Fkeu 14 Willem Jeths 05


Willem Jeths

Composer of chamber and orchestral music, songs. Initially in an atonal idiom, but later flirting with tonality. One of the Netherlands’ main opera composers.

Willem Jeths was born on August 31, 1959, in Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

Education: Jeths started his musical career as a child with piano and music-theory lessons at the Music School of Amersfoort with Paul Seelig. 

From 1980 to 1982 he studied Music Education at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.

Then he majored in Composition at the Conservatory of Utrecht with Hans Kox and Tristan Keuris. He graduated in 1988 with the Composition Prize (Prijs voor Compositie).

In addition to composition, Jeths also studied Musicology at the University of Amsterdam (1983-1991). He completed his studies with a doctoral dissertation about Elisabeth Kuyper (1877–1953), a composer and conductor, which was later published in the book, ‘Zes Vrouwelijke Componisten’ (Walburg Pers, Zutphen.)

Jeths has composed chamber and orchestral music (including solo concertos), songs and three operas (‘Hôtel de Pékin’(2007), ‘The Tell-Tale Heart‘ (2018), ‘Ritratto’ (2019), initially in an atonal idiom, but later flirting with tonality. 

He draws on the past and attempts to enrich it through experimentation. “My music is about extremes: strict purity versus distortion, loud against soft.” While his music is rich in tone colour, Jeths is frugal with his musical material. 

He meticulously works out timbral effects, often calling for playing techniques unused in the West – or anywhere – and creatively incorporating uncommon sound sources: toy instruments, breaking glass, dripping water.