Visit the Doelen Quartet

Visit PJ Wagemans









read the Edward's articles

The Rotterdam School

"In Rotterdam there is a musical project going on, called "De Rotterdamse School", which tries to advance new music from Rotterdam in all its aspects. The focus is on composers from Rotterdam, who write new music for ensembles and soloists from Rotterdam or present music in Rotterdam, which was not heard there before.
The definition of what a Rotterdam composer is, is relatively broad: if you live in Rotterdam, you surely are a Rotterdam composer, but if you studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory, but live elsewhere, you are considered a composer with roots in Rotterdam and that is good enough for us".

This was stated in 2003 by Willem Kniknie, programmer of new music at the venue 'Lantaren/Venster' in Rotterdam.


What started in the nineties within a small circle of composition-students at the Rotterdam Conservatorium with a manifesto by Rotterdam composer Oscar van Dillen, has been taken serious now in a larger group of music-lovers nationwide. Many Rotterdam composers are now successful in the contemporary or theatre-musiclife of the Netherlands and beyond.

It is impossible to accomodate all Rotterdam composers together in one kind of style or musical esthetic, therefore one could not really speak of a school in the traditional sense (like for instance the second Viennese School). It is merely a group of people that has been closely in contact, discussing mainly their music's differences. One thing is for sure, the important role of the group-lessons (called practicums) which were led by always stimulating and inspiring teachers at the RC, Peter-Jan Wagemans and Klaas de Vries.

Most of the composers, as well as performing musicians with whom a close relationship is maintained, live outside Rotterdam. Yet, this city seems to always be a point where special things happen, maybe because of the rare and focussed moments when certain people meet.

Rotterdam School '98
the Sevenheaded Dragon of the Tradition of Music

Marcel Minderhout, Thorkell Atlason,
Marlijn Helder, Oscar van Dillen, Astrid
Kruisselbrink, Felipe Perez, Edward Top
and Gustavo Trujillo

Left face: Peter-Jan Wagemans, Right face: Klaas de Vries
Wagner, Mahler, B.A.Zimmermann,
Bach, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and


Last updated: August 2003

Copyright © 2003 by Edward Top
Photography by Marten Top. No part of this website may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including printing, photocopying, recording or information storage or retrieval) without notification of the authors' name.