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Interview with Nikolaï Clavier

Sonolize is extremely proud to introduce the young Norwegian composer Nikolaï Clavier. Although Nikolaï is a young composer he has already composed music for 15  movies, 6 commercials and a video game. ‘On the side’ he is busy writing a ‘labour of love’ project arranging Bartok’s Mikrokosmos for symphony orchestra.  He has already won numerous awards, of which the Buma ‘New Talent Award’ - that he received with the soundtrack of ‘Blauwe Maandag’ - is one to be particularly proud of. And of course there is the composition for the international skating legend Niki Wories in the film ‘Ode to a sleeping city’ where she is skating on the frozen canals of Amsterdam. This composition went viral worldwide. 

Nikolai, you are a musician of all trades, how would you describe yourself?
Thank you for this kind introduction, I feel honored to be put in the spotlight by Sonolize. I’m a violist, a film composer and I love pizza.

How do you inspire yourself? Are the movies for which you write leading or are there particular people or things that inspire you?
When working with film scoring, it’s primarily the story that is the source of inspiration. I’ve talked to many composers and I think most of us find our inspiration above all in the process of working. It’s like that flow theory by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, when you find the sweet spot between having a task that is manageable and also challenges you, you lose track of time and get carried away from the physical realm and into a state self-forgetfullness. That is also provided you can tame the self-criticizing voice in your head, which tends to be my main struggle. 

John Cleese also had some interesting theories about inspiration, and one that has been particularly helpful to me is that you need to create a space where it is safe to play. Creativity flourishes in certain environments, and blocking out distractions is a very important part of this. Listening to music is of course a very important source of inspiration, and I’m especially lucky because as a musician I don’t only get to listen to music very often, but I also get to work with it in detail and dive into it together with other musicians. 

It is obvious that you like Bartok’s music since you are working on his Mikrokosmos. What strikes you the most in his music?
As a violist, I guess my relationship to Bartók is shaped a lot by his viola concerto. I spent two years studying that piece and uncovering its many meanings during my first master. It’s a masterpiece, and also the last piece he ever wrote. 

The Mikrokosmos I first got introduced to, was when I listened to a live recording of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea improvising over the famous no.146 Ostinato. It was a spectacular mix of jazz, neo-classicism and pure inspiration. There is something very intriguing about Bartok’s use of Hungarian rhythms, modality, polytonality and custom scale systems. 
Also because it was originally written for children as piano lessons, and to introduce music theory and composing techniques progressively. It’s a composer’s dream, especially when that composer also wants to improve his piano playing skills (like me). 

Can you tell us what a regular day looks like for you? Composing, playing the alto violin with the Arthema quartet and studying must require some organization. 
Most composers I meet share the same struggle as me, in managing to find time and structure. Especially when trying to balance a performing career with film scoring, arranging, composing and teaching. There are only so many hours in one day. Luckily, I managed to avoid total disaster by having my wife work as my assistant part time. She is, in contrast to me, a very structured, highly organized and balanced person. She helps me make realistic schedules and plans, and I’m very grateful for that. 

As far as daily routine goes, there is none. Every day is different, and every period has a new challenge. Sometimes I do lots of projects with my quartet, then I practice a lot on the viola, other times I have to spend night and day locked inside my studio to meet a deadline for a film or commercial. It’s a life that has very little safety and stability, but also never gets boring.

How do you start a new composition? 
When working for film, the boundaries are usually quite strict as it is. The film has very specific needs and requirements, and my job is to try to find the music that would ruin the movie the least. It’s a constant struggle of trial and error, but ultimately the music manages to catch up with whatever the film deserves. 

Starting a composition is always terrifying. Even Hans Zimmer claims that he is scared of that blank page, and admits even he has “imposter syndrome”. But I’m more of a conceptual composer than an intuitive composer, I like to start by building a concept before composing. That could be, choosing an instrumentation, a style or a certain sound, and exploring that through a set of experiments and tryouts, further narrowing down the options in the process. Too many options kills creativity, a framework is always a welcome friend.   

Do you have an opinion about the future of the landscape of publishers? 
Sonolize is meeting a very important need in the music market, especially now that more and more public and creative platforms are moving online. I think it’s much better than many of the competitors like sheetmusicplus and nkoda. Not only because it is stylish and very elegant, but also it provides the composers with a chance to promote their works. The function where you can add links to performances of the piece for example, is brilliant. 

There is also a much closer link between composer and customer, which allows for a more intimate relationship. I’d much rather recommend a musician to buy my music from Sonolize than a platform which is messy and anonymizes the composer. 

We look forward to more works by this versatile young composer

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Maurick Reuser wins two 1st prizes

Pianist and composer Maurick Reuser has won two first prizes in the international composition competition 'The Time of the Guitar'. The competition took place online last month. Maurick received the prizes for the guitar solo work 'From Clouds and First Winds', a duo for clarinet and guitar. 

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Interview with Geert Jan Kroon

Composer, conductor and musician Geert Jan Kroon is an ambitious person with fresh ideas about music and its world. Recently he achieved a wonderful result with a very positively received work that he wrote for the Dutch Brass Band Championships. We are proud to introduce him to you in this article.

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Winter catalog and news

In this newsletter you will find our winter catalogue with a small selection of the music you can find at Sonolize. Also we would like to introduce you to the new Sonolize label 'Our Choice’ which was launched this month. A label that guarantees you as a musician a professional layout for sheetmusic.

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Sonolize composers in the spotlight

In recent months, several composers who use Sonolize to publish their work have been in the spotlights. Joop van Dijk and Geert Jan Kroon both received the honorable assignment to write a test piece for the Dutch National Brass Band Championships. And George Sadeler and Alain Crepin won 1st and 2nd prize at the “Internazionale di composizione per Marce, Città di Allumiere”.

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Sonolize presents ‘Our Choice’

At Sonolize we like to be transparent in what we offer. And that is quality. But also at Sonolize there are composers who stand out and pay extra attention to their scores. Especially for compositions with such attention there is now 'Our Choice'. A label that guarantees the buyer a professional layout. 

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Engraving service

It doesn't stop at Sonolize with the introduction of the 'Our Choice' label. Sonolize also offers you the option of having your composition engraved by a professional at a very reasonable rate.

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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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Interview with Peter Habraken

In this interview Peter Habraken talks about his inspiration and work as a composer, conductor and musician. But also about the future of the music landscape.

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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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