Serge Verstockt

Category:componist, artistiek leider, hedendaagse componist
Genre(s):21ste eeuw / hedendaags
Contact of:Studio Champ D'Action

Short description

Composer, performer, improviser, media artist. Verstockt enters into a fruitful interaction
with modern technology, with recent scientific models and strategies and with contemporary visual arts.


"After working intensively with formal structures and computer aided composing my recent interest goes to a less formal way of writing music. The energy of inventing and reacting on the spot and the spontaneous power of improvisation has become more important in my work. Classical music, electronic music, jazz, free jazz, techno, noise, world music... are tickling my inspiration. They form together the heartbeat of our time." (Serge Verstockt)

Serge Verstockt was born in 1957 in Braschaat. He was familiar from an early age with the artistic world as both his parents were visual artists. His father, Mark Verstockt, was known as a pioneer in a contemporary form of contructivism. Serge Verstockt was quickly drawn to artistic endeavours. In this he did not follow his parents into the visual arts, but instead chose music. After an initial period of experimentation, during which he was largely self-taught, he received his first music lessons on the organ. At the age fifteen he attended music school for piano lessons.
After secondary school, Serge Verstockt attended the Brussels Conservatory, where he studied solphege and sound engineering. In this period he also followed lessons in image and sound editing at the RITS (National institute for the dissemination of theatre and culture). At the age of 18, he complemented his studies on the piano and organ with clarinet lessons. After completing his studies at the Brussels conservatory, he continued his studies on the clarinet at the Royal Music Conservatory in Antwerp with Walter Boeykens. There he earned his first prize for solphege and clarinet. Through Joris Delaet’s SEM (Studio for Experimental Music), he came into contact with techniques of electronic sound manipulation.
From 1983 to 1985 he studied at the Instituut voor Sonologie in Utrecht with Gottfried Michael Koenig. Koenig is a pioneer in the field of computer-assisted composition. He introduced Verstockt into formal practices of composition and revealed to him the opportunities offered by computers. These elements were to be of great importance throughout the composer’s subsequent career. Verstockt became a strong defender of the computer-assisted composition. In 1985 he organised the Antwerp Electronic Music Days. Serge Verstockt taught at the conservatory in Arnhem.
Verstockt has also been active as a performer. He has given concerts of contemporary music, both instrumental and electronic, including concerts with the SEM-ensemble. In the early 1980s there was a lack of professional ensembles interested in performing contemporary music in Belgium. In order to try to meet this demand, he set up the ensemble Champ d’Action in 1988. In 1997, he resigned officially as artistic director, although an intensive collaboration has continued on the artistic level.
He has received composition commissions from “Antwerpen, Stad aan de stroom”, IPEM, deSingel, Antwerp 93 and November Music. From 1997 to 1999, Verstockt was “junior fellow” of the KBC Chair for New Music in the department of musicology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Selective bibliography

- M. BEIRENS, Het Vlaamse herfstoffensief. Nieuwe muziek van Van Hove, Oelbrandt, Vermote, Verstockt, Chong, Van Herck, Brackx en Hus, in Contra., jg. 3, nr. 3, 2004, p. 49-51
- L. BERTELS, Aandacht voor actuele symfonische muziek, in De Morgen, 12 december 2003.
- M. DELAERE, Muziek als beschrijfbaar proces: Serge Verstockt, in Nieuwe Muziek in
Vlaanderen, uitg. dr. M. DELAERE, Y. KNOCKAERT en H. SABBE, Brugge,
1988, p.171-180
- N. PUTTEMANS, Referaat Nieuwe Muziek in Vlaanderen, K.U.Leuven, 1998
- Interview: Serge Verstockt over “Heavy metal” – de stad als concertzaal, in De Standaard, 7 mei 2004.

©2001 Niels Puttemans and Stijn De Beenhouwer, for Flanders Music Centre and MATRIX
©2005 Rebecca Diependaele. for Flanders Music Centre and MATRIX (update)

Since 2003 Artistic director of Champ D’Action.

1999 ‘Junior fellow’ Catholic University of Leuven.

1988 Founder of Champ D’Action.1982-1985 Institute of Sonology Utrecht, Computer music with M. Koenig.

1980 Conservatory of Antwerp, studies of clarinet and electronic music.

1978 Film School RITS Brussels.


Key Works:

TWISTED PAIR for 4 saxophones, ensemble, environ
ment sounds, two huge Tibetan horns and electronics. REQUIEM FUR EINE METAMORPHOSE (2007) for 4 electric guitars, C-Bas, 4 electric organs and electronics. Atheatrography of Jan Fabre.

DRIE (2007) for 4 percussion players, violoncello, trombone, 2 clarinets, 8 electronic organs (and 8 beat-boxes), electric guitar and electronics.

NOUMENAI (2006) for cello, piano and electronics.

A LA RECHERCHE ‘DE’ TEMPS (2005) for clarinet and
4 channel tape.
VODER (2006) for ensemble and electronics.

HEAVY METAL (2004) for 32 church bells, 3 carillons, percussion, synthesizer, electronics.

LOW (2003) for ensemble and electronics.

TOWARDS THE INSIDE OF A TINY COWBELL (2001) for ensemble and electronics.

LE POUVOIR DU TEMPS (1998) for orchestra, solo trombone, solo electric guitar, 4 accordions and electronics.

FEUILLAGE DU COEUR (1994) for viola, violoncello, 2 clarinets, harp, piano, percussion and soprano.

Selectieve discografie als componist

Archive Series n°03 - Serge VerstocktArchive Series n°03 - Serge Verstockt (2005)
20th century
ChampdAction, Serge Verstockt
ScreensScreens (2000)
21st century / contemporary
Serge Verstockt, ChampdAction
Nieuwe Muziek in VlaanderenNieuwe Muziek in Vlaanderen (1998)
20th century
Anne Cambier, Henk Lauwers, Johan Van Cauwenberge, Ludo Mariën, Werner van Mechelen, BRTN Koor, BRTN Filharmonisch Orkest, Geoffrey Madge (...)
QuincunxQuincunx (1994)
20th century
ChampdAction, Geert Logghe, Luc Brewaeys, Eric De Visscher, Frederic D'haene, Serge Verstockt
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 (...)

Selectieve discografie als medewerker

Een heidens requiemEen heidens requiem (2011)
free & experimental jazz
Fred Van Hove, Fred Van Hove

Related Items

Documents:Contemporary Music in Flanders VI (book)
Contemporary Music in Flanders IV (book)
ISCM world music magazine 2012 volume 22 - Belgium (magazine)