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Oene van Geel

Composer Improvising Violist

Some personal words. I love art. It gives us a second reality full of imagination, it makes us reflect upon society and it brings us new, and sometimes, confronting / challenging ideas. And it helps us to connect to each other and ourselves. With arts in our societies and with the public / perceiver experiencing it, it can give us a common feeling of belonging to this world.

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Oene van Geel photo by Thomas Huisman
Photo by Thomas Huisman

Since 2018 I am regularly active to use my musical skills and connections to raise awareness for the climate crisis we are in and to raise awareness on the extremely difficult reality numerous refugees are living in around the world.

This matter is heavy and dark, but I have to approach it with the love which is inside me. The love for myself, my close ones, the people in my village, the people and their potential around the world, the trees, animals, the sky and the soil we walk on.

The Violist

Oene van Geel photo by Paul Janssen
photo by Paul Janssen

Oene van Geel (1973) is a musical adventurer. Influenced by jazz, Indian music, chamber music and free improvisation, he uses his virtuoso improvisation skills and his talent for composition for a wide range of musical activities.

He has toured Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan, the United States and Canada.

As a player he is currently active with the following ensembles / bands: Estafest, Haanstra & van Geel, Zapp4, duo with multi-instrumentalist Setareh Nafisi, duo with pianist Philipp Rüttgers, Philipp Rüttgers Quintet, duo with dancer Miri Lee and in trio with Goda Zukauskaite (dance) and Rob van den Broek (visual artist). In addition to playing with these formations, he is regularly invited as an improvising guest soloist.

He received the VPRO Boy Edgar Prize (2013), the Sena Performers Toonzetters Prize (2012, with Zapp4), the Kersjes Prize (2005, with Zapp4), the Deloitte Jazz Award (2002), the Dutch Jazz Competition (2001) and the Jur Music Prize Naessens Music Prize (2000).

The Composer

Oene van Geel photo by Gemma van der Heyden
photo by Gemma van der Heyden

Composing is currently the main activity of Oene. He is most active in music theater and chamber music. He composed for: Dutch National Opera, Pynarello, The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Holland Opera, Liza Ferschtman + Calefax, Frederieke Saeijs, Niladri Kumar, The Dudok Quartet, The David Kweksilber Big Band, The Osiris Trio, Emlyn Stam + New European Ensemble, Black Pencil Ensemble, Amstel Quartet, Nizar Rohana, Remy van Kestere Bosgraaf, Steven Kamperman Quintet, Jeugdorkest Nederland, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Matangi Quartet, Calefax, Tetzepi bigtet, the Ricciotti Ensemble, Nicolay Shugaev, David Braid and many others. Oene has been a member of the Nieuw Geneco (composers union) since December 2016.

Oene also regularly composes for festivals such as: Bach Festival Dordrecht (2020), The Amsterdam Viola Festival (2017), The Dutch Violin Competition (2016 edition), Cello Biennale Amsterdam (2008 and 2016 edition), Anniversary Osiris Trio (2014), the Storioni Festival (2013), Orlando Festival (2012), the North Sea Jazz Festival (2005), SJU Jazz Festival (2002), Marathon Festival Oosterpoort (2002).


Oene van Geel - Tree for Anne

The combination of different disciplines is a fascinating working environment for Oene. As a composer and musician he has been involved in productions of: Kalpanarts, De Nationale Opera ('Bewogen Bewegen' in 2016 and 'Hondenhartje' in 2017), Silbersee, Wervelwind Ensemble, Boukje Schweigman, Kalpanarts, Theun Mosk, Eric Vaarzon Morel, Saartje van Camp, Herman van Baar, Marcel Sijm, de Wëreldbänd, Holland Opera (3 productions), Udo Prinsen and Theater Sonnevanck.

In the Corona times of 2020 Oene recorded three albums through filesharing with musical friends from around the world. The first one has been released in October 2020 and the other two will be released in 2021. More info: ZenneZ Records.