BIOGRAPHY

Componist Giel Vleggaar 2022

Composer Giel Vleggaar was born on January 9, 1974 in Amsterdam. He started playing piano when he was 11 years old. It was Beethoven or nothing, until he got his hands on an electric guitar. From then on, his musical life was all about Prince and funk. He studied Jazz Arranging and Composition with Jurre Haanstra at the Hilversum Conservatory, and broadened his horizons further with a study of Classical Composition at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Daan Manneke and Theo Verbey. He took guest lessons with George Crumb, among others. A visit to The Gambia brought him in contact with the music of the Wolof tribe. He has also immersed himself into the music theory of Carnatic music from South India.

After his studies, Giel Vleggaar received the NOG Encouragement Prize from the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra (Holland Symfonia) in 2002, for his orchestral work Fast Lane Woodpecker. Since then, a steady stream of commissions and performances has followed in the Netherlands and abroad. He has written works for Orkest de Volharding, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Nederlands Strijkers Gilde, the Netherlands Vocal Laboratory, the Doelen String Quartet, Asko|Schönberg and the Dutch Radio Chamber Philharmonic. His Piano Concerto, which was premiered by Ralph van Raat in the Saturday Matinee in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2009, was widely received with glowing reviews. His work was performed at the Holland Festival and in 2012 he returned as a composer to the Saturday Matinee with the oratorio The Trees of Paradise.

Giel Vleggaar’s music is characterized by great accessibility and melodiousness. As a composer, Vleggaar playfully mixes the most diverse styles from music history, with the pop and jazz background coming to the fore in all his works. In Appalachia from 2004 for the Nieuw Ensemble, bluegrass, bebop and avant-garde music enter into an explosive marriage. In his 2006 orchestral work Dead as Disco for the Radio Chamber Philharmonic, Vleggaar describes the slow demise of the disco genre, seen in the light of eighties electro-pop. His music often sounds lyrical and has an infectious, sometimes obstinate rhythmic drive. He writes with the same ease for small ensembles as for symphony orchestra.

Recently, he was involved as a musical advisor in the performances Rito de Primavera at the Holland Festival and De langste nacht by Cappella Amsterdam with Project Wildeman. As a composer and arranger, he also contributed pieces for the Concertgebouworkest’s children’s performance Maankozijn. In addition to his activities in classical music, in recent years he has also concentrated on making and producing pop music. Under his alter ego Gielstar he released the album Midlifers in 2020 and is currently working on its successor.

Giel Vleggaar teaches composition and music theory.

GREATEST HITS

COMPOSITIONS

  • Wake Up Sleeping Beauty (2016), for reed quintet
  • Springs Eternal (2014), for orchestra
  • Jägerlieder (2013), for soprano, string quartet and piano
  • Arise (2013), for orchestral brass
  • The Trees of Paradise (2012), voor 3 singers, choir and orchestra
  • Arcadia (2012), for orchestra
  • Pretty Beautiful (2011), for 12 winds
  • DAZED (2011), voor 3 singers and ensemble
  • Fünf (2010), for orchestra
  • Ayre of Solace (2009), for orchestra
  • Piano Concerto (2008), for piano and orchestra
  • Wanted: Ferne Geliebte (2007), for 3 sopranos and ensemble
  • Atomic UFO Saves the Day (Again) (2007), for bass guitar and ensemble
  • In Transit (2007), for saxophone quartet and 2 percussionists
  • Dead as Disco (2006), for orchestra
  • String Quartet (2006), for string quartet
  • Drowning (2006), for 5 voices
  • Aiming for Ecstasy (2005), for electric guitar
  • Post Mortem (2005), for voice and ensemble
  • Up and Away (2005), for string orchestra
  • Appalachia (2004), for steelstring acoustic guitar and ensemble
  • Brave Cactus Hits the Road (2003), for ensemble
  • Falling Down [XL] (2006), voor flute, clarinet, tuba, percussion and piano
  • Falling Down (2003), voor clarinet, cello and piano
  • Come Here Often? (2003), for 2 percussionists and soundtrack
  • Bred in Captivity (2002), for ensemble
  • Counting Stars with Confidence (2002), for cello  and piano
  • L’apres-midi d’un toreador (2001), for flute orchestra
  • Fast Lane Woodpecker (2001), for orchestra 
  • DNCS (1999) voor oboe, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
  • Day Before Dusk (1998) voor flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, violin and cello
  • In Limbo (1997) for bass guitar and 2 percussionists
  • Counting Stars with Confidence (1997) for bass clarinet and harpischord
The scores of the compositions by Giel Vleggaar are published by Donemus.

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