Following the finale performance of the Riciotti “Niet Normaal!” tour it was announced that my piece Fifteen Decimeter Supermarket Music, or “Vijftien Decimeter Supermarktmuziek for you Dutchies, won first price in the composition competition in which I was earlier announced as a top 3 contender.
For the competition I wrote “Fifteen Decimeter Supermarkt Music”, a piece which splits the orchestra into two halves, both representing a visitor in a supermarket. What follows is a series of awkward and silly interactions we’ve all grown all too familiar to since the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak. From people reaching for the same product at the same time, to a conquest for the last pack of toilet paper.
The competition called for pieces reflecting on the current measures taken by the Dutch government to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as the 1,5m distance rule. Not only had composers write a piece of music taking this into account, the composers themselves were also tasked with creating spatial planning for their piece and the orchestra, taking the COVID-19 measures into account.
During a very rainy open-air performance, the three finalist works were performed by the Ricciotti Ensemble, amongst other pieces, in the Openlucht Theater Hertme in front of a compact audience due to the COVID-19 regulations. The performance was broadcasted live to a livestream. The registration can be found below.
In 2017 the Dutch Student Chamber Orchestra approached me for advice concerning an encore for their programme at the time. “Sure”, I said, “I’ll think about it for a bit”. Suggesting existing music is not really my style though, so I offered to write them a short piece that would fit their programme perfectly. “Formations” was born; an ode to the beautiful phenomenon of a flock of sterlings flying.
Listen to an excerpt of my third string quartet.
Performed by Dimitrijs, Sarah Lynn Huizing, Bas Ammerlaan and Berend Stumphius at the Utrecht Conservatory of Music, The Netherlands.
A piece for mezzo-soprano and piano on a poem by Elea Bekkers, performed by Elea Bekkers (mezzo-soprano) and Anne-Maartje Lemereis (piano). This was the first piece Sem wrote together with Elea, a collaboration which eventually led to art-collective STAATSGREEP.
“A Modern Day Scheherazade”, performed by 10 very talented cellists from the HKU Utrecht Conservatory. As part of a school project we had 3 days to rehearse a full program and the results were absolutely terrific. Even though the piece is called Scheherazade, it doesn’t necessarily depict the literal story of a thousand and one nights. More so the contrast between fragility and power within the story, and how those two ultimates can ever so quickly turn into each other. All my thanks go out to the cellists and to Joel Hoffman for his coaching.