Biography

Theo Loevendie was born on September 17th, 1930, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He studied composition and clarinet at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Up to 1968 he dedicated himself almost exclusively to jazz and he performed with his own ensemble at the main European jazz festivals: Montreux (CH), Juan-les-Pins and Nîmes (F), Warsaw (P), Molde (N) and Laren (NL). For one of his jazz records he received an Edison in 1969. He  was awarded  the 1979 Wessel Ilcken Prize for all  his jazz activities through the years.

As of 1968 he began to focus on the composing of concert music. From the very beginning he developed a directly recognizable, unique style, in which New Music (bright ostinate sound patches as in The Nightingale) enters into a dynamic synthesis with jazz influences (Strides, 1976 and Laps, 1995) and free improvisation (Bons, 1991), non-European music (Six Turkish Folkpoems, 1977) and style quotes (e.g. in the operas Naima, 1985 and Esmée). From 1970 to 1988 Loevendie was professor of composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music, from 1988 to 1997 at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague and is lecturing since 1995 at the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music in Amsterdam. He was central composer at many festivals and gave master classes all over the world.

For Loevendie music primarily means communication, which is associated with his experience as a jazz musician and improviser. This conviction is the basis of, for example, the clearly constructed and intuitively understandable form of his works. His compositions are frequently performed both at regular concerts and at festivals all over the world. Loevendie has composed four operas: Naima (1985), which was premiered at the 1985 Holland Festival in Amsterdam, the chamber opera Gassir, the Hero (1990), premiered May 1991 in Boston (U.S.A.), Esmée, which was first performed in Amsterdam at the Holland Festival 1995 and in Berlin (1995) and had a staging again in 1997 at Bielefeld, Germany, and the chamber opera Johnny & Jones, performed at the Holland Festival 2001 and in 2003 in Dresden.

Among his orchestral compositions are a Piano concerto (1996), a Violin concerto (1998), a Clarinet Concerto (2001) and Seyir (2002) for 25 western and non-western instruments (premiered at Berliner Festspiele 2002). In 2003 Loevendie founded the ensemble Ziggurat, a combination of western and non-western instruments. Since then he wrote many compositions for this ensemble, among which is Sic Vita (2007) for pan flute, Duduc, Erhu, Quweru and chamber orchestra. In 2008, on occasion of the 125 anniversary of Limburgs Symphony Orchestra, Theo Loevendie composed Jubilation Jump, a concert for tap dancers and orchestra.

The recording of De Nachtegaal (The Nightingale) was awarded an Edison in 1982; a year later followed the prize of the RAI (Italian Television and Radio) for the television production of this work, which since then has been performed in many languages all over the world. 2009 De Dag- en Nachtegaal showed an enormous success in many performances and CD sales vested in a new text version and moderated by Dutch TV star Kees van Kooten.

In 1984 Loevendie shared with Pierre Boulez the American Koussevitzky International Record Award; he received the prize for Flexio (1979), written on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The opera Naima (1985)  was awarded with the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 1986 of the City of Amsterdam. In 1988 Loevendie was the first composer to receive the prestigious 3M Music Award for his entire output and his great merits in musical life. Theo Loevendie is today one of Netherlands most notable composers.

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