Author Archives: theaderks

About theaderks

Thea Derks is a Dutch music journalist, who studied musicology at Amsterdam University. She' specialized in contemporary music and always has an eye open for women composers. In 2014 she wrote the biography of Reinbert de Leeuw and in 2018 she published 'Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht'.

‘Wikileaks has never been caught on a single error’ – Iris ter Schiphorst writes Assange: Fragmente einer Unzeit

‘There is an information war going on at the moment, which shows how important data are. The Assange case is the most poignant example of this,’ says the Dutch-German composer Iris Ter Schiphorst. She addresses this theme in Assange: Fragmente … Continue reading

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The soprano sighs, whispers, breathes in, breathes out, groans and squeeks – Helmut Lachenmann’s Got Lost in November Music

The German composer Helmut Lachenmann (1935) is the champion of evocative squeaks, grindings and splatters. Like John Cage, he hears music in unusual sources. Rarely an instrument is played as is prescribed in the books. ‘Making music with sounds is … Continue reading

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Music from anger and powerlessness – Georg Friedrich Haas in November Music

Georg Friedrich Haas is one of the central composers in the upcoming edition of the newmusic festival November Music. Last year the Austrian created a sensation in the Holland Festival by openly talking about his master-slave relationship with his wife … Continue reading

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‘Like a terrifying chorus of ghostly aliens’ – Why you must simply undergo Anna Korsun’s music

‘With her surprising and communicative music, Anna Korsun rose high above her colleagues.’ I wrote this in 2014, when she won the Gaudeamus Award. I concluded: ‘We’re definitely going to hear more from her’, and since then the Ukrainian composer … Continue reading

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‘I decided to make an unembashed romantic gesture and blast people away’ – Mathilde Wantenaar composes new piece for Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

Be creative on demand? Impossible, one would think. Yet it is reality for composers and artists who work on commission. Mathilde Wantenaar (1993) suffered acute choice stress when the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra asked her for a new piece. She was … Continue reading

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‘Topical themes inevitably seep into my compositions’ – Meriç Artaç artist in residence for two seasons of Dag in de Branding

Born in 1990 in Istanbul, Meriç Artaç rapidly made a name for herself in the Netherlands, after graduating from Rotterdam Conservatoire in 2015. She realized topical operas such as Zonderland, Madam Koo and Vrouwenstemmen, leads her own ensemble AKOM and … Continue reading

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‘I hope we will glide into another world together’ – Calliope Tsoupaki composes Bosch Requiem ‘Liknon’ for November Music

In 1988 Calliope Tsoupaki (1963) came from Greece to the Netherlands to study composition with Louis Andriessen. Exactly 30 years later she was appointed ‘Componist des Vaderlands’ (Composer Laureate). In this capacity she has already composed a number of highly … Continue reading

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Hanns Eisler: life-long struggle against oppression. Two-day symposium in Amsterdam and Hilversum

Who was Hanns  Eisler? He may be a celebrity in Germany and Austria, but in the Netherlands his music is seldom heard. Nevertheless, his work is still highly topical. Throughout his life he fought against oppression, just as today people … Continue reading

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Clara Schumann: after 200 years still overshadowed by Robert

Two hundred years ago, on 13 September 1819, Clara Schumann was born in Leipzig, as Clara Wieck. She ranks as one of the greatest pianists of the nineteenth century. Against her father’s will she married Robert Schumann, whose work she … Continue reading

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Whoever said modern music is humourless and cerebral? Kelley Sheehan wins Gaudeamus Award 2019

For a moment the envelope doesn’t seem to open, but then Ingrid van Engelshoven conjures up the redeeming piece of paper. ‘The winner of the Gaudeamus Award 2019 is Kelley Sheehan!’ The small American composer is visibly surprised, she hasn’t … Continue reading

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