Composition Portfolio (2015)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Music
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. Music
Authorsvan den Broek, Koen Alexandershow all
Enrolling in Masters in a natural progression for me as a composer. This follows directly on from my other tertiary study: First Class Honours Degree in Composition from University of Canterbury; Diploma in Jazz from CPIT Jazz School majoring in Composition and Arranging.
My body of work includes compositions for the Silencio Ensemble, a ten piece new-music ensemble, which I was the co-founder and musical director/conductor of ('05-'09). I have received several grants from Creative New Zealand including grants in 2008 and 2013 for 'Still Standing Silent' a work composed for mixed discipline ensemble (classical and jazz) and contemporary dancers. This work premiered in Christchurch in November 2009. In 2010, I received funding to work with well-known Sydney chamber ensemble 'The Song Company' utilizing a text by a fellow Dutch New Zealander, Riemke Ensing.
Recent creative projects have included performances of Still Standing Silent for the Body Festival; a commission for The Christchurch Youth Orchestra; and Totally Weill for the Christchurch Arts Festival.
At this time the proposed works in my master’s portfolio would include: • Violin Duo • A large Song Cycle (50mins approx.) for singer and chamber ensemble • A short orchestral work • Another piece - otherwise yet to be determined
I would like to continue to compose in my unique aesthetic of jazz-like timbres and freely-atonal harmonies. In recent years, I have realised how in my work I have often been dealing with the effects of time on music. I often juxtapose freedom and structure, starkness with flowing sounds in an attempt to break free from the constraints of time. I would like to further research this idea and come to a new place/idea around time and music.
Another feature of my work is that I have enjoyed collaborating with specific musicians and composition–specific ensembles. This has resulted in some highly successful works and excellent learning experiences for me as a composer and musician. I plan to continue to develop this aspect of my practice during my master’s year.
Recently I have had the opportunity to explore working with text and as a result have developed a special and unique relationship with poet Riemke Ensing. As a result of the artistic rapport we share and the highly enjoyable experience I had of setting her work for The Song Company, one of the major works I will submit this year will be a song cycle based on her collection of poems, Storm Warning.
My core reason for being a composer is the hope or belief that music can raise the consciousness of humanity to a higher plain. In recent years I have begun to doubt this and question the point of ‘being’ a composer as distinct from working as a composer. This philosophy is something I would like to further explore both conceptually and in the work that I will submit in my portfolio this year.
I have been awarded a UC master’s scholarship for my study during 2014 for which I am extremely grateful.