Intermusica Artists' Management

 

 

Intermusica represents Michel van der Aa for project management worldwide

Manager, Tours, Projects, Screen & Score:
Kate Caro

Other Links:

Michel van der Aa's website

Boosey & Hawkes

Disquiet Media

Michel van der Aa on Twitter

Michel van der Aa on Facebook

Michel van der Aa

Project Management

One of the most distinctive of the younger composers in Europe today. His ability to fuse music, text and visual images into a totally organic whole sets him apart from nearly all his contemporaries.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian


Michel van der Aa 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 theatre and multimedia.

Van der Aa’s imaginative music theatre works The Book of Disquiet (2008), After Life (2005/06) and One (2002) have received critical and public acclaim internationally. Staging, film and music are interwoven into a collage of transparent layers, resulting in works that are part-documentary, part-philosophy. His repertoire also includes concert works and chamber music for small ensemble, soloists and soundtrack and recently he collaborated with Sol Gabetta on the cross-media cello concerto Up-close (2010). A hugely successful project, the work has been performed in cities including Berlin, London, Brussels, Luxembourg and Hamburg and has received excellent reviews.

Netherlands-born, van der Aa maintains strong roots in his home country including close ties with the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and the Holland Festival. The Concertgebouw Orchestra recently announced a long term partnership with van der Aa. The new position of ‘House Composer’ will lead to the creation of several major works over the next few years and includes a new violin concerto written for Janine Jansen, which will be premiered in autumn 2014 by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; the position is due to culminate with a brand new Passion in 2017. Van der Aa is now working on a new 3D film opera, entitled Sunken Garden, with a libretto by David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas. Co-commissioned by English National Opera, Opera de Lyon, Toronto Luminato Festival and Holland Festival, the work will receive its world premiere by ENO at the Barbican, London in April 2013.

Winner of numerous awards for his innovative work, van der Aa is a regular guest of the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls including London’s Barbican Centre, Opera de Lyon, Berliner Festspiele, Venice Biennale, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Gaudeamus Music Week, Huddersfield Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Festival and Autumn in Warsaw. His compositions have been performed at the highest international level: by the ASKO|Schoenberg, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, De Nederlandse Opera, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, musikFabrik, Continuum Ensemble Toronto, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Phiharmonia Orchestra and Helsinki Avanti Ensemble.

In 2010, van der Aa launched Disquiet Media, an independent multimedia label for his own work. In autumn 2012, he launched an online distribution channel called Disquiet.tv, which will be fully interactive for audiences and showcase his own work, in addition to that of other artists.

Michel van der Aa is represented by Intermusica for exclusive project management internationally. Michel van der Aa’s works are published by Boosey & Hawkes.
November 2012 / 457 words. Not to be altered without permission.


After Life

Opera for 6 singers, ensemble, video and electronic soundtrack

• Duration: 100’ Libretto after Hirokazu Kore-Eda, adapted by Michel van der Aa.

• Scoring: 2S,M,A,2Bar; 0.1.1.bcl.0 - 0.1.0.1 - positive org(=hpd) - strings(3.3.3.2.2); electronic soundtrack; 2video projections

• World premiere: 02/06/2006 – De Nederlandse Opera ASKO ensemble – Otto Tausk, conductor

What was the most defining moment in your life?
This is the question that stands at the heart of Michel van der Aa’s opera. Taking the film of the same name by Hirokazu Kore-Eda as its basis, the opera introduces us to people who are taken directly from their earthly existence into heaven. They may experience their most important memory once more in the form of a film and then take it with them into eternity.

A complex structure results from a combination of live action, film, live music and electronic sounds, which van der Aa builds further onto his successful one act opera One – itself awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize in 2004. Extremely diverse time-periods are reflected in the music and in the plot, although the work nevertheless preserves its clarity and an unequivocality that flows ceaselessly from its humanistic base.


“Van der Aa, stage director and mastermind as well as composer, pushes the boundaries of all of his media. This is the Gesamtkunst of the future.”
Financial Times

“To classify a new opera as a masterpiece is a risky venture, but renewed acquaintance with After Life only confirms the [reaction to] the first series of performances in 2006: this is a remarkable opera by a remarkable talent… Everyone, but everyone, must see it.”
8Weekly

“Van der Aa’s skill at combining film and operatic action is breathtaking [...] In this respect Van der Aa has already established himself as the forerunner of a new generation of composers who think in video as well as in audio terms. Inescapable conclusion: After Life is a masterpiece. Don’t miss it.”
het Parool

“A masterly multimedia opera for a new era, which hopefully heralds many more. Van der Aa has created with After Life a spectacular new world of opera. […]The tip-top cast and director (Van der Aa himself) raised the opera to a higher level. This truly fabulous new opera deserves, whatever the difficulties, to go on tour world-wide.”
Trouw

Click here to find out more about After Life on Michel van der Aa's website.

Back to Top


The Book of Disquiet

Music theatre for actor, ensemble and film

• Duration: 75’ Libretto after Fernando Pessoa, adapted by Michel van der Aa (German, Portugese, English)

• Scoring: 1.0.1.1 – 0.1.0.0 – perc (1): vib / glsp / 3metal pieces / cabasa / maracas / egg shaker / 4Chin.tom – t / BD / bamboo chimes / ratchet / whip (med) / wdbl (lo) / 2log dr / tgl (hi) / 2susp.cym – 4vln. 3vla. 2vlc. db – soundtrack (laptop, 1player) – film (2screens)

• World premiere: 02 January 2009, Bruckner Orchestra, cond. Dennis Russell Davies, Klaus Maria Brandauer, actor

• Commission: By LINZ09 European Cultural Capital, ZaterdagMatinee, Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst

• Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes

Michel van der Aa’s work, The Book of Disquiet, was the first staged production in Linz’s Cultural Capital of Europe celebrations in January 2009. Following After Life, van der Aa again provides cutting-edge integration of music, film and soliloquy, here built from text fragments by the Portugese poet, Fernando Pessoa.

Pessoa was many authors in one. He often cast himself in a series of distinct characters, or ‘heteronyms’, prompting van der Aa to portray multiple personalities on video and soundtrack, surrounding the central figure of the actor on stage. He attributed his prolific writings to a wide range of alternative selves, each of whom had a distinct biography, ideology, and horoscope. When he died in 1935, Pessoa left behind a trunk filled with unfinished and unpublished writings, among which the remarkable pages that make up his posthumous masterpiece The Book of Disquiet. This astonishing collection is the autobiography of alter ego Bernando Soares, whose personality Pessoa described as not different from his, but rather a simple mutilation of it. Though it does not matter what he writes, Soares writes anyway. For him, cataloguing his shifts of mood, notating dream vignettes, studying his own psychological states, relating autobiographical anecdotes, pushes him closer to the ever-elusive nature of the self.


“The true quality of Van der Aa’s work lies in the way in which images, electronic sound, live music and language interact. The music does not force itself onto the piece; it adjusts itself to the images and text. Here intentionally wooden, there agitated, at times mellifluous – but always intelligently calculated.”
Volkskrant

“Magically, it all coheres: the parade of visuals, beautifully shot under Van der Aa’s direction […] there is a kind of closure here, a sense of knowing much more about the author and his alter ego than we ever would otherwise.”
The Guardian

“[Van der Aa’s] paths bring us to the kind of places we have not yet visited, but would like to see more often.”
NRC Handelsblad

Click here to find out more about The Book of Disquiet on Michel van der Aa's website.

Back to Top


Sunken Garden

A 3D film-opera

• Premiere: 2013

• Libretto: by David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas)

Production: Intermusica is now seeking additional co-producers (London and Amsterdam secured) for this exciting new musical work, which will include state-of-the-art multimedia dimensions and the latest in 3D technology.

Incorporating footage from Jonas Smith’s film and dealing in ambition and celebrity, bright hoax and dark truth, in the virtual and the bodily, in Faustian pacts and survival-hunger, Sunken Garden is an occult-mystery film-opera by Dutch composer and film and stage director Michel van der Aa and British novelist David Mitchell.

Synopsis
Strangers pass the narrow mouth of Union Alley without a second glance. Locals shun this brick-walled short-cut without knowing why, but to Jonas Smith, wannabe moviemaker, it inspires The Vanishings of Union Alley, an online documentary to showcase his directorial talents: three disappearances have occurred here, in eleven-year cycles. When Jonas starts shooting his film, he thinks he’s found a juicy urban myth, but soon he is visited by Les Vickery, whose life was derailed by whatever inhabits Union Alley.

The older man’s story turns the ‘Missing Names’ into flesh-and-blood people for Jonas, ones whose true stories come to obsess him: divorced Mrs Sawyer and her son Robin; forlorn blogger Devon, searching for a soul-mate; student Helen Faber, hunting a house-party. Sifting archives and cuttings, Super-8 and police records, Smith and Vickery reconstruct these mysteriously cut-short lives and follow a trail leading to 1926, when an Anglo-Indian widow named Zela Law and her adopted children disappeared from the Georgian house standing on the site of Union Alley. Rumours gather: of Tamil mysticism from Zela Law’s Madras childhood; of a mind-game to evade Death at ‘accumulative interest’; and an opaque figure named Marinus, somehow connected to each disappearance…

Back to Top

“One of the most distinctive of the younger composers in Europe today. His ability to fuse music, text and visual images into a totally organic whole sets him apart from nearly all his contemporaries.”
The Guardian, April 2010

“The international success of composer Van der Aa […] lies not only in the quality of his music (although publisher Boosey & Hawkes of course was also well taken by the notes), but also in his mission to explore new paths in music and music theatre with the help of a variety of media.”
NRC Handelsblad, October 2009

“Van der Aa, stage director and mastermind as well as composer, pushes the boundaries of all of his media. This is the Gesamtkunst of the future.”
Financial Times, June 2006

Up-close / 2010
“It was a richly intriguing affair. My inability precisely to say how Up-Close’s recipe of resonance and mystery worked is itself a form of praise.”
The Observer, March 2011

“Written for Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta, this hauntingly beautiful work is among Van der Aa’s finest… Being “up-close” can never give us the bigger picture, and we are left with a mystery that continues to resonate after the music has faded.”
The Guardian, March 2011

“It works because Van der Aa is an unequalled master at creating a high-tech whole…from the interconnection of all the elements. It makes for a very contemporary form of intelligent, but nevertheless accessible music theatre.”
Parool, March 2011

“Film and live images intermingle poetically, and Van der Aa’s wonderful music does the rest… When music, electronics and string orchestra then suddenly converge, the magic that you so often hear in Van der Aa’s music is there again. A fine addition.”
Trouw, March 2011

The Book of Disquiet / 2008
“The true quality of Van der Aa’s work lies in the way in which images, electronic sound, live music and language interact. The music does not force itself onto the piece; it adjusts itself to the images and text. Here intentionally wooden, there agitated, at times mellifluous – but always intelligently calculated.”
Volkskrant, October 2009

“Magically, it all coheres: the parade of visuals, beautifully shot under Van der Aa’s direction […] there is a kind of closure here, a sense of knowing much more about the author and his alter ego than we ever would otherwise.”
The Guardian, January 2009

“[Van der Aa’s] paths bring us to the kind of places we have not yet visited, but would like to see more often.”
NRC Handelsblad, October 2009

After Life / 2005-2006
“To classify a new opera as a masterpiece is a risky venture, but renewed acquaintance with ‘After Life’ only confirms the [reaction to] the first series of performances in 2006: this is a remarkable opera by a remarkable talent. An opera that in 2006 touched a nerve and again asks the tricky question ‘what was the deciding moment in your life?’ – that is a masterpiece. Everyone, but everyone, must see it.”
8Weekly, October 2009

“Van der Aa’s skill at combining film and operatic action is breathtaking [...] In this respect Van der Aa has already established himself as the forerunner of a new generation of composers who think in video as well as in audio terms. Inescapable conclusion: After Life is a masterpiece. Don’t miss it.”
het Parool, June 2006

“A masterly multimedia opera for a new era, which hopefully heralds many more. Van der Aa has created with After Life a spectacular new world of opera. […]The tip-top cast and director (Van der Aa himself) raised the opera to a higher level. This truly fabulous new opera deserves, whatever the difficulties, to go on tour world-wide.”
Trouw, June 2006

Documents

Michel van der Aa biography Download
Michel van der Aa press quotes Download

Photos

Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Michel van der Aa (credit: Marco Borggreve) Download
Artist News

More Michel van der Aa news