Peter Swinnen

Category:componist, docent
Lier, 31.01.1965
Genre(s):20ste eeuw, 21ste eeuw / hedendaags
Contact of:ISCM-Vlaanderen vzw
Actual/previous member of:ChampdAction

Short description

Composer and researcher who wants to professionalize
and internationalize the musical landscape of Flanders with boundless energy. His works range from solo and chamber music to orchestral pieces, including film scores, ballets, theatre pieces and multimedia.


"The most important aspect of all my compositions? I want to appeal to the listener’s creativity. Hence the use of my often very enigmatic titles: they are mostly anagrams of the main ideas on which the piece has been conceived. Whatever source of inspiration I use, be it musical, narrative, typographic, visual, a specific experience or even a scientific model (algorithm), its main purpose has always been: to enable me to create a consistent musical universe that is characteristic enough to be recognised, yet that contains enough ambiguity to stimulate the listener’s imagination." (Peter Swinnen)

  • Education : Royal Conservatory of Brussels (1983 - 1992) : "Premier Prix" for, among others, "History of Music", "Cello", "Chamber Music", "Practical Harmony" and "Composition"; Queen Elisabeth College of Music in Waterloo (Belgium) : master degree for Composition with Mr. A. Laporte (1989 - 1992); Master Classes with Mr. M. Finnissy (1993) and Mr. B. Ferneyhough (1998); VUB (2008-2009) : "Doctor in the Arts" with Dr J.P. Van Bendegem.
  • Teaches Cello at Music Schools in the period 1990 - 1997. Since 1992, teaches Analysis, later also Music Technology (2002) and Composition (2004) at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Head of Department since 2008. Involved in a project on software developping for eartraining at the Leuven University 1997-2004, and on musical analysis with the Brussels University since 2004. Free-lance activities for the VRT-television (= dutch speaking Belgian television). Frequently asked by several ensembles to perform Live Electronics in contemporary pieces and/or as sound producer for CD recordings.
  • Member of the Union of Belgian Composers since 1993 and vice president of the Componisten Archipel Vlaanderen since 2004. Founding member and president of ISCM-Vlaanderen since 2005. Member of the ISCM Executive Committee since 2007, vice-president since 2008.
  • Compositions include soloworks and chamber music pieces for diverse instruments (incl. electronic ), lieder, tone poems for large orchestra, symphonies, concerti, cantatas, ballets, films and music theatre. Many of them are recorded (radio, TV and CD). First performances in Festival of Flanders, Ars Musica, Wien Modern, International Frederyk Chopin Festival, World Carillon Congres, SMCQ...
  • Honours : the "Prijs CERA - Jeugd en Muziek Vlaanderen 1991" for his complete works and the "Provinciale Prijs voor Muziekcompositie 1992 van de provincie Antwerpen" for his opera "The petrifying Blue". He also wrote original music for the BRTN-film "Andres", realised by Dirk Greyspeirt, on a choreography of José Besprosvany, that won the "Premio Choreografo Elettronico 1993" in Naples and the "34e Prijs Bert Leysen" in 1995. In 1997 his piece "Quar'l" is awarded the "Prix de Musique Contemporaine" de Québec and "Canzone" wins the "National Composition Contest" of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium, a honor which "Ciaccona" repeats in 2001. In 2005 "Laureaat van de Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten".
  • 2010 Peter Swinnen becomes principal of the Royal Consevatorium Brussels.



Key works:

SINFONIA III "ERINNERUNG” (2008) for (double) string quartet, ensemble and live electronics.
HODECHTRI (2006) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion and electronics.
SAMOKI, 'FarbenKlangSpiel' (2005) for string trio and beamer.
RISONANZA per pianoforte a quattro mani (2003).
POINT D'APPUI per Violino o Viola, declamatore ed elettronico (1999).
TOAMINÁ'K per Quattro Flauti dolci ed Elettronico (1998).
GOGUTOS, per Quartetto d'Archi (1998).
IDOVISU, per Oboe ed Orchestra (1995).
HITCHCOCKTAIL, per Flauto, Chitarra, Gravicembalo e Armonica a Manticino (1992).


Since 2008 Head of Department of the Conservatory of Brussels.

Since 2005 Founder and president of ISCM-Flanders.

2005 "Laureate of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for the Sciences and the Arts".

2001 National Composition Competition of the Queen Elisabeth Contest for "Ciaccona" (semi-finals).

Since 1992 Assistant, later professor of Analysis, later also Music Technology (2002) and Composition (2004) at the Conservatory of Brussels.

1997 Prix de Musique Contemporaine of Québec for "Quar’l, a quarrel per Quartetto di Clarinetti" - National Composition Competition of the Queen Elisabeth Contest for "Canzone" (semi-finals).

1992 Degree in composition at the Conservatory of Brussels and the Queen Elisabeth College of Music, in the class of André Laporte.


Selectieve discografie als componist

Fingerprints - Signaturen van componerend VlaanderenFingerprints - Signaturen van componerend Vlaanderen (2011)
20th century, 21st century / contemporary
Bert Van Herck, Filip Rathé, Spectra Ensemble, Simon De Poorter, Annelies Van Parys, Klaas Coulembier, Stéphane Vande Ginste, Noor Sommereyns (...)
Souvenir Festival Servais 2007Souvenir Festival Servais 2007 (2008)
21st century / contemporary, romanticism
Viviane Spanoghe, André De Groote, Seeli Toivio, Kalle Toivio, Alexander Hülshoff, Stéphane De May, Adrien-François Servais, Peter Swinnen (...)
En hij schiep... 7 culturenEn hij schiep... 7 culturen (2005)
20th century
De Tweede Adem, Maarten Van Ingelgem, Lucien Posman, Peter Swinnen, Filip Rathé, Petra Vermote, Natalie Goossens, Nicolas De Cock (...)
Archive Series n°01 - Piano InterieurArchive Series n°01 - Piano Interieur (2004)
21st century / contemporary
ChampdAction, Peter Swinnen, Stefan Prins
Les lauréats Prix Québec - Flandre (1988 - 2003)Les lauréats Prix Québec - Flandre (1988 - 2003) (2002)
20th century
Annelies Van Parys, Peter Swinnen, Wim Henderickx
Miniaturen voor archipelMiniaturen voor archipel (2000)
20th century
Kris Matthynssens, Pieter Stas, Goeyvaerts Strijktrio, Jan Van Landeghem, Bart Meynckens, Stefaan De Bruyne, Bart Van Kerchove, Boudewijn Buckinx (...)
Een jong geluidEen jong geluid (1992)
romanticism, 20th century
Dirk Herten, Filip Martens, Peter Verhoyen, Dimitri Baeteman, Steven Kolacny, Piet Van Bockstal, Katrijn Friant, Guido De Neve (...)
Vlaamse Hedendaagse MuziekVlaamse Hedendaagse Muziek
20th century, 21st century / contemporary
Claude Coppens, ChampdAction, Rolande Van der Paal, Vlaams Radio Orkest, HERMESensemble, Apsara, Vlaams Radiokoor (VRK), Jan Michiels (...)
Peter SwinnenPeter Swinnen
20th century, 21st century / contemporary
Peter Swinnen
La Vieille Dame et la Fille NomadeLa Vieille Dame et la Fille Nomade
20th century
Françoise Vanhecke, Quatuor Danel (strijkkwartet), Peter Swinnen

Related Items

News:Peter Swinnen verkozen tot voorzitter van ISCM internationaal (12.11.2013)
Documents:Contemporary Music in Flanders II (book)