Biography

Bart Verstraeten (Sint-Niklaas, 1981) started his musical education at the Music Academy of Sint-Niklaas. He obtained his Master’s Degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he took lessons in harmony, counterpoint and fugue with Peter Thomas, in 2004 and in 2007 his Master’s Degree in Composition where he was tutored by Luc Van Hove and Wim Henderickx. He graduated a Master of the Performing Arts (Piano) at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent in 2014 under the auspices of Johan Duijck.

Masterclasses

He received additional piano instruction at the hands of maestros Jonathan Powell, Eliane Rodrigues and Irene Russo.

As Instructor

Currently he teaches courses in composition and solo piano at the municipal academie for Music and Drama in Wilrijk (Antwerp).

As composer

2005: Geert Callaert performed his piece for piano Perpetuum Mobile during the ‘Musical Days of Flanders 2005’ in ‘The House of Composers’ in Saint Petersburg. He received the ‘Klara Continuo’ prize in the composition contest held by the Flemish radio station Klara with his composition Alla Zingarese and the Sabam prize for his composition Trio for flute, viola and piano.

2006: Spectra Ensemble premiered his composition Agitation. Commissioned by Koor & Stem, he wrote the choral work Salve Regina, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

2008: Cappella di Albero led by Peter Ickx premiered his choral work Salve Regina in the Saint-Michael and Peter church of Antwerp.

2010: His Missa Sancta was performed by Capella Sanctorum Michaelis et Gudulae led by Inge Feyen in the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula of Brussels .

2011: As one of fifty composers he was asked to re-envision two Souterliedekens (psalms) of Jacobus Clemens non Papa with high fidelity regarding the original cantus firmus and the Dutch language.

2014: He wrote the composition Nocturne which was published in the “Piano album for King Filip”.

2015: Presentation of his Nocturne on the festival for piano: ‘Piano album for King  Filip’ in the Conservatory of Courtrai. He wrote the song cycle Diez canciones de amor based on ten poems of ‘Cien sonetos de amor’ by Pablo Neruda. He premiered this cycle with baritone Tristan Faes on ManiFiesta. He was commissioned by Peter Ickx to write a choral work Ave Maria; Cappella di Albero led by Edmond Saveniers premiered this work on a Christmas concert at the Capuchins Church of Antwerp.

2016: The Flemish radio station Klara selected his composition Capriccio for violin and piano to feature on the CD ‘Fingerprints 2’, where it was performed by Nicolas Dupont (violin) and Bert Koch (piano). His choral work Ave Maria was published on the music platform “koorklank” (Koor & Stem). He was commissioned by Peter Ickx to write the choral work Ein Kind ist uns geboren for choir and string quartet. Cappella di Albero and Ensemble Arsace Consort led by Dimitry Goethals premiered this work on a Christmas concert at the Damian church of Antwerp. He was commissioned by Mandoline Orchestra of Brasschaat to write the orchestral work Persephone.

2017: Nicolas Dupont (violin) and Bert Koch (piano) premiered his composition Capriccio on the festival ‘Klara in de Singel’ at deSingel, international arts campus in Antwerp. Publication of his pianoalbum All’Ungherese (Euprint). Steven De Caluwé invited him to play a recital with own compositions in Music Electronics Lokeren He was commissioned by Peter Ickx to write the choral work God groet U zuiver bloeme for choir and string quartet. Cappella di Albero  and Ensemble Arsace Consort led by Dimitry Goethals premiered this work at the Chapel of the Institute Saint Stanislas of Berchem. Commissioned by pianiste Tina Reynaert, he wrote Langs het lange diepe water inspired by the poem ‘Lamento’ written by Remco Campert. He was commissioned by Duo Antwerp (bass clarinet/marimba) to write the composition Tempus Fugit. He was commissioned by Peter Ickx to write the choral work Alleluia for choir and the arrangement on “Dormi, dorms, bel Bambin” for youth choir, strings, recorder and chimes. Both works were premiered on a Christmas concert at the Damian church of Antwerp and the arrangement on a Christmas concert in the Chapel of the Institute Saint Stanislas of Berchem.

2018: Duo Antwerp premiered his composition Tempus Fugit for bass clarinet and marimba on the music festival ‘Belgian Music Days’ in Leuven. He wrote the composition Les Roses based on the poem of Théodore de Banville for Chamber Choir Helicante, Meise. This work was premiered on a concert at the Castle of Bouchout in Meise. Brasschaats Mandoline-Orkest led by Marcel De Cauwer premiered his composition Persephone at GC Kadans in Wuustwezel and played it again on the concert of the 60th anniversary of the “Ensemble à plectres de Nassogne in the church “Collégiale de Saint-Monon de Nassogne”. Tina Fux premiered his composition Langs het lange diepe water in the chapel of Saint Odulphus at Dendermonde. The Russian Ensemble Intertext (Tamara Paramonova (saxofoon), Maria Smolentseva (viool) and Alina Ezhakova (Piano) premiered the composition Masquerade in the “Tchaikovsky Municipal Centre for Developing Arts”, Chaykovsky-city (Perm Krai) (Russia) and in the “New music in the Hall of Freedom, Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center”, Jekaterinenburg (Russia). He was commissioned by Peter Ickx to write the choral work Wie schön leuchtet der morgenstern for countertenor, choir and sting quartet. This composition was premiered on a Christmas concert in the Saint George’s Church in Antwerp by Peter Ickx (countertenor/soloist), Cappella di Albero (choir) and the Arsace Consort led by Dimitry Goethals.

2019: His composition ‘Hide and Seek‘ was selected for recording on the CD “Fingerprints 3” of the Belgian music station Klara. It’s performed by Nicolas Dupont (violin), Kurt Bertels (saxophone) and  Jonathan Bonny (vibrafoon). In collaboration with Stéphane Vande Ginste and Jeroen Malaise he gave masterclasses about their own compositions during “Viva Piano” in the Maagdenhuis (Antwerp) and ‘The castle of Schoten’. During the ‘Nacht van de Geschiedenis’ organized by Davidsfonds, pianist Geert Callaert premiered the pianowork Où sont les neiges d’antant on the straight strung chamber concert grand CM//284 of Chris Maene at the Church of Huise (Zingem). Dutch premiere of “Persephone” played by mandoline orchestra ‘Estrellita’ led by Benny Ludemann on the “Festival of the Mandolines” in Molenschot organised by het “Dutch Union of mandolin orchestras”. German premiere of “Persephone” by  Mandolinen-Orchester Hüls 1922 e.V. led by Marijke Wiesenekker in the Evangelische Kreuzkirche. English premiere of “Persephone” by The Moonlight Mandolin Orchestra led by Hugh Boyde in the Saint Michael’s Church in Hertfordshire. Greek premiere of “Persephone” by plectrum orchestra led by Ugo Orlandi and Claudio Mandonico in Chania Vamos, isle of Creta, during the masterclass organized by the Athenian Mandolinata N. Lavdas. Commissioned by Onze-Lieve-Vrouwkoor (Mechelen), he wrote the arrangement “Alles begon met God” for choir and organ. It was premiered by Onze-Lieve-Vrouwkoor led by Jeroen Keymeulen on the concert of the 50th anniversary of the renovation of the church Onze Lieve Vrouw-over-de-Dijle (Mechelen). Australian premiere of Persephone by ‘The West Australian Mandolin Orchestra’ led by Robert Schulz at the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre on their Christmas concert. Recording of my composition “Persephone” by Brasschaat Mandoline-Orkest led by Marcel De Cauwer. Presentation of his first CD “Perpetuum Mobile” with his compositions for piano in collaboration with pianist Geert Callaert. Commissioned by “le Cercle royal des Mandolinistes de Malmedy”, he wrote the composition ‘Demeter’ for their centenary in 2022.

2020: Persephone was performed by “le Cercle royal des Mandolinistes de Malmedy” gespeeld led by Marc Legros op their concert “Mandolinix chez les Belges” in “la salle de la Fraternité” (Malmedy). He was commissioned by Maria Smolenetseva to write the composition “The Chase” (violin and bassoon). He was commissioned by Blake Weston to write the composition “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” (voice (tenor), clarinet and piano).

 

Translation: Joris Lemoine