George Van Dam

Category:componist, muzikant
Genre(s):21ste eeuw / hedendaags, 20ste eeuw, klassiek experimenteel, filmmuziek, muziektheater, theatermuziek
Actual/previous member of:Ictus


Violinist and composer George van Dam has focused increasingly on the performance of contemporary music since the mid-1980s. As violinist with ictus, of which he is a founding member, as a guest player with the Ensemble Modern, MusikFabrik or independently, he has worked with leading composers Adès, Aperghis, Benjamin, Eötvos, Francesconi, Hosokawa, Kagel, Kurtàg, Ligeti, Lindberg, Mamiya, Reich, Sciarrino, Saariaho, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Joji Yuasa and in Belgium with Philippe Boesmans, Fabrizio Cassol, Kris Defoort, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Karel Goeyvaerts, and others.
Several pieces were written specially for him, including Violin Concertos by Walter Hus, Thierry De Mey and Misato Mochizuki (Homeobox – Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, premiered together with Bernhard Wambach, piano, and the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie dir. Roland Kluttig).

Being in such close contact with contemporary musical creation and with contemporary playing techniques has provided him with a great interest and an ideal ground for composing, of which his String Quartet 1993 is the first result.
Later works include chamber music, three song cycles, a Violin Concerto with Timbila Orchestra, music for theatre and dance performances – by Josse De Pauw, Rosas, Ultima Vez, Ballet National de Marseille i.a. – and film music.
In 2005 he received a Plateau Prize (Best Belgian Composer) for the soundtrack of Friday or another day at the Flanders Film Festival in Ghent.

As a composer he also enjoys working with visual artists Manon de Boer, Angela Bulloch, Richard McGuire, Robert Suermondt, Ana Torfs and Trudo Engels, with whom he devised the theatrical form opera secco, a performance context with live music, visual material and machinery, without text. The first series of opera secco called randomJimy  was presented at KunstenFestivaldesArts in 1996.

Upcoming projects include recordings of earlier works, the Violin Concerto with Drumming Grupo Percussão Porto and the Electric Songs cycle.
A new cycle of opera secco for small ensemble is currently in preparation.

A new work in concertante opera form, MELANCHOTOPIA, for Claron McFadden and ensemble, commissioned by Witte de With in Rotterdam, will be premiered on 2 September 2011.

George van Dam was born in Namibia in 1964. He studied violin, organ and harpsichord in southern Africa and in the USA before immigrating to Brussels in 1984, where he studied at the Royal Conservatory. His teachers include Dorothy DeLay, Zinaïda Gilels, Robert Kohnen, Albert Markov, Georges Octors, Nicola Petrovič, Johan Pieterse, Aaron Rosand, and Boudewijn Scholten.

Selective discography

VertigoVertigo (2003)
20th century
George Van Dam, Paul De Clerck, André Pichal, Jan Kuijken, Pierre Bernard, Dirk Descheemaeker, Jan Kuijken
Georges AperghisGeorges Aperghis (2002)
20th century
Françoise Kübler, Lionel Peintre, Romain Bischoff, Geneviève Strosser, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Ictus, Janna Van Mechelen, Piet Van Bockstal (...)
Keiko Harada - after the winterKeiko Harada - after the winter (2001)
20th century
Ictus, Carlos Bruneel, Géry Cambier, Geert De Bièvre, Paul De Clerck, Ludo Mariën, Tom Pauwels, Piet Van Bockstal (...)
Ictus - Luca FrancesconiIctus - Luca Francesconi (1998)
20th century
Ictus, Géry Cambier, Paul De Clerck, François Deppe, Dirk Descheemaeker, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Dirk Noyen, Gerrit Nulens (...)
Goeyvaerts Karel - LitaniesGoeyvaerts Karel - Litanies (1994)
20th century
ChampdAction, Kristina Van Damme, Rolande Van der Paal, Janna Van Mechelen, George Van Dam, Jaap Kruithof, Christine Wauters, BRT filharmonisch orkest (...)
Thierry De Mey - UndoThierry De Mey - Undo (1991)
20th century, 21st century / contemporary
Géry Cambier, Thierry De Mey, Dirk Descheemaeker, Jean-Paul Dessy, Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Vincent Jacquemin, Georges-Elie Octors, Alain Pire (...)

Selectieve discografie als componist

X-Legged Sally - The Smith QuartetX-Legged Sally - The Smith Quartet (1997)
21st century / contemporary, Jazz
X-Legged Sally, Smith Quartet, Peter Vermeersch, George Van Dam

Selectieve discografie als medewerker

Harvey Jonathan - Wagner DreamHarvey Jonathan - Wagner Dream (2012)
20th century
Matthew Best, Martyn Brabbins, Jonathan Harvey, Dale Duesing, Rebecca De Pont Davies, Claire Booth, Gordon Gietz, Richard Angas (...)
Terry Riley: in CTerry Riley: in C (2000)
21st century / contemporary, 20th century
Ictus, BL!NDMAN, Terry Riley