Giel Vleggaar was born on January 9, 1974 in Amsterdam. He studied jazz arranging and composition with Jurre Haanstra at the Hilversum Conservatory and classical composition with Daan Manneke and Theo Verbey at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He has taken master classes with George Crumb, among others.
Upon finishing his studies, Vleggaar won the NOG Encouragement Prize from the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra (Holland Symfonia) for his orchestral piece Fast Lane Woodpecker. A steady stream of commissions and performances have followed since, both in the Netherlands and abroad. He has written works for the Asko Ensemble, Orkest de Volharding, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Nederlands Strijkers Gilde, the Nederlands Vocaal Laboratorium, the Doelenkwartet and the Radio Kamer Filharmonie.
Giel Vleggaar’s music is characterized by its great accessibility and listenability. Vleggaar playfully intertwines the most disparate styles from various historical eras, all the while keeping his background in pop and jazz firmly on the forefront. In Appalachia, written in 2004 for the Nieuw Ensemble, bluegrass, bebop and avantgarde enter into an explosive marriage; in Dead as Disco, written in 2006 for the Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Vleggaar describes the slow decline of the disco genre in the light of 80’s electro-pop. His music resounds with lyricism and has an incessant, even obstinate rhythmic drive. What’s more, he writes just as easily for percussion duo or ensemble with electric guitar as he does for wind or symphony orchestra.