22-04-1946 - current
Wim Laman is a largely self-taught composer. While he was at university, his first compositions were performed by student orchestras. His work later came to the attention of the professional music world. Laman has composed for such ensembles and orchestras as the Schönberg Ensemble, Xenakis Ensemble, Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Quartet, ...
Biography Wim Laman
Wim Laman is a largely self-taught composer. While he was at university, his first compositions were performed by student orchestras. His work later came to the attention of the professional music world. Laman has composed for such ensembles and orchestras as the Schönberg Ensemble, Xenakis Ensemble, Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Quartet, Orkest de Volharding and the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. In addition to composing, he is a programme maker for VPRO Radio 4.
1970 - 1974
Wim Laman (born April 22, 1946, The Hague) has his first music lessons at the Goois Music Lyceum (flute and basic musicianship). He studies philosophy at Leiden University, also taking classes in musicology and psychology. It is during this period that he teaches himself to compose. Among his first pieces is 'Temps et Durée', for tape and orchestra, which is performed by the Leiden Student Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ed Spanjaard in 1974. The piece is based on the similarly titled work by Henri Bergson. Commissioned by Leiden University, for its 400th anniversary celebration, he also composes 'Wat baet de Vrijheit...', for two narrators, choir and orchestra, in which texts from the 'Geuzenliedboek' are set against the preamble of the Universal Human Rights Declaration.
Laman studies musicology and sonology at Utrecht University. He becomes the academic assistant of Marius Flothuis (music history up to 1900) and later Jos Kunst (music of the 20th century).
The radio composition 'La Voce del Corno', commissioned by the NOS, receives honourable mention at the Rostrum for Electro-Acoustic Music in Stockholm.
Laman composes 'Syntagma' for violin and orchestra, a commission from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for its centennial. The premiere is cancelled however, because the soloist, Isabella van Keulen, considers the work “unplayable”.
Laman races against the clock to complete the opera 'Agamemnon'. Shortly before the premiere, he says in an interview that he feels “squeezed dry like a lemon” but “optimistic”. The ambitious piece is inspired by his fascination with the ancient Greeks. “You play a game with time. It is as though you view our time through Aeschylus’ eyes. Time ceases to exist.”
2000 - 2001
The violin concerto 'Syntagma' (1991) is premiered after all, by the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra with Michael Erxleben as soloist. During the Saturday Matinee Concert of February 3, 2001, '… e’l vento tace …' [and the wind falls silent], to a madrigal text by Petrarch, is premiered by the mezzo-soprano Monica Bacelli and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.
Critics praise the performance of 'Syntopoi', for cello and orchestra. With this piece, Huib Ramaer writes, “Wim Laman composed in 2004 the pendant of his 'Syntagma' for violin and orchestra of 1991. While the ritual-like 'Syntagma' ends with an applause-prompting short climax, the light-footed passage in the cello, with which the wind suddenly dies out in 'Syntopoi', begged to be repeated. Laman has gained in refinement.”
Wim Laman writes 'Canti d’Orfeo' for oboe and orchestra. Classical antiquity continues to fascinate him: after the opera 'Agamemnon' (1997), he turns to the story of Orpheus. Laman: “Just as Orpheus, with his magical music, wins over everything around him – people, animals, even rocks – the soloist serves as a sort of sorcerer of sound who takes control of the orchestra.”
'Spring at Enoshima' (2008) is premiered during the Dutch Music Days. The piece is based on short 18th-century Japanese poems. Laman says: “The light-hearted, but philosophical tone of the poems was notable: marvelling at the awakening of nature, joy at the approach of springtime. And all of that cast in miniature verbal form – with all the limitations that entails. […] I sought first and foremost to transform the philosophical, evocative power of the poems in a subjective and intuitive way into music.”
Laman works on an opera based on Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, which in the 2011-2012 season will be premiered by the Nationale Reisopera.
The rehearsals for the opera 'Oresteia' were due to start in November 2013, the world premiere would have been at the end of January 2014. Due to the drastic budget-cuttings for the arts by the government, the Nationale Reisopera has to minimize its activities after December 2012. Attempts are made to perform 'Oresteia' elsewhere.
Discography Wim Laman
In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.
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