Sander Germanus has a unique vision of music. Hallucinatory and disorienting harmonic progressions play an essential role in his world of sound. The expectations of the listener can be optimally put to the test by the dizzy fluctuations of his ‘dualistic tuning’ that he has developed. Within this strange but consonant musical context the hearer can also be put on the wrong track by means of contrary rhythms. With these unexpected but pleasurable dizzying sounds he is searching for a kind of intellectual entertainment that should make all intoxicants unnecessary. That’s why his motto is: “You don’t need drugs, just listen to my music!”
The composer explains: “From all the hallucinatory stimulants, the ones which enter the human body through the ear will cause the most beautiful alienating experiences, in my opinion. The way listeners can get pleasantly disoriented, just by playing with their musical expectations, fascinates me. These expectations, which are not given by nature but created by men and culture, are hammered into the brains of most people by endless repetition of the same tonal chord progressions in music. I like to play with this fact in an inventive and original way. The question to what extent these expectations can be changed in the mind of the average listener, so new musical perspectives could be accepted, intrigues me. Thereby also raises the interesting question whether new and unknown tonal functions and chord progressions, which are in a different way as logical as those that we know, will confuse the audience or will be adopted by them. My belief is that these listeners will be delightfully overwhelmed.”
Sander Germanus started composing music with microtones in 1996, based on his first microtonal experiment from 1992, in which he tried to let microtones sound beautiful. But it was not earlier than 1999 that he wrote a complete microtonal composition; his orchestral work Continental. After this year, almost all his works were composed in his ‘dualistic tuning’, using microtones. Since his composition Lunapark (2005-2006), which he wrote for the DoelenEnsemble and Calefax Reed Quintet, this dualistic tuning theory came together with his other inventions in terms of tempo and rhythm. Movement modulations, tempo circles, microtonal voice leading, tempo averages, stumbling rhythms; all these finds lead to a kind of ‘music thermic’, where the turbulence of the air, as it were, can be felt in his music. Without leaving these artistic principles, his music has recently evolved into various musical styles beyond contemporary classical music, after deciding to set up his own music group. With this group and its converted music instruments, he started a newand important phase in his musical work. Sander Germanus composed music for several ensembles, among others the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, Calefax Reed Quintet, Asko|Schönberg, Musikfabrik, Amstel Quartet, Il Solisti del Vento, Nieuw Ensemble, Quatuor Danel, DoelenEnsemble, Studio for New Music Ensemble Moscow, Residentie Orchestra, Percussion The Hague, Aurelia Saxophone Quartet and the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra. He received commissions from several concert series and festivals, such as the ZaterdagMatinee at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Festival of Flanders in Antwerp. His music has been performed in various countries and has been broadcasted by radio and television. His composition for piano Beetje Precies (Bit Precise) and his Capriccio voor genoeg vioolsnaren (Capriccio for enough violin strings) for violin were both recorded on CD. In 2011 the Etcetera label has released a CD, named Lunapark, with an overview of his microtonal chamber work, which was rated 10 stars in the renowned magazine for classical music ‘Listen’.
Sander Germanus (Amsterdam, 1972) studied classical saxophone from 1988 until 1995 with Ed Bogaard at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he finished his studies as a soloist with the highest grades and a distinction for artistic qualities. He began his music composition lessons with Peter-Jan Wagemans as his composition teacher and Klaas de Vries as his orchestration teacher in 1992 at the Conservatory of Rotterdam, where he finished his composition studies with honors in 1998. During 1994-1995 he also studied with Luc Van Hove at the Royal Flemish Music Conservatory in Antwerp. At the invitation of De Nederlandse Opera (Dutch National Opera & Ballet) he attended a master class of Pierre Boulez in 1995. He was admitted to the Orpheus Institute in Ghent in 1999, where he obtained his laureate diploma with his thesis on microtonal music in the spring of 2005. At this institute he joined several residential seminaries from Helmut Lachenmann, Jonathan Harvey, Jan van Vlijmen, Dick Raaijmakers among others.
In 1998 he won an incentive prize from the City of Amsterdam for his composition Adamsarchipel. And in 2000 he was nominated for the NPS Culture Prize on television for his quarter-tone orchestral work Continental and reached the final with a second place. During the season 2001/2002 he was offered a stipend at the Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, where he stayed for more than half a year to compose and to give lectures.
Since 2007 he is the artistic director of the Huygens-Fokker Foundation, centre for microtonal music in Amsterdam. Between 2010 and 2014, he was also a lecturer in contemporary art music at the master academy of the Lemmens Institute in Leuven (LUCA School of Arts).