Michel van der Aa
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Michel van der Aa was born 10 March 1970 in Oss. He trained as a recording engineer at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and studied composition with Diderik Wagenaar, Gilius van Bergeijk and Louis Andriessen.
The music of Van der Aa has been performed by ensembles and orchestras internationally. Those include the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, Freiburger Barockorchester, Ensemble Modern, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, De Nederlandse Opera, Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, Seattle Chamber Players, Ensemble Nomad Tokyo, musikFabrik, Continuum Ensemble Toronto, SWR Orchestra Baden-Baden & Freiburg, Netherlands Radio Orchestras, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra Sweden, and the Helsinki Avanti Ensemble.
He completed a short program in film directing at the New York Film Academy in 2002. He also participated in the Lincoln Center Theater Director's Lab, a short, intensive course in stage direction in 2007.
Michel van der Aa's music theatre works, including the chamber opera One (2002), the opera After Life (2006, Amsterdam) and the music theatre work "The Book of Disquiet", have received international critical and public acclaim. The innovative aspect of these operas is their use of film images and sampled soundtracks as an essential element of the score. Staging, film and music are interwoven into a collage of transparent layers, resulting in a work that is part documentary film and part philosophy.
He directed the television production of One for the Dutch national broadcasting company NPS. Passage (2004), a short film by van der Aa, has been shown at several international festivals and has been aired on Dutch national television.
He has been a featured artist at the Perth Tura New Music Festival and Holland Festival. He has collaborated with choreographers such as Kazuko Hirabayashi, Philippe Blanchard, Ben Wright and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.
Van der Aa was recipient of the Gaudeamus International Composers Award in 1999. He also received the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Award for One in 2004. He received the Siemens Composers Prize in 2005. He also received the Charlotte Köhler Prize for his directing work and the interdisciplinary character of his oeuvre in the same year. He was awarded the Paul Hindemith Prize of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in 2006.
In November 2012 it was announced that Van der Aa would be the recipient of the 2013 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition, for his cello concerto Up-Close, a 'highly innovative fusion of musical and visual art' written for Sol Gabetta and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
Van der Aa has recently completed a new 3D film-opera entitled Sunken Garden, in collaboration with David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, Sunken Garden is a joint commission from English National Opera, Barbican Centre, Toronto Luminato Festival, Opera National de Lyon, and the Holland Festival, and was given its première by English National Opera under André de Ridder at the Barbican Centre, London, on 12 April 2013, with Roderick Williams in the role of Toby.
Forthcoming projects include a clarinet concerto for the London Sinfonietta to be premiered in April 2014 and new pieces for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as part of his long-term partnership with that group, which will include a large orchestral work, a solo concerto, and an evening-length Passion setting for soloists, choir and orchestra, expected to première in 2017.
His music is recorded on the Harmonia Mundi, Col Legno, Composers’ Voice, BVHaast, and VPRO Eigenwijs labels, as well as his own label Disquiet Media.
Opera and music theatre
- Vuur (2001), opera, for solo voice, actors, singers, ensemble & soundtrack
- One (2002), chamber opera, for soprano, soundtrack & film
- libretto by the composer
- After Life (2005–06), opera, for six solo voices, ensemble, soundtrack & film
- libretto by the composer, after Hirokazu Kore-Eda
- The Book of Disquiet (2008), music theatre, for actor, ensemble, soundtrack & film
- libretto after Fernando Pessoa, adapted by the composer
- Sunken Garden (2011–12), opera, for three singers, ensemble, soundtrack & film 
- libretto by David Mitchell
- See-Through (2000), for orchestra
- Here [to be found] (2001), for soprano, chamber orchestra & soundtrack
- Here [enclosed] (2003), for chamber orchestra & soundtrack
- Second Self (2004), for orchestra & soundtrack
- Imprint (2005), for Baroque orchestra
- Spaces of Blank (2007), song-cycle for mezzo-soprano, orchestra & soundtrack
- Span (1996), for ensemble & soundtrack
- Between (1997), for percussion quartet & soundtrack
- Above (1999), for ensemble & soundtrack
- Attach (1999-2000), for ensemble & soundtrack
- Here [in circles] (2002), for soprano (with small cassette player) & ensemble
- Mask (2006), for ensemble & soundtrack
- Up-Close (2010), concerto for solo cello, strings ensemble/orchestra, soundtrack & film
- Auburn (1994), for guitar (classical or electric) & soundtrack
- Oog (1995), for cello & soundtrack
- Double (1997), for violin & piano
- Quadrivial (1997), for flute, violin, cello & prepared piano
- Solo (1997), for percussion solo
- Wake (1997), for percussion duo
- Caprce (1999), for violin solo
- Just Before (1999), for piano & soundtrack
- Memo (2003), for violin & portable cassette recorder
- Transit (2009), for piano & film
- Rekindle (2009), for flute & soundtrack
- And how are we today? (2012), for mezzo-soprano, piano & double bass
- Miles Away (2012), for mezzo-soprano, violin, piano & double bass
Dance and film
- now [in fragments] (1995), for soprano, clarinet, cello & soundtrack
- Staring at the Space (1995–96), for chamber orchestra
- 70 minute theatre/dance work, commissioned by the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and the Östgöta Dance Company
- Faust (1998), for ensemble & soundtrack
- a large-scale (90 minute) dance work, commissioned by the New National Theatre Tokyo, choreographed by Kazuko Hirabayashi
- The New Math(s) (2000), for soprano, traverso, marimba, violin & soundtrack
- Solitaire (2003), for violin & soundtrack
- Writing to Vermeer (1999), opera by Louis Andriessen and Peter Greenaway, with the thirteen electronic music inserts (which accompany a corresponding film projection) composed by van der Aa.
- Reeder, Jonathan (September 2007). "Michel van der Aa". Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- PICARD, ANNA (April 1, 2012). "Riccardo Primo, Britten Theatre, London Life Is a Dream, Argyle Works, Birmingham Timberbrit, Bussey Building, London". The Independent. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- http://www.intermusica.co.uk/vanderaa#Zela Law
- [Sunken Garden - Vanderaa.net Michel van der Aa website]. Accessed 17 Sept 2014
- "Virtual International Philharmonic".
- Michel van der Aa — Official website
- Michel van der Aa — Twitter
- Michel van der Aa — Facebook
- Michel van der Aa — Intermusica
- Michel van der Aa - Virtual International Philharmonic
- A biography on IRCAM's website (French)