Author Archives: Thea Derks

About Thea Derks

I am a Dutch music journalist, specializing in contemporary music, and a champion of women composers. In 2014 I wrote the biography of Reinbert de Leeuw (3rd edition in 2020) and in 2018 I published 'Een os op het dak: moderne muziek na 1900 in vogelvlucht'.

Rebecca Clarke, celebrated viola player, forgotten composer

This spring, the Italian pianist Gioia Giusti is dedicating the music show Ha avuto un padre anch’io to Rebecca Clarke, at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence (12 March) and the Teatro Giuglielmi in Massa (30 March). It is named … Continue reading

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Golda Schultz gives fabulous voice to women composers

In the recent surge of CD’s featuring music by women composers This Be Her Verse offers a veritable breath of fresh air. South African soprano Golda Schultz works from an intrinsic motivation. In the booklet she writes how she always … Continue reading

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Emilie Mayer defied 19th century mores with grand symphonies

As with many a composer, Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) was very successful during her lifetime, but was forgotten almost immediately after her death. The German historian Barbara Beuys is now restoring her to her former glory with the biography Emilie Mayer, … Continue reading

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Intercontinental Ensemble builds an arc of women composers

The CD Arc by the Intercontinental Ensemble is entirely dedicated to music by women composers. It is a recent trend: after ages of neglect, the female composer is finally on the rise. Ensembles, orchestras and musicians whose programmes up to … Continue reading

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Rain Worthington hits nostalgic tone on CD Passages Through Time

The CD Passages Through Time paints a portrait of American composer Rain Worthington in eight compositions for strings in various settings. The CD-inlay promises ‘a journey through the currents of Worthington’s musical streams’, that will ‘reveal the primal commonality of … Continue reading

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Annelies Vrieswijk honours French composers on CD Héroines

On her latest album, alto saxophonist Annelies Vrieswijk presents music by three French composers who have been very inspirational for her. The title is as simple as it is effective: Héroines. She graduated with honours twice: in 2006 Annelies Vrieswijk … Continue reading

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Russian composer Roman Stolyar writes B-ut-c-h-a: ‘I can’t remain silent on the war against Ukraine’

Shocked on learning how Russian soldiers had ruthlessly killed innocent civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha in March 2022, Roman Stolyar composed B-ut-c-h-a for piano and strings. Though he offered the score as a free download, the piece has … Continue reading

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Elena Firsova composes Piano Concerto for Concertgebouw Orchestra: ‘A new work of art brings new life’

On 16 and 17 June, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will present the world premiere of Elena Firsova’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. She was inspired by a quotation from Boris Pasternak and a motif from Beethoven. I interviewed her for … Continue reading

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Composer Indra Riše: ‘I get bored if music doesn’t come from the soul’

Whereas the Dutch government seems to regard culture as a superfluous luxury, other countries cherish its intrinsic value. The Latvian Music Information Centre regularly presents new CDs by composers from Latvia. In 2021 it released Trumpets of Angels with six … Continue reading

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Jennifer Walshe composes Mars I: ‘My robots follow the trajectory of the Perseverance Rover’

In collaboration with AMMODO, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ regularly presents brand new compositions intended to reach a general audience. In the afternoon, a piece is worked on extensively in a public rehearsal; in the evening, the world premiere is performed. … Continue reading

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