyriakides dares to question himself in every work he writes. His oeuvre bears witness to an inquisitive spirit that has never lost its playfulness. Methodically and steadily he works on a large oeuvre of high quality, which is characterized by the wealth of ideas and the unnatural application of electronics and extra-musical elements”.

Yannis Kyriakides

Yannis Kyriakides (Cyprus, 1969) is a Dutch composer of contemporary music. In his music he often combines conventional musical instruments with electronics and digital media. Kyriakides studied at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague with Louis Andriessen and Dick Raaijmakers. In 2000 he won the Gaudeamus Prize for his composition a conSPIracy cantata (1999).

Kyriakides is commissioned by and for various ensembles and orchestras. From 2005 Kyriakides is the artistic director of the Maarten Altena Ensemble, together with Ronald Spekle, which they renamed ensemble MAE. In 2011 his CD Antichambers in Paris received a Qwartz Electronic and New Music Award in the category Experiment and Research. That year he also received the Buma Toonzettersprijs for Best New Dutch Composition in 2010 for his work Paramyth for violin, clarinet, piano and computer. In the same year he also received the Willem Pijper Prize from the municipality of The Hague for his work Dreams of the Blind.

As a teacher at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague Kyriakides has had a great influence on a new generation of composers.

In the oeuvre of Kyriakides, organic development can be seen which shows a deep reflection on the nature of his music. Kyriakides is a multi-faceted composer, he has written for various line-ups from solo to orchestra and from dance to audiovisual installations – and in everything you can see a clear form of his own that makes his work very recognizable. Kyriakides is a very crafty and intelligent artist who knows how to combine this skill with the wonder and creativity of an open mind.

Johan Wagenaar Foundation

The Johan Wagenaar Foundation was founded by the Municipality of The Hague in 1947, and its main objective is to stimulate and promote new and contemporary music. Awarding and presenting the municipal music prizes are among its main activities. The foundation is also the driving force behind Dag in de Branding, the festival for new music that takes place four times a year in The Hague.

London Philharmonic releases recording of Martynov’s ‘Utopia’.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) announced the release of its new album ‘Utopia’ on the LPO’s own label, featuring Vladimir Martinov’s Utopia Symphony performed by the LPO and London Philharmonic Choir under Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski, featuring soloist Jun Hong Loh on violin…   

“In commissioning Vladimir Martynov to compose a symphony in 2004, I could not have foreseen a trajectory leading to this recording by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Abbey Road Studios. It was a leap of faith.” said Michael Tay, former Ambassador from the Republic of Singapore to the Russian Federation and commissioner of this unusual symphony. 

Vladimir Martynov (b. 1946) is a prominent Russian composer whose works have enjoyed particular success in the Soviet Union since the 1970s. Having traversed the genres of electronic and rock music, Martynov turned his attention to religious music before returning to his distinctive minimalist style. The London Philharmonic Orchestra gave the world premiere of his first opera La Vita Nuova in 2009, and his composition ‘The Beatitudes’ was featured in Academy-Award-winning film La Grande Bellezza. 

 In May 2003, just five months after arriving in Russia, Michael Tay heard a performance of Martynov’s La Vita Nuova, and was immediately spellbound. He asked the composer if he would write a symphony in celebration of Tay’s native Singapore. Having never been to the country before, Tay invited Martynov to visit, who was incredibly struck by the city. Tay, in the booklet notes, said, “After visiting Singapore, [Martynov] felt that Singapore was a small country but a big idea: he felt we had achieved something called Utopia that the Soviet Union could not achieve in its 70-year history.” 

The work’s text is taken from the world-famous ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching (The Way of the Tao), traditionally attributed to Lao Tzu. Martynov often quotes other composers in his works, and this piece features the famous opening of Robert Schumann’s 1838 piano cycle Kinderszenen. The short piece, entitled Von fremden Ländern und Menschen, provides an apt description of a Russian writing about Singapore, but is also significant in Martynov’s view that the modern world leaves us ‘only with a childish faith in the magical power of repetition’. 

Martynov’s Utopia Symphony enjoyed its world premiere in Moscow in 2005, and is now being released in its world premiere recording with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, generously supported by Michael Tay’s own organisation, Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise. 

The LPO established its own label in 2005, in order to share as much of the Orchestra’s music as possible. Taken mostly from live-recorded concerts, the catalogue features recent as well as archive recordings with conductors such as Beecham, Boult and Haitink, as well as its Principal Conductor, Vladimir Jurowski. 

David Burke, Chief Executive of the LPO, said:
“We are very excited and grateful to be able to collaborate with The Foundation on this project. (Vladimir) Jurowski, the Principal Conductor of the LPO, is a great supporter of contemporary music. He deeply admired Martynov’s work and was very keen to record this piece of Martynov’s with the Orchestra, and so the LPO took the project on.”

Vladimir Martynov commented:
“UTOPIA is one of the most unusual commissions I’ve worked on. To me, Singapore manages to capture the essence of “utopia” very well by constantly reinventing itself, and its citizens striving to better themselves and the people around them, which is the essence of the vision that Singapore was founded on. I am excited to watch it be resurrected in concert halls across the world. To have the LPO record this piece is also a great honour.”

Michael Tay, founder of Foundation for The Arts and Social Enterprise commented:
“The underlying vision of this symphony is a restoration of what it means to be human, striving to be better than ourselves even in a world full of anxiety and foreboding. We are honoured to have the LPO as part of this journey towards Utopia.”

Podcast ‘Making an opera’ about Willem Jeths’ Ritratto wins Prix Europa 2020

The podcast Making an Opera has won the Prix Europe 2020 in the category ‘radio programme’. The podcast by radio maker Stef Visjager, produced together with the NTR and De Nationale Opera, is about the making of Ritratto, Willem Jeths’ opera, which was to premiere on the day the first lockdown came into force…   

Visjager follows the seven young singers and the artistic team behind the opera from the very beginning until the cancelled premiere. ‘Very well told and edited’, says the jury. Ritratto’s premiere and performance series was cancelled because of the lockdown introduced in The Netherlands in March. The production premiered at the beginning of this month, but already after three performances, the series had to be cancelled due to the new corona measures.

The podcast ‘making an opera’ can be found on our website or in the podcast app on your smartphone. Last month the podcast also won the 2nd prize at Prix Italia.

Comments from the Jury Group:

Very well narrated and edited, and told with enthusiasm and drama.
Very detailed in the numerous aspects of narration, the several angles and points of view sum up to a thrilling inside-story of the opera world. This programme is a good example to tell a „classic“ story with new means – and a very special, highly appealing tone.
Making opera accessible with warmth and humor. Covers corona in a very engaging way. Bravo!
The feelings behind and on stage and the music mixed together with what is happening. It’s exceptional!

Seven young singers are given the chance of a lifetime: singing a world premiere at the Dutch National Opera. Podcast maker Stef Visjager follows the singers and the artistic team behind the scenes for eighteen months. Visjager shows how every word, every note, every piece of clothing, and every prop is the subject of a battle. There are secret love affairs and intrigues. In other words: the making of an opera is often as dramatic as the opera itself. Especially when, right before opening night, it turns out that years of hard work may have been for nothing.

Submitting organisation: NPO
Author: Stef Visjager
Director: Stef Visjager
Sound: Stef Visjager
Commissioning editors: Frans van Gurp, Jair Steijn
Producer: Stef Visjager
Production companies: NTR Radio, Studio Desmet
Key staff: Stef Visjager, Frans van Gurp, Jair Steijn, Liz Kruisheer, Frans de Rond

Title of Series: Episode: Making an Opera
Length: 25 min
Original language: Dutch, English
First broadcast by NPO
Date of the first broadcast: 14 March 2020, 17:30

All Podcasts

Watch and listen to Ritratto

Donemus receives grant of €10K from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds

The Donemus Foundation is very excited to receive a grant of €10K from the Bernhard Cultuurfonds for Donemus Records. With this investment, Donemus can boost its activities around its several labels. During these hard times, composers, musicians, ensembles can be present worldwide at all platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and many more…   

Sinds maart 2020 hebben veel musici, ensembles en orkesten wereldwijd hun kernactiviteiten in de ijskomst moeten zetten. COVID19 heeft de cultuur en vooral de podiumkunsten sterk geraakt. Bijna alle concerten zijn geannuleerd. Op dit moment worden sommige kleinschalige initiatieven weer hervat. De symfonische muziekwereld zal echter op z’n minst de rest van dit jaar in een zware dip blijven. Veel musici zien hun inkomsten sterk dalen. De segmenten van de muziekindustrie die nog steeds goed draaien, zijn de streaming-diensten. Iedereen luistert nog steeds naar muziek, zeker zolang de mogelijkheden om in het openbaar naar muziek te luisteren zeer beperkt zijn. Zo slagen de grote labels in de muziekindustrie erin om te overleven.

Here you can find the description of our project, in Dutch.

Doel van dit project

  1. Het project ‘Audio Online’ nodigt hedendaagse componisten en actieve muzikanten en ensembles uit om via Donemus Records gearchiveerde opnames digitaal uit te brengen, om zo een groter en breder publiek te bereiken voor hun muziek, zeker in deze moeilijke tijden.
  2. Dit project gaat niet over fysieke CD’s, maar over wereldwijde digitale distributie.
  3. Dit project gaat niet over het produceren van opnames, maar over het distribueren van reeds bestaande opnames.
  4. Met dit project verdienen zowel de componisten als de uitvoerders een eerlijk deel van de royalty’s aan online distributie. Bovendien zullen gedistribueerde opnames een uitstekend promotiemiddel zijn voor zowel componisten als uitvoerenden.
  5. Componisten en uitvoerenden zullen worden gehoord en aandacht krijgen in een wereldwijde markt van streaming-diensten. Het zal hen helpen om hun internationale zichtbaarheid te vergroten, waardoor ze wereldwijd meer belangstelling kunnen krijgen van ensembles, dirigenten en programmeurs.

Project beschrijving

Uitnodigen van muziekpartners

Van veel openbare concerten die de afgelopen jaren zijn uitgevoerd, zijn goede opnames beschikbaar. De meeste concertzalen beschikken over hoogwaardige opnameapparatuur. Soms zijn deze opnames uitgezonden op een lokaal radiostation, maar meestal is die audio ergens gearchiveerd. Donemus heeft een sterk netwerk met klanten in meer dan 80 landen. Werken die door Donemus worden uitgegeven worden jaarlijks op honderden concerten uitgevoerd. Deze partners kunnen we direct benaderen voor dit project. Donemus is al in gesprek met o.a. November Music, Omroepen etc. om gearchiveerde opnamen onder het stof vandaan te halen voor online distributie.

Afspraken eenvoudig vastleggen

Donemus heeft een workflow gecreëerd waar zowel muzikanten als componisten hun opnames kunnen uploaden en de contactgegevens van alle rechthebbenden (zoals solisten, dirigent, ensemble) kunnen doorgeven. Op basis van de ingevoerde gegevens creëert Donemus een digitale conceptovereenkomst. In dit project zijn de deelnemers niet verplicht om hun intellectuele eigendomsrechten over te dragen, maar geven ze Donemus een licentie om hun content online te verspreiden. Met andere woorden, overeenkomsten kunnen digitaal worden geregeld en hoeven niet te worden ondertekend op papier. De rechthebbenden ontvangen automatisch een e-mail met het verzoek om in te stemmen met de conceptovereenkomst. Zodra elke partner de overeenkomst digitaal heeft goedgekeurd, kan Donemus de productie van de opname voorbereiden voor online distributie. Stichting Donemus Beheer staat garant voor het langdurig bewaren van de overeenkomst en de inhoud ervan. Als non-profit organisatie garandeert het dat de opnames veilig zijn en niet aan een derde partij kunnen worden verkocht.

Voorbereiding van releases

Om een opname klaar te maken voor distributie, zorgt Donemus voor de mastering om de geluidskwaliteit te verbeteren waar dat nodig is, zoals het verwijderen van ruis, applaus, het normaliseren van het volumeniveau, enzovoort. Donemus maakt het artwork op basis van een standaard sjabloon, tenzij de rechthebbenden de voorkeur geven aan hun eigen artwork. Donemus stelt de combinatie van werken op een release voor, van een single van een paar minuten tot een album met een uur muziek of nog langer.

Beheer van metadata

Donemus heeft een contract getekend met FUGA. Dit is een wereldwijd toonaangevende aggregator die muziek van vele labels indient bij online muziekplatforms zoals Apple Music, Spotify etc. FUGA is een van de 5 ‘preferred suppliers’ van Apple en bewijst daarmee hun hoge standaarden en de kwaliteit van de metadata. Als aggregator op topniveau biedt FUGA geavanceerde opties om klassieke muziek te categoriseren en te classificeren. Hun portal biedt vele velden om de verschillende rollen in te voeren zoals ensemble of orkest, dirigent, solist en componist. Donemus hanteert EAN- en ISCR-codes, past alle ‘Apple styleguides’ toe met betrekking tot alle details in de naamgeving van artiesten en composities en tracks. Het FUGA-platform biedt de mogelijkheid om biografieën en foto’s van alle artiesten (solist, dirigent, etc.) toe te voegen alsmede extra informatie aan het werk, zoals tekst of een booklet in PDF en zelfs partituren in PDF zodat men tijdens het beluisteren van de opname kan meelezen.

Het bereiken van publiek

Dankzij FUGA is Donemus Records al aangesloten op 50 digitale distributieplatforms. Het meest bekend zijn Apple Music en Spotify. Er zijn echter veel interessante niche-platforms waar het nieuwe repertoire van de hedendaagse klassieke muziek zeer gewaardeerd wordt. Sommige, zoals Primephonic, Tidal en High Res Audio verrijken opnames met de toegevoegde content die Donemus via FUGA kan inzenden.

Fair Practice voor componisten en musici

Componisten en uitvoerders krijgen een billijk deel van de inkomsten. Componisten krijgen 25 procent en uitvoerenden samen 50 procent van de verdiende inkomsten. Donemus houdt 25 procent over voor de eigen inspanningen. Een eerlijke en transparante vergoeding maakt dit project zeer aantrekkelijk voor partners, van solisten tot symfonische orkesten.

Uitbreiding van de reikwijdte

Donemus Records wordt gelanceerd met het label Composers’ Voice. Deze naam is ontleend aan het verleden toen Donemus LP’s en fysieke CD’s produceerde. Het richt zich op opnames van werken van componisten die bij Donemus worden uitgegeven. Vrijwel de gehele back catalogus van 223 CD’s komt ook via FUGA beschikbaar. Donemus publiceert, vertegenwoordigt en promoot 650 componisten, meestal levende Nederlanders, maar in toenemende mate ook uit vele andere landen zoals bijvoorbeeld België, Duitsland, Italië, Polen. Veel van deze auteurs zijn aangesloten bij Buma/Stemra en genereren dus ‘Nederlands copyright’.

Tot nu toe hebben deze componisten genoeg opnames ingediend voor zo’n 150 releases, wat hun enthousiasme en vertrouwen in dit project en in Donemus duidelijk maakt. Het plan is echter om de scope van Donemus Records uit te breiden naar meer dan de componisten die door Donemus worden gepubliceerd.

In het najaar 2020 zal Donemus een nieuw label lanceren, Musicians’ Voice, met de intentie om deze diensten aan te bieden aan elke componist en musicus. Dit zal onze partners zoals orkesten, ensembles en solisten de mogelijkheid bieden om een nog breder scala aan opnames in te dienen. Voor velen van hen is het erg moeilijk om de weg naar Apple Music en Spotify te vinden. Nu al ontvangt Donemus opnames van muzikanten en orkesten uit heel Europa. Het nieuwe label komt tegemoet aan de groeiende vraag naar de diensten die Donemus aanbiedt.

Donemus Stichting

De Stichting Donemus Beheer bezit de uitgaverechten van meer dan 15.000 hedendaagse klassieke werken van 650 componisten. Oorspronkelijk opgericht in 1947, kort na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Donemus is een non-profit organisatie met een bestuur van vertegenwoordigers uit de muziekwereld. In 2013, toen de Nederlandse regering alle steun aan enkele grote kunstorganisaties introk, nam de nieuwe Stichting de uitgavetaak over van Muziek Centrum Nederland. De Stichting is verbonden aan Donemus Publishing BV, die namens en in opdracht van de Stichting de dagelijkse administratieve en uitvoerende werkzaamheden verricht.

De Stichting tekent jaarlijks 400 nieuwe uitgave-contracten. Ze begeleidt jonge componisten aan de Donemus Academie. Deze cursus wordt zowel gegeven op het Donemus-kantoor in Den Haag als op de afdeling Compositie van verschillende Nederlandse Conservatoria.

Donemus koestert zo’n 1000 gescande werken van Forbidden Music Regained, een project gericht op het bewaren en beschikbaar stellen van muziek van componisten die tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog waren verboden.

De Stichting heeft de ANBI-status, wat betekent dat zij erkend is als een Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling.

Jan Boerman †

On 25 October, composer Jan Boerman died at the age of 97. He was a pioneer in the field of electronic music, a man who experimented with endless patience in the music studio, and who over the decades built up an impressive oeuvre of mainly so-called ‘tape music’. Donemus will treasure his musical legacy…   

Jan Boerman had been a student at the Hague Conservatoire with Léon Orthel (with whom he studied piano – he himself continued to teach a minor in piano until his retirement) and Hendrik Andriessen (from whom he received composition lessons). He was attracted to electronic music because it was precisely in this area that there was so much to discover. He worked in the first electronic music studio in our country (in Delft) and was also a teacher at the Royal Conservatoire until the end of the 1980s.

In an in memoriam in De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa describes him as “one of the very greatest” in his field. With Dick Raaijmakers and Ton Bruynèl, he was, according to Van der Waa, one of “the pioneers of Dutch electronic music, but of the three of them he was the only one who focused mainly on ‘tape music’ and ‘entirely taped compositions’.”

In 1982 he was awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for his oeuvre. For his electronic composition Vocalise 1994, he was awarded the Willem Pijper Prize in 1997. The CD box The Complete Tape Music of Jan Boerman, which appeared in 1998, got an Edison Award.

Listen to his Complete Tape Music on Spotify:

We’ll Never Let You Down: A cello-opera on Jacqueline du Pré

This theatre and concert season Dutch Cello Sonatas and OT rotterdam present the cello-opera “We’ll Never Let You Down”. In the opera we observe two friends of the renowned cellist du Pré, one of the greatest cellists of her time. Tragically, she died at an age 42 of Multiple Sclerosis…   

In this triptych, two of Jackie’s friends stand by while the memories of their loving, talented friend are being tainted by gossip, rumors and slander. The stories do not reflect the way they remember the radiant Jackie and her unbridled passion and enthusiasm for music.

From a very young age Jackie played with famous orchestras and renowned conductors. At 28 years of age it was not possible for her anymore to play the cello, what in hindsight was caused by MS. And if this all was not tragic enough, a book (A genius in the family) and a movie appeared about Jackie’s life. The works garnered a lot of criticism, because Jackie was shamelessly represented as an erratic, selfish and demanding nymphomaniac. Unfortunately, the damage was done, and Jackie was not alive anymore to defend herself against these slanderous stories.

The opera is not only a tribute to and an attempt to rehabilitate Jacqueline du Pré, but also a story about pain after death of a loved one and the damage rumors, gossip and fake news can do. A subject that is more relevant than ever.


Initially, René Samson would compose the full opera. Sadly, he died unexpectedly in 2019. He left only the third act finished. Dutch Cello Sonatas decided the opera should go on and commissioned two young composers to write the two other acts. Mathilde Wantenaar wrote the first act and Max Knigge the second. Out of respect for their deceased colleague, the two composers have ingenuously incorporated themes and motives from René Samson’s act. This gives the opera a particular musical unity.

Review from the Parool newspaper:

Doris Hochscheid showed her unique qualities in We’ll Never Let You Down, which tells the tragic story of British star cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who had to stop at the age of 28 due to multiple sclerosis. After her death, her reputation was wrongfully tarnished by fake news. In We’ll Never Let You Down Hochscheid and Mattijs van der Woerd play in excellent English a couple that was a close friend of Du Pré and tells her life story. They are both musicians and actors; Hochscheid, in particular, makes a deep impression with the way she organically merges both roles.

Exceptional is that three composers wrote the music. In Act 1 Mathilde Wantenaar opts for beautiful, melancholic neo-romanticism, Max Knigge provides in Act 2 for stronger rhythmic impulses, beautiful melodies and a less evident tonal harmony, while René Samson (who was to write the whole opera, but died unexpectedly) in Act 3, when the story gets darker, makes use of far-reaching chromaticism with the accompanying dissonants.

Hochscheid, Van Ruth and Van de Woerd put down a completely convincing and at times poignant performance, which can make a name for itself internationally.


Mattijs van de Woerd – baritone, friend of Jackie
Doris Hochscheid – cello, friend of Jackie
Frans van Ruth – piano

Dramaturgy & Design

Mirjam Koen & Gerrit Timmers – Direction & Dramaturgy
Gerrit TImmers – Stage Design
Gerrit Timmers – Libretto
Anne Vegter – Prologue Text
Jacqueline de Maat – Costumes

We’ll Never Let You Down was produced in collaboration with Cello Biënnale Amsterdam.

Read the article by Thea Derks

Helena Basilova performs Morton Feldman: Triadic Memories

On one of our new labels, Donemus Musicians’ Voice, we have released a recording of Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories, recorded by Helena Basilova…   

The music that Morton Feldman created in the 10 years before his death in 1986 is among the most beautiful music composed in the second half of the 20th century. The majority of these works are chamber pieces for various combinations of strings and piano, but a couple of them are for piano alone, and one of those is Triadic Memories, which received its first performance at the ICA in London in 1981.

For Helena Basilova, recording this impressive work for piano solo was a long-lived wish, which came true last spring when she finally found the time, space and silence it required. For all the lockdowners out there: dissolve in time (it takes 90 min) & enjoy!


Donemus launches new labels!

Donemus is excited to announce two new labels, Donemus Musician’s Voice and Donemus Crossovers. Donemus Records will be now available for more partners in our network, especially to performers, ensembles and orchestras of older repertoire and recordings where classical is meeting other genres. We offer to bring your recordings to a world wide audience in over 80 countries…   

Donemus Musician’s Voice

The label Donemus Musicians’ Voice has its roots in the former label NM Classics. At our new label, musicians can release their album with all kinds of repertoire. One can find here the organ works of Jacob Bijster and Maurice Duruflé, performed by Piet van der Steen, the complete performances of Henk Klop, the Russian Medieval Requiem for choir.

In October, Donemus Records releases the recording by Helena Basilova of Morton Feldman’s ‘Triadic Memories’, an impressive milestone of contemporary piano music.

Find the new releases of Donemus Musician’s Voice here.

Donemus Crossovers

Some releases have a strong link with more popular genres. Donemus Crossovers contains works performed by Vincent Martig and Kathleen McLean with compostions by Chiel Meijering. The spoken word release of Merlijn Twaalfhoven and Jurriaan Berger called ‘Waartijd’ is another example of a Crossover


Find the new releases of  Donemus Crossover

Read more here.