On being a musician

Music is an incredibly powerful medium. For me as a musician, it both gives deep and broad opportunities to research, learn and explore. At the same time, I have a duty to present my findings to audiences, in such a way that the audiences will get engaged, and share in my own engagement with the material. In other words, to me this is quite close to how I see my duties as an academic, with the difference that music more easily may come across to broader audiences.

With my interest in exploration, I have always tried to find and champion works that were less often played, and to make connections that were less often explored. By choosing to largely profile as a chamber musician, similarly to professional life in academia, I am lucky to have the opportunity to not take up this journey alone, but in the company of various amazing colleagues.

Some examples of my musicianship are showcased below.

Magma Duo

For many years, I have formed the Magma Duo, together with Emmy Storms. Our violin-piano duo seeks to champion lesser-known music, and we have been experimenting with alternative presentation forms and cross-over opportunities to make this music more accessible.

We were laureates of the 2014-2015 Dutch Classical Talent Tour & Award career development program. As part of this, we sought coaching by the world-famous duo Igudesman & Joo. We became the first winners of the international competition ‘A Feast of Duos’, leading to us starring in a web series produced by Igudesman & Joo. Generally, our efforts to experiment with stage presentation and different styles were highly appreciated, and we were explicitly encouraged to keep developing these seriously.

This led to a Dutch Classical Talent finals performance at the Concertgebouw, in which we connected Matthijs Vermeulen’s hardly performed violin sonata with an own theatrical re-interpretation of Zigeunerweisen, a classical violin repertoire piece:

Following this, we were the second ensemble to record Vermeulen’s sonata on CD, together with the world premiere recording of Aleksey Igudesman’s 2nd violin sonata, and many other works. See Spotify or order a physical copy through our label, Globe Records.

We also have been deepening our cross-over experiences, as for example can be shown in this recent collaboration with the Cununa ensemble (Romanian Gypsy music), at the Grachtenfestival 2020:


The Magma Duo found a creative match in the Indian-classical duo of Lenneke van Staalen (Indian violin) and Heiko Dijker (tabla). As Ananta, the two duos have formed a quartet, performing original works and arrangements in which the western and Indian classical styles meet and blend.


As yet another extended collaboration, the Magma Duo also is part of the Camelot ensemble, which explores connections between western classical music, Celtic and folk. See a recording on Vimeo.