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Peter Adriaansz was born in Seattle in 1966 and studied composition at the conservatories of The Hague and Rotterdam, where his teachers included Louis Andriessen, Brian Ferneyhough and Peter-Jan Wagemans.
Characterized frequently as ‘one of the most singular composers active in the Netherlands at the moment’ Adriaansz has worked as a free-lance composer since 1993, receiving commissions and performances from ensembles, Festivals and individual musicians from all over the world, as well as writing for ensembles with more unusual instrumentations for special occasions. His works are performed and broadcast regularly worldwide and have featured on many stages, from the Holland Festival to Huddersfield and from Tashkent to Toronto.
Adriaansz’ work can be characterized by a systematic, research-oriented approach towards music. An approach in which sound, structure and audible mathematics constitute the main ingredients. In recent years an increasing interest in flexibility, variable forms and - especially - microtonal reflection can also be observed in his work. This latter interest lead, among other works, to several large-scale compositions for amplified ensembles, such as Prana (2007), Music for Sines, Percussion, ebows & variable Ensemble (2008) and Three Vertical Swells (2010), works for orchestra and voices (Anekabahudaravaktranetram, 2007, Verdichtingen, 2009), two extended series, on spatial harmony (Structures I-XVI, 2005) and micro acoustics (Waves 1-13, 2008) and many (electro-) acoustic works for incidental commissions.
In the words of Bob Gilmore: ‘If music can be a medium in which to explore the most profound existential questions, as the medieval scholars believed it could, then each generation must rephrase these questions to make them relevant to their own time. Few contemporary composers have delved so fearlessly into this realm as has Peter Adriaansz. His work is abstract music of a high order, reanimating the mediaeval idea of music as applied number: but the questions it asks are defiantly of the twenty-first century, questions about musical perception, about the nature of sound and the passage of time’.
Several of his works were nominated for various prizes, such as Chant Ascendant, for the 1994 International Gaudeamus Composers Competition and Waves 5-7, Verdichtingen and Three Studies on Elevation; selected in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively for the Dutch Toonzetters Award. In 2015 his work Scala II was awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize.
Praised alternately as ‘sensational’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘spellbinding’ his solo CD Waves, recorded by Ensemble Klang, was released in 2010 to much national as well as international press acclaim.
Adriaansz teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.