- Started in
- Musician type
- Host institution
- Leiden University
- The Netherlands
Pioneering guitarist/composer Aart Strootman (1987) studied in Tilburg with Hein Sanderink, obtaining his Bachelor’s in Music cum laude in 2008. Subsequent studies with Marlon Titre, Elliott Fisk and Scott Tennant resulted in a cum laude Master’s in Music with the highest grade (10/10) at Conservatory Fontys & Zuyd in 2010. At the same institute he graduated with a Master’s in Music Theory and at the University of Utrecht he obtained an MA in Musicology.
After receiving several grants and awards as a talented performer, Strootman began organically developing in further as a composer as well. In 2014 Aart was granted “Nieuwe maker” by the Dutch Fund of Performing Arts. With this support he followed masterclasses composition with Nik Bärtsch in Zürich.
As a guitarist, Aart played solo from Amsterdam to Moskow and from Helsinki to Wellington, mostly on self-build instruments. The development of new repertoire via new instruments is the topic of the PhD research he currently conducts via the Orpheus Institute and the University of Leiden. He played solo with the New York Philharmonic, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Danish Chamber Orchestra, Britten Symfonia, MDR Sinfonieorchester and many other orchestras.
As a composer, Aart wrote music for numerous theatre plays. He also wrote music for F.C. Jongbloed, DissonArt Ensemble, Storioni Trio, Stargaze, Nora Fischer, TEMKO, Ramon Lormans, Jacqueline Hamelink, Kluster5, Slagwerk Den Haag, Vincent van Amsterdam, Bang on a Can, and many others. His first orchestra commission was premiered by Philharmonie Zuid-Nederland and TEMKO.
The limitations of the electric guitar are also the limitations for the composer. Registers, spectrum, resonance, decay: all musical parameters are questioned in the search for a new and unheard sound on the instrument. This research intends to redefine the limits. Not the guitar should be questioned but the instrumentalist playing it, always willing to accept the challenge together with, or via, a guitar maker. Sonic challenges given by composers can, via the performer, result in a variety of modifications to the instrument. The translation of musical ideas written in the conventional musical notation into constructional recommendations for the instrument makes the guitar a fluid, amorphous actor. The triunity composer-guitarist-guitar builder becomes responsible for the improvement of the in-depth understanding of the possibilities of the instrument.