Chiel Meijering was born on June 15, 1954 in Amsterdam. He studied composition with Ton de Leeuw, percussion under Jan Labordus and Jan Pustjens and piano at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music. He is one of the most performed Dutch composers.
Meijering has an enormous output of works. He has written over 900 compositions so far, for almost any instrumentation imaginable. A main focus has been on various small ensemble settings. Many of these pieces are performed regularly in the Netherlands and abroad and were written for renowned chamber music ensembles, such as the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet, the Mondriaan String Quartet, the Matangi String Quartet, the Sinfonietta Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Guitar Trio, the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble or German newcomer ensemble Spark. Since the 2000s, Meijering has developed a growing interest into opera. The overwhelming success of his Alzheimer Opera, which was premiered in January 2006 at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ marked his breakthrough with a larger theater audience. "Alzheimer" was quickly followed by several productions, such as "Styx", "De keizer is knetter", "Grenspost Zinnenwald" and "Blauwbaard". Meijering is currently working on a new opera for the Holland Opera Company, to be performed in 2011. Furthermore he has received a commission by the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble in cooperation with Concertgebouw Amsterdam for a short opera for children, which will be performed in front of about 5000 children within four days. Some of the songs in the opera will also be sung by the children as part of an educational project.
A very strong characteristic of Meijering's works is a large variety of styles. Without any difficulty, he seems to move between different musical worlds and genres and thus creates a different texture for each of his works. Some of them remind of pop, jazz or world music, others are written in a classical tradition or show avant-garde elements. Meijering is driven by spontaneity. All kinds of emotions and experiences that arise during a day, may directly flow into the composition he is working on. Sometimes he even uses accidents as a method and throws the dice for creating clusters. Meijerings works always have programmatic titles, sometimes funny or provocative or fooling around with toilet or sex humour. Examples include "I Hate Mozart" (for flute, alto saxophone, harp and violin), "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana" (for alto saxophone, marimba, piano, harp, and violin), "If the Camels Don't Get You, the Fatimas Must!" (for solo violin), "When the Cock Crowed His Warning" (for two recorders, viola, cello and piano), "GangBang" (for large orchestra and electric guitar) and "Background-Music for Non-Entertainment Use in Order to Cover Unwanted Noise" (for four saxophones). This philosophy goes back to the 1970s, when he tried to separate himself from the all to pragmatic and dry practice of most of his colleaugues, naming their pieces "Sonata No. 33" or "Symphonie No. 15". Now that he has reached the middle of his fifties, Meijering's titles - as well as his music - are experiencing a shift to the more romantic and poetic side: "NightbeastCry" (for toy piano), "The house with paper walls" (for viola and harp) or "Blue shadows flower into light" (for saxophone orchestra and two pianos).
Meijering has found a large public not only in the Netherlands, but also on international stages. His music shows high artistry and still remains catchy and accessible for a broad audience. This is a very rare combination in the contemporary music scene and has helped Meijering to establish himself not only within the serious music circle, but also and foremost in the international classical music scene. Even Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands outet herself as a huge lover of Meijering's music, when she ordered one of his compositions for a festive concert on the occasion of her 60th birthday. Without any doubt, Meijering can be described as one of the most popular and famous voices of contemporary Dutch music.
World of Glass
(by the composer himself)
The generation of minimalists (Terry Reilly, Philip Glass, Steve Reich)
has freed my generation of composers from the dictatorship of the serialists.
You were used to feel guilty if you wanted to write beautiful music in the 50's,60s ,70's ,80's and even 90's and you had to bend over backwards if you did.
A cluster here and there to appease your conscience and make a "donation" if you had the guts.
Composers who tried to write beautiful music were considered reactionary
and wrong as if they had been on the wrong side politically too.
Consider my piece as a tribute to this generation.