Theo Verbey

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Theo Verbey (born 5 July 1959 in Delft) is a Dutch composer.


Theo Verbey first achieved recognition for his orchestral arrangement of Alban Berg's Piano Sonata, Op. 1, a piece he orchestrated in 1984 while still a student. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague where he graduated in 1986. His principle composition teachers were Peter Schat and Jan van Vlijmen.[1] Upon completing his studies Verbey rapidly became one of the most performed of living Dutch composers.[2] In 1987 he was awarded the Amsterdam Arts Fund's incentive award for young composers, and has since received commissions from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, the London Sinfonietta, the Residentie Orchestra, the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, Klangforum Wien, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and many others. Theo Verbey teaches at both the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, as well as having been on the composition jury for the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition in Brussels in 1992 and 1997.[3] His work shows a high regard for structure, beauty, and a great historical awareness, as well as a special regard for instrumental color and subtle harmonies.


Recently Theo Verbey completed his second commission for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra: LIED, for Trombone and Orchestra, with Jörgen van Rijen as soloist. This piece has since been performed by the Czech Philharmonic in Prague. His Fractal Symphony was chosen by choreographer Regina van Berkel as music to accompany her ballet Memory of a Shape performed by Ballet Mainz in 2009. Van Berkel has now completed a second ballet based on Verbey’s music which was performanced by the ballet company of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in February/March 2011 under the title Frozen Echo.[4] In November 2010, Theo Verbey's piece Bandersnatch for cello and pianola was premiered by Larissa Groeneveld as part of the Amsterdam Cello Biënnale. It was Mr. Verbey's second commission for the Biënnale.[5]

In 2009/2010, Theo Verbey was Composer-in-Residence of the Brabant Philharmonic Orchestra, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. In celebration of that orchestra’s 60th jubilee, Verbey was commissioned to compose Orchestral Variations which showcases each section of the orchestra both individually and within the ensemble.

Theo Verbey is currently working on a live music score to accompany the 1919 silent film Die Teufelskirche. The score for large ensemble will make use of the pianola. This is not Theo Verbey's first contact with the medium of film: in 1994, film maker Alejandro Agresti used Verbey's piece TEGENBEWEGING as the basis of his short film which formed a segment of Hexagon, a film project made for the Holland Festival.[6]


In addition to composing his own works, Theo Verbey has earned high regard for his orchestrations. One of his earliest successes, Alban Berg's Piano Sonata, Op. 1, has been performed many times by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,[2] among others. More recent orchestrations have included an arrangement of Leoš Janáček’s piano sonata 1. X. 1905. In 2006 Theo Verbey was asked by Amsterdam Sinfonietta to arrange the three remaining movements of Alban Berg's Lyric Suite for string orchestra.[7] At the invitation of ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) this version of the Lyric Suite was included in Amsterdam Sinfonietta's successful 2011 tour of six major European cities. Mr. Verbey was granted permission by the heirs of Igor Stravinsky to complete the orchestration of the unfinished 1919 version of Les noces for voices, pianola, 2 cimbaloms, harmonium and percussion. This version has been so successful that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands chose it for her annual Queen’s Day Concert in her palace in The Hague.


  1. ^ Mijnheer, J. (2000). "Theo Verbey", The Essential Guide to Dutch Music
  2. ^ a b "Composer in the Spotlight: Theo Verbey", Music Center The Netherlands, Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  3. ^ Samama, L. "Verbey, Theo", Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 1 September 2010. (subscription required)
  4. ^ World premiere of Frozen Echo by Regina van Berkel, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  5. ^ on 2010-29-11
  6. ^ on 2011-12-4
  7. ^ Alban Berg - Lyrische Suite/ for string orchestra, Universal Edition Retrieved 28 September 2010.

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