Boudewijn Tarenskeen was born on December 15, 1952 in Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea (present-day Indonesia) as Dirk Jozef Boudewijn Tarenskeen. He moved to the Netherlands in 1962.
After completing secondary school, he studied oboe for one year at the former Muzieklyceum (Academy of Music) in Amsterdam, followed by four years of composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague under Peter Schat, Louis Andriessen en Konrad Boehmer.
Tarenskeen has made solution drawings for Anthony Fiumara on the occasion of his premiere on March 29th, in 2008 in Amsterdam.
Since 1976, Tarenskeen has been a full-time composer of orchestral music, chamber music, ballet music, musical theater, theater music, film scores, religious music, and songs.
Tarenskeen writes compositions for various instruments, which are carried out by his own ensembles, and other ensembles including Asko|Schönberg, Ensemble LOOS, Orkest de Volharding, het Nederlands Ballet Orkest, het Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Cappella Amsterdam, Nederlands Kamerorkest, the David Kweksilber Big Band, Cello Octet Amsterdam, and Ensemble Electra.
He writes chamber music commissioned by renowned soloists like Esther Apituley, Gerard Bouwhuis, Heleen Hulst, Charles van Tassel, Isabelle van Keulen, Ronald Brautigam, Wende Snijders, Charlotte Riedijk, Ramses Shaffy, Hadewych Minis, and Lavinia Meier.
Through many collaborations with choreographers, writers and directors, including Rudi van Dantzig, Ted Brandsen, Karin Post, Gerardjan Rijnders, Frans Strijards, Lodewijk de Boer, Janine Brogt, Judith Herzberg, Rob de Graaf and Paul Koek, a large number of dramatic musical works had been created.
In addition, Tarenskeen wrote music for the film-makers Marleen Gorris, Leon de Winter, Rudolf van den Berg and others. This resulted in the movies "Romeo" (1990), "Zoeken naar Eileen" (1987), "De Grens" (1985) and "The Last Island" (1990).
His most recent works include Saul: for bigband and actor (2015), Winterreise: for singer-songwriter and piano (2013), Luther: for bariton, actor, mixed choir and organ (2013), Song for harp solo (2012) and Erwartung: for voice and orchestra (2011).
In 2009, he was awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for his composition of the St. Matthew Passion for 19 singers. The Matthijs Vermeulen Prize is the most important Dutch Composition Prize, named after the deceased symphonic composer Matthijs Vermeulen.
The jury called the composition of Tarenskeen ”a work of art of international stature”. “The essence of his work, which is on the border between concert and theater, reveals herself only after a period of time. With a lean and efficient use of a limited number of basic resources, the composer has created an acoustic and theatrically exciting work for Cappella Amsterdam.”