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Interview with Peter Habraken

Peter Habraken is very versatile, he has been working for years with an enormous variety of ensembles – from classical choir to concert band and from Egerländer Kapel to big band. He draws his professional knowledge and sources of inspiration from the entire history of music and art. As a composer, he has spent many years studying classical compositional techniques such as harmony and counterpoint, and more modern techniques such as jazz harmony and Latin American rhythms. In this interview Peter talks about his inspiration and work as a composer, conductor and musician. But also about the future of the music landscape.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
It could be anything. For vocal pieces with a predetermined text, the melodies come up pretty quickly as soon as I study the text. For an instrumental composition with a certain subject, I read as much background information as possible. That helps me to put my brain to work. With an absolute work, so one without a subject, I just sit down and think for a while. If it doesn't work, the inspiration will come the next day and once the process has started it usually goes faster and faster. Most of the editing is done behind a laptop, although a brisk walk or bike ride can be a great help in fine-tuning a composition. And of course, my loved ones and life itself give a lot of inspiration!

What do you think is your best piece of music and why?
'The SS Berlin Disaster' is my personal favorite. I worked hard to work towards a big climax with all the themes. Whether that was successful is of course not up to me. Ultimately, in that regard, the last word is left to generations of the distant future. It remains to be seen whether the name Peter Habraken will be remembered in 200 years. But that goes for any composer born during the past century. Besides that: three quarters of my work is unpublished. I'm working hard to try to change that. I think the best piece in my entire oeuvre is the song cycle 'Ik Denk' (‘I think’), for mezzo-soprano and concert band, with texts by Toon Tellegen. It's nowhere to be heard at this moment, but I do hope to release it in a few years.

How do you combine composing, conducting and making music?
To be honest, that's quite a challenge! But I do need the variety. I normally conduct in the evenings and on weekends, like many colleagues. Fortunately, I don't need much time to study a score, so I have time during the day for rehearsal planning, making programs, listening to new repertoire, studying clarinet and saxophone and composing.

You work as a conductor with an enormous variety of ensembles, from classical choir to concert band and from Egerländer Kapel to bigband. What do you think is important to hear in that variety of music?
First of all, you want to hear the notes and all the directions in the score translated into sound. Preferably as precise as possible, whereby accompanying parties must always give priority to the voice(s) that is/are the most important at that moment. The second 'layer' that you want to hear consists of things that cannot be noted exactly. As a conductor, you can only master these things by thoroughly studying the interpretation of the style in question. For example, about timing that cannot be noted, such as in the Viennese waltz, swing or in various folk music styles. By listening to the great examples in the music style, studying scores, reading background literature and just doing it a lot, you get the necessary musical baggage to make the right decisions.

How do you see the future of the music landscape, will ultimately be the last word to the composer
The digitization of the music landscape offers both opportunities and challenges. First of all, the music world has a lot to do with piracy. Fortunately, a countermovement has emerged in recent years whereby the rights of intellectual property creators are slowly but surely being better protected. Furthermore, the traditional publishing world has erected considerable barriers for beginning composers to promote themselves. Initiatives such as Sonolize have now made it easier for composers to reach their audiences. However, due to the accessibility of social media, the competition has also grown exponentially. Ultimately, the last word is left to the practitioners of music.

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Summer catalog and news

In this newsletter you will find an interview with the Dutch conductor and composer Peter Habraken. We also would like to introduce you to the Sonolize quality label 'Our choice’. And of course, our catalog with a selection of the music you can find at Sonolize.

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WMC opens applications for 2022

Applications for the 19th World Music Contest in 2022 have started. From this moment on, bands can apply for the marching and show contests and the contests for wind bands, fanfare bands, percussion ensembles and brass bands. Registration closes on November 1, 2021. 

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Interview with Frank Nuyts

We would like to introduce you to the Belgian composer Frank Nuyts. Frank is one of the most renowned composers in Belgium and has written an extensive oeuvre including 5 symphonies, 18 piano sonatas and a lot of chamber music with the piano in the central role.

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More music at school

In the days previous to the Dutch Queen Máxima's 50th birthday on 17 May, the Dutch foundation "Meer Muziek in de Klas" (More music education at schools) is calling on all of the Netherlands to make an extra effort in music education at schools. 

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From piano music to orchestral works.

The great thing about Sonolize is that composers know how to find each other to learn from each other. Tom Schipper, for example, helps the young composer Tae Hyung Ruisch to become even better. Read his blog on how.

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Interview with Adriaan Dropsie

We are very excited that Adriaan Dropsie is offering his classical Spanish compositions for guitar and flute through Sonolize. We would like to introduce him to you in this interview.

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Webinar by Alex Schillings at Brabant Association

"The search for the main and side issues. A lifelong occupation for a conductor ". That is the title of the webinar that Alex Schillings will be leading on Sunday 24 January at the invitation of the Brabant Association of Music Associations (BBM).

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VLAMO aims a composition competition for fanfare

The Flemish music organisation VLAMO is focusing on the brass band for the 2021 Composition Competition. Composers can participate by submitting a new work for the lower divisions before August 31, 2021.

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Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

We wish all our friends, composers and musicians a beautiful Christmas season and a joyful, inspiring, successful, peaceful, musical and most importantly a happy and healthy 2021.

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Drummer & pianist Jeroen Elfferich: "The essence of music lies in simplicity"

Interesting article - in Dutch - about Jeroen Elfferich and his passion for music, written by Thea Derks on Contemporary Classical.

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How can I find the copyright holder as an arranger?

If you want to arrange a work from a composer, you will have to ask the copyright holder. But how do you find out who manages the rights of the composer you are looking for?

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Composers newsletter

Check out this autumn's Composers newsletter with tips on applying for rights as arranger, marketing and music uploading.

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Interview with Arend Gerds

We are very excited that Arend Gerds offers his own classical compositions for wind music through Sonolize. We would like to introduce him and his passion for composing to you in this interview.

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Sonolize in the press

On September 18, DPG media published a nice article about Sonolize in which our passion is aptly expressed.

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Press release

Groundbreaking initiative Sonolize offers an alternative to traditional publishers of sheet music

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Masterclass Composition and Conducting

The School of the Arts in Bern (Switzerland) offers a masterclass Composition and Conducting, specifically for Brass bands. 

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COVID-19 responses from the music sector

From the Music sector, various actions are taken per country to support music authors and the music sector in general during these difficult times.

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Sonolize is growing

We have great ambitions and want to become the place in Europe where composers can offer and sell their sheet music digitally.

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Fair practice code

Sonolize endorses the Fair Practice Code for entrepreneurship in the arts and culture sector. It's all about Fair Pay, Fair Share and Fair Chain.

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Advisory board

We are proud to anounce that Alex Schillings, Mariska Bogaard-Rethans, Micha Schimmel and Geert van Wijk will take a seat in the Sonolize Advisory Board.

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Merry Christmas and let’s celebrate 2020

We wish our friends, composers and musicians a beautiful Christmas season and a happy, healthy, joyful, inspiring, successful, peaceful, musical and truly amazing welcome in the ‘roaring twenties’.

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Proudly we present

We are proud to announce that a number of composers have joined us to realize something special together with us.

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Sonolize is live

Join Sonolize and start up- and downloading music today. From composers to players, digital, independent, fair and with a wide choice of qualified music.

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