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Michel van der Aa


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Michel van der Aa, winner of the 2015 Johannes Vermeer Award and 2013 Grawemeyer Award, is one of today’s most sought-after composers and stage directors. A pioneer in the realms of new music and technology, his staged works—incorporating film and sampled soundtrack—are a seamless hybrid of musical theater and multimedia.   Van der Aa’s imaginative music theatre works Blank Out, Sunken Garden, The Book of Disquiet, After Life, and One have received critical and public acclaim internationally. His repertoire also includes concert works and chamber music for small ensemble, soloists, and soundtrack. He collaborated with Sol Gabetta on the cross-media cello concerto Up-close. His 3D film opera, Sunken Garden, an ‘occult-mystery film-opera,’ was created in partnership with the English novelist David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas.   Van der Aa’s music has been featured at many leading international festivals and is performed regularly by orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Central to Van der Aa’s practice is collaboration and interdisciplinarity. He has worked with classical performers such as Sol Gabetta, Barbara Hannigan, Janine Jansen, Christianne Stotijn, and Roderick Williams, as well as the Portuguese fado singer Ana Moura, pop acts Kate Miller-Heidke and These New Puritans, and well-known European actors like Klaus Maria Brandauer, and Samuel West. Van der Aa has been a ‘house composer’ with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 2011-2019.