Willem Boogman



Willem Boogman was born in 1955 and grew up near the IJssel river (Netherlands).


Willem studied Philosophy at the University of Utrecht for a year (1974-1975). Then he went to the Royal Conservatory in The Hague to study composition with Peter Schat and Louis Andriessen. He completed his studies with Ton de Leeuw at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam in 1983.


Impressed by Stockhausen’s theoretical work, Varèse’s music and Mondrian’s paintings, Willem searches in his compositions into the fundamentals of music and sound.
Main constituents of his work are transformations of musical entities [›Gestalten‹], including their occurrence, bloom and decay in space.

Ideas that are directly related to today’s life or to existing music form the basis of his compositions: the hours of a ordinary day in the cycle ›Day Daily‹, a dance party in ›Raving‹, the sound of the stars in ›Sternenrest‹ (derived from the low frequency waves stars emit), the eternal joy of love in the cycle ›Canto gioiosamente‹ / ›Liefde een woning‹ [›Love a Living‹].
In a series of compositions, sometimes subtitled ›modulations‹, he transforms existing music into a new musical identity, as for example ›Distant Voices‹ based on riffs from pop music, ›Intermezzi‹ on Bach's St John Passion and ›Duik langs het koraalrif‹ [›Dive along the coral reef‹] on pieces by Bach and Schumann.
In Willem's most abstract music he offers the listener references that will come across as familiar and in his most accessible music he plays with the unknown.

Willem composes orchestral works (Radio Philharmonic Orchestra), chamber music (Asko Ensemble, Slagwerk Den Haag, Spectra Ensemble, Ives Ensemble, Ensemble Klang), and choral music (Nederlands Kamerkoor, Asko Kamerkoor, Schola Heidelberg). He also writes for small ensembles, soloists (the cycle ›Genieting‹) and for theatre (Toneelgroep Warns) as well as music theatre (in collaboration with director Sandra Macrander).

In 2019, the Orgelpark in Amsterdam organized a ›Composer Portrait‹ with an overview of Willem's recent compositions.

His three most recent works include ›The Road to Here‹ for brass quartet and organ, ›Liefde een woning nr 1‹ for mezzo-soprano and organ, and ›From Scratch‹, a music cycle based on drawings by visual artist Alexandra Roozen for seven or eight musicians.
These works are all published by Donemus, in 2019-2020.

Willem Boogman is a ›Featured Composer‹ of publishing house Donemus, The Netherlands.

Other activities

Willem Boogman participated in the Asko Ensemble’s Workshop Project from 1980 to 1984, a collaboration between composers and instrumentalists. Through this project, he acquired knowledge of music in its broadest range.

From 1989 to1999 Willem was a member of the Rudolf Escher Committee.

From 2003 to 2018 he was artistic director of the Asko Kamerkoor (Asko Chamber Choir).

As a participating composer in Compose4You Willem wrote ›Passacaglia for flute‹ commissioned by an able amateur flutist.

Willem has also written several articles, for example about Escher's choral music, about modernism in music and about his own work (›Notes - no notes‹). These can be found on his website.


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