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1947 - current


contemporary classical music

Biography Rokus de Groot

Rokus de Groot was born on July 27, 1947 in Aalst. Education He was trained at the University of Amsterdam (Frank Harrison, Ton de Leeuw) and at the University of Utrecht (Paul Op de Coul, Jos Kunst). As a musician he received teaching from Willem Vogel (organ) and Ernst Heins (Central-Javanese court ...
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Biography Rokus de Groot


Rokus de Groot was born on July 27, 1947 in Aalst.


He was trained at the University of Amsterdam (Frank Harrison, Ton de Leeuw) and at the University of Utrecht (Paul Op de Coul, Jos Kunst). As a musician he received teaching from Willem Vogel (organ) and Ernst Heins (Central-Javanese court gamelan).


Rokus de Groot is composer and musicologist. He conducts research on music of the 20th and 21st centuries, especially in the field of the interaction between different cultural traditions, and in the perspective of present-day (re)conceptualisations of past and present religious and spiritual traditions. He holds the chair of musicology at the University of Amsterdam, after occupying a personal chair ‘Music in the Netherlands since 1600’, at the University of Utrecht (1994-2000). In 1993/4 he was a fellow at NIAS. He has given lectures and guest courses at universities and music institutions in West- and East-Europe (e.g. The Conservatories of Moscow and Athens), India (Delhi at ARCE; Mumbai at the University of Bombay and NCPA; Chennai at Prakriti Foundation, Banares at Hindu University), the Americas (UCLA, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Africa, about intercultural exchange, about Western compositions based on musical models from Indian and Turkish classical traditions, as well as about the history and theory of Western music. At present, with a team of researchers, he is working on the project ‘New Music and the Turn to Religion’, which is part of the Dutch research program 'The Future of the Religious Past'. He was co-organizer of international conferences at which the subject of music and spirituality was a central issue of discussion, like 'Music, Poetry and Devotion' (Utrecht 1998), 'New Music and Spirituality' (Amsterdam 1999), 'The Arts and Ideas of Rabindranath Tagore' (Amsterdam 2001). Under the title 'Redefining Musical Identities' he co-organized several national and international seminars and conferences (Amsterdam 2001, 2002, 2004). In 2004 he co-organized in Amsterdam the International conference ‘Modernity and postmodernity in music and visual arts in the Middle east and North Africa’, in cooperation with Music in ME and Foundation Gaudeamus, with participation of the NWO-program The Future of the Religious Past. His Department of Musicology supported the international conference ‘India-Iran: Confluence of musical cultures’, held in January 2005 at NCPA, Mumbai, India, as well as ‘Music and the Art of Seduction’ (Amsterdam, May 2005). In 2006 he co-organized the international conference 'Cathy Berberian: Pioneer of Contemporary Vocality and Performance', with the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. He has conducted field research in Scotland (1971) and North India (1992, 1997), in the latter case on present-day interpretations of the legacy of the 16th-century mystical poetess Mirabai. During the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Indian Independence in the Netherlands in 1997 and 1998, De Groot organized music and dance performances, as well as university seminars around Mirabai, who was one of the key figures of these celebrations. Recently he investigated the role of Rabindranath Tagore in Dutch cultural life since the mid-1910s, studying Dutch musical settings of his poetry. Together with the Theatre of the Royal Tropical Institute, Rokus de Groot is preparing a festival on the story of Layla and Majnun. The concept of mutual learning between musicians from the world of Islam and from the West will be developed.


In his compositions, Rokus de Groot explores the expressiveness of melodic contours, polyphony, as well as the possibilities of mutual learning between participants of different cultural traditions. Examples of his works are: Kontur for soprano saxophone (1982), Promenades, Marches et Danses, for small orchestra (1986), Winds of a far air, for flute and soprano saxophone (1991), In Love with the Dancer: Songs of Mirabai I for soprano or tenor solo (1993), Tide of seasons, for wind quintet, string quintet, piano and percussion (1995). He also wrote a piece for Turkish ud and Western ensemble, Seyir. For the Tagore conference he wrote the composition Hide and Seek, for mezzo soprano, baritone and piano, on a text from Gitanjali. He has composed a second and third cycle of Mirabai songs, I have torn off the veil of worldly shame (1997), and The story of the Mirabai's poisoning (1999). He wrote the music for dance performances Song of songs: The love of Mirabai (on a text by Marc Chagall) combining the South-Indian dance traditions of 'devadasis' and 'bharata natyam' with Western contemporary music traditions (Amsterdam, Beurs van Berlage, 2000; Theatre of the Royal Tropical Institute, 2002 and New Delhi, September 2005). In 2004 the première was given of Mehfil for piano solo. This composition is based on the North Indian râga 'Chandrakauns', various forms of 'meend' (glissandi) are projected on the piano, by way of a special technique of pedalling and the holding/releasing of keys. His works have been performed in Holland, Belgium, Sweden, the U.S., Mexico and Russia.


Compositie en intentie van Ton de Leeuws muziek: Van een evolutionair naar een cyclisch paradigma. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, 1991 (Doctoral dissertation University of Utrecht). Beheersing en overgave in recente Nederlandse muziekdrama's. Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht, Faculty of Humanities, 1994 (Inaugural speech). Gassir, de Held [An interpretation of Theo Loevendie’s opera], with a preface by G. Willemse and a contribution by Marius Flothuis. Hilversum: Centrum Nederlandse Muziek, 1994. Verliefd op de Donkere: Leven en liederen van Mirabai, with a translation into Dutch of Mirabai-poems by D. Plukker. Abcoude: Stichting India Muziek, 1998. Een Muziekgeschiedenis der Nederlanden. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2001 (Co-editor, with Louis Peter Grijp (ed. in chief) a.o.). ‘Oorspronkelijkheid’ in muziek. Amsterdam: Vossiuspers, 2003 (Inaugural speech University of Amsterdam).

Rokus de Groot

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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