Influenced by jazz, chamber music, Indian music and free improvisation, he has applied his virtuoso improvisation skills and his composition talents to a wide scope of musical activities. He toured in Europe, India, Japan, the USA and Canada.
As a player he is currently active with: Zapp4, Estafest, The Nordanians, Haanstra & van Geel and a duo with Matteo Mijderwijk. Besides these groups he is regularly invited as an improvising guest soloist.
He has won the Boy Edgar Award (2013), the Sena Performers Toonzetters Award (2012, with Zapp4) Kersjes Award (2005, with Zapp4), the Deloitte Jazz Award (2002), Dutch Jazz Competition (2001) and the Jur Naessens Music Award (2000).
Oene composes for his own groups, but also writes for other ensembles / soloists such as:
The David Kweksilber Big Band, Osiris Trio, New European Ensemble, Calefax, Ensemble Black Pencil, Amstel Quartet, Steven Kamperman Quintet, Frederieke Saeijs, Remy van Kesteren & Eric Vloeimans, Eric Bosgraaf, Jeugd Orkest Nederland, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Matangi Quartet, Tetzepi bigtet, Ricciotti Ensemble, Nikolay Shugaev, David Braid and many others.
In 2015 Oene wrote his first viola concerto for Emlyn Stam and the New European Ensemble (premiered 18 December at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam).
Oene often gets commissions by festivals such as: Het Nederlands Vioolconcours (2016), Cello Biennale Amsterdam (2016 and 2008), 25 years Osiris Trio (2014), Storioni Festival (2013), Orlando Festival (2012), North Sea Jazz Festival (2005), SJU Jazz Festival (2002), Marathon Festival Oosterpoort (2002).
The combination of different disciplines is a fascinating field to work in for Oene.
As a player and / or composer he was involved in theatre productions with the following companies / directors: Silbersee, Holland Opera, Marcel Sijm, Hollands Diep, Boukje Schweigman, Eric Vaarzon Morel, Saartje van Camp, Tafel van Vijf (Herman van Baar), De Wereldband and the Sonnevanck theatre.
Oene has a special interest in dance: he often works with dancer/ choreographer Kenzo Kusuda, dancer/ choreographer Heather Ware and he will do a collaboration with choreographer Kalpana Raghuraman in 2018. At this moment he is scoring a documentary for Lataster films (to be premiered October 2016).
In 2017 Oene and composer Florian Magnus Maier will compose a new opera for the Dutch National Opera.
If you have seen Van Geel play, you know his sparkling, enthusiastic way of playing is contagious. The VPRO / Boy Edgar Prize 2013 goes to an unorthodox and therefore excellent ambassador of jazz.
Trouw 5-3-2013, Mischa Andriessen
One of the Dutch participants is Oene van Geel, a true free spirit in jazz who looks beyond genres.
NRC Handelsblad 8-3-2012, Amanda Kuyper about Take Five Europe
It was a breathtaking concert where Oene van Geel's The King's Son was the absolute highlight. This composition is a pearl, a lotus flower that floats on rippleless pond of the Indian king Vikamajita.
Jazzenzo 15-5-2009, Rinus van der Heijden about Estafest.
Van Geel's violin skills are a phenomenon. He plucks his instrument, plays it like a bass or as a guitar and he uses effects such as a wah-wah pedal. With him that is no gimmick, it is totally supporting the music. The violin player stands above his instrument and its tradition. Every subtle thought is translated into music. To improvise free from pre-fixed patterns is something only a few can do.
De Volkskrant, Koen Schouten 12-12-2005
I know little about the young Dutch musician Oene van Geel, who plays viola on this record (Phonetics – Benoit Delbecq Unit), but he seems to be coming to his long lines from having studied Indian music. His improvised flow, with an unnervingly slow vibrato, is charismatic and powerful, even at very low volume.
The New York Times 20-6-2005, Ben Rattlif
... his Zapp String Quartet shows in Opener that mixing styles can lead to something beautiful. If Piazolla and Zappa would be on stage together it could have sounded like this…He also has an intense side as shown in Bela and Ig where the groove is not aiming to be danceable… Arvo en Jeff, a piece that has everything that music should have: length, depth and lots of soul.
NRC Handelsblad, Frans van Leeuwen 11-10-2003 about Chamber Groovea