BIOGRAPHY

Dutch pianist and composer Jelger Blanken graduated from the Conservatoire of Amsterdam in 2002, as a piano student of Ludmilla Baslawskaja and Håkon Austbø. In 2002 Jelger won the prestigious Medal of the Friends of the Concertgebouw and the Eduard van Beinum scholarship.

Since 2003, Jelger Blanken is an instrumental coach and accompanist at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague

 

As a chamber musician Jelger has performed with internationally renowned musicians such as Nobuko Imai, Philippe Graffin, David Waterman and Raphael Wallfisch. Blanken has performed at many Dutch and international festivals, such as the Franz Liszt Festival in Utrecht, International Chamber Music Festival Schiermonnikoog, the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam, The Enghien International Musical Encounters (Belgium) and the Rovigo cello city Festival (with Floris Mijnders). He also took part in the chamber music series of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

From an early age Jelger has been involved in performing or studying contemporary music, both as a performing artist and researcher.

 

Together with violinist Philippe Graffin, pianist Jelger Blanken performed several works by contemporary Dutch composers at the Rotterdam Gergiev Festival 2010. The pair also recorded most of these pieces on CD for Onyx Classics. Jelger’s playing has received high praise from music magazines such as Gramophone, The Strad and the International Record Review.

 

In 1998, he earned his Master’s degree in Art and Cultural Sciences from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Jelger’s research focused on: the dispositions and views of Dutch contemporary composers, and the question of whether and to what extent these views centered around particular conservatoires.

 

Jelger has often created his music in collaboration with his fellow performers. Many of his compositions therefore consist of chamber music repertoire, including New Ground for piano solo (premiered 2007, theatre Orpheus Apeldoorn), Six songs, based on poems by Apollinaire (premiered 2008, Paleiskerk, Den Haag) and Late solace, for organ (premiered 2009, Old Church, Delft).

 

Jelger’s compositional style includes elements of neo-romanticism. His musical gestures are also inspired by the language of early 20th century masters such as Alban Berg and Schönberg. A more recent source of inspiration is the Dutch composer Tristan Keuris, of whom Jelger is a great admirer. In Jelger’s music, he pays special attention to the development of melodic material and the creation of harmonic climaxes, within an individual style of free atonality.

 

It is Jelger's wish that contemporary music becomes a natural and integral element of the 'traditional' classical music, making it more accessible for both audiences and performers.

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Photo: Merlijn Doomernik