Michèl Koenders

Componist, Muziektechnoloog en Muzieksoftware ontwikkelaar

Biography of Michèl Koenders

Born 1961 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Already from an early age he was interested in sound, music and theatre. After first following the course in Sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he continued his studies in Music Technology at the Faculty of Art and Media Technology of the Utrecht School of the Arts (Netherlands). In 1996 he obtained a Diploma with Honours in both the fields of Music Software Development and Computer Composition. During this period of study, he spent time at a number of institutes: City University (London, UK), Franklin College (Lugano, Switzerland), LIEM-CDMC (Madrid, Spain), and finally at ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany), where he completed work on his own composition software and composition portfolio with an interactive composition, "Spear & Shield". (Piano and computer: Next/ISPW). After his studies he worked for a short period as Technical Support with the Utrecht School of Arts, as Curator with the Impakt Festival and as an organiser for contemporary music concerts at Theatre 'Kikker' in Utrecht (for almost nine years).

    Following this in 1998 he was employed by IRCAM (Paris, France), working mainly on the application SVP and AudioSculpt - appearing as version 1.91ß at the 1999 IRCAM Forum CD. Since then he has been engaged in compositional activities: in collaboration with the composer Harry de Wit he worked on two dance films for television - "Enclosed" and "Breath Crystal" (BBC/NPS) - as well as two theatre productions - "India Song" (produced by Ivo van Hove, Zuidelijk Toneel) and "Stalker" (produced by Gerard-Jan Rijnders, Toneel Groep Amsterdam, now known as ITA). Further he developed the Sound Design for the production of "Geen Lied" by Ramsey Nasr (Zuidelijk Toneel) as well as for the exhibition of the artist Theo van Doesburg in collaboration with the pianist Kees Wieringa at the Kroller Müller Museum and the Utrecht Central Museum (Feb - March 2000). And he worked on the production of "Oedipus" by Pierre Audi and the Amsterdam Theatre Group (Feb.-Oct. 2001). in the Autumn/Winter of 2001/2002 he was composer in Residence at the ZKM, Karlsruhe Germany, working on a composition for Marco Blaauw (‘Spear & Shield’ for Trumpet and computer which is released on CD at Wergo in 2011). In 2003 he collaborated with the composer Jorge E. López in his 'Gebirgskrieg project', to 'spatialize' the Orchestral Sound (co-production: Ruhr-Trinale, SWR, ZKM, ÖRF and Klangforum Wien - The Gebirgskrieg project 5.1 DVD which he made as well, has been released in the Autumn of 2007 by Wergo).

    After that he worked on the Music-theatre piece 'Cyclotron' (piano duo and computer) (2004-2005) and after that he has completed a composition for the Zephyr string quartet (2006): ‘OP=OP’(Sell Out), for computer and string quartet, which has received several performances in The Netherlands.

    In 2008 followed ‘Trias Politica’ (trio Pia, Cel and BasCl. + computer), which was performed in the UCC project ‘de Regelmeesters’ (= regulators); And he finshed the 12 pieces for MMM_Transforms (a co-production with the Dutch Graphic Artist Willem Willemse. In 2009 he finished ‘Alogon’ a piece for choir and computer. (together with Hollands Vocaal Ensemble). In between all composing activities he teaches undergraduates, graduates and Master students at the HKU (= University of the Arts, Utrecht - NL), computer languages and design concepts in C/C++ with a special focus on LISP for use in Music and Audio Applications.

    In June 2009 he received his Master of Music degree at the HKU, The Netherlands. In June and July 2010, he had a Composers Portrait at DEGEM (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Elektroakustische Musik e.V.).

Also in 2010 he worked on a commissioned piece (NFPK+) for 4 months as a composer in Residence for the Zirkonium of the ZKM (March - July). This composition named: ‘Ploutôn’ has been performed (premiere) and broadcasted on the 13th of November 2010 for the ARD Hörspieltagen.

His last project (Electra’s Second Life, 2010), before starting his PhD study, was with the UCC (he’s one of the co-founders of the ‘Utrecht Composers Collective’) for the Electra ensemble. Resulting in the music theatre composition: In search of Cohen’s Kappa.

In February 2012 he started a PhD at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music/The University of Sydney, Australia and has finished it in 2016. This PhD study was made possible with a George Henderson Scholarship. He obtained his PhD title at the 7th of December 2017 at Sydney University, Australia. Title Thesis: “From Music Information Retrieval (MIR) to Information Retrieval for Music (IRM).”

 After finishing his PhD, he is focusing on teaching at the University of the Arts Utrecht (NL), making special (3D: Ambisonic) field recordings and building his own multi-format surround audio studio (Audio-dome; 12+2 loudspeakers and 1 subwoofer). He’s now preparing new compositions and writing a book on the topic of A.I. and Music. (“Music, models and mathematics.”)

    Most of his compositions are for instruments (percussion, piano, string-instruments, trumpet, voice(s), saxophone, clarinets, flutes) and computer for applying real-time DSP but he also made music for film scores, installations, music theatre productions, computer graphics and ‘tape/fixed-media’ -solo- multi-channel electronic music compositions. 

    Compositions have been performed during the 'Nederlandse Muziek dagen' (Muziekcentrum Tivoli-Vredenburg) and several concert halls such as Theatre Kikker, the IJsbreker, Lantaarn de Venster, Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, Toonzaal, Zaal de Regentes, ZKM (the Cube, Germany) as well as having been broadcasted on television and radio (Netherlands and abroad (SWR/ARD - Germany, ISMEAM - Hungaria, ÖRF - Austria, Tjech republic, Canada, USA, Australia etc.).


Compositions have been released on:

“Dreams of Transformations” (DJC CD 221).

“Electro-acoustic music from the Netherlands” 2000 (PEMCD 1).

“Collaborations” (DVD UTR4174 Take five records).

“Blue Dog” (WERGO 20632).


For further info and compositions check the URL’s:

https://mgm2.home.xs4all.nl or use michelkoenders.com