Composing during Covid-19

It has been quiet for a while, at least with regard to my newsletters. In my study, however, it was not exactly quiet. Although the Netherlands was officially locked in mid-March because of Covid-19, I was already in quarantine from January onwards, composing, composing and more composing...


It's now the end of August and I've just finished my third major project of 2020. A semi-opera, a documentary and an audio tour, together good for about an hour and a half of new music.



I already wrote about the new music for the documentary Tijdgravers (Timediggers). You can read about this new film and listen to an excerpt HERE.

Premiere new opera postponed

I spent much of the first eight months of this year composing Grenspaal 369 (Border Post 369), a semi-opera about a couple whose life is shaken by the unexpected arrival of a boat refugee. So three characters, one of which sings her role and two are 'just' acting (although they do sing the commentary 'choirs' together). Even if not everything is sung, there is non-stop music in a line-up of 2 percussionists, piano and saxophone.

The opera (with a libretto by Don Duyns and directed by Vincent van de Elshout) was to premiere in August during the Zeeland Nazomer Festival.


Well, that won't be until next year. Hopefully we can premiere this new piece in August 2021.

the postponed opera prequel

Of course that was a disappointment, a completely new opera that will be shelved for a year. But then the festival asked the opera's artistic team for a Covid-19-proof alternative.

And we came up with the concept of a prequel to the opera. Ten new scenes about moments in the life of the three characters from the opera, moments before the story of the opera starts.

And all this in the form of an hour-long audio tour, a walk along ten objects made by the designers with a corresponding scene on the earphones of your telephone. The title is D'n Overkant (The Other Side). 

It was a lot of fun to make this audio tour. I rewrote parts of the opera, composed some new pieces, produced the music and did the complete sound design. Here's the audiotrailer of D'n Overkant

D'n Overkant will be premiered on September 1 in Middelburg (NL) and will be available 24/7 until September 10.

  • directed by Vincent van den Elshout
  • composition, sound-design & mix: Douwe Eisenga
  • written by Don Duyns
  • played by Maike Boerdam, Nienke Nillesen & Stephan Mooijman
  • design: Kris van Oudenhove & Veronique Hendriks
  • saxophones: Erik-Jan de With
  • recording: Marc Blom, Aris Schoute, Jeroen Pluijmers

For more information, check the site of Zeeland Nazomer Festival

on a more personal level

To my surprise, I almost felt the lockdown as a blessing. The silence in the evenings, the tranquility of the weekends, the long walks, the space in your head for new projects.

Of course it was a shame that things did not happen. In June I was to teach young composers in America for two weeks. Yet another theater project was postponed until at least the fall. Concerts that were canceled.

But still, I also played twelve very small concerts in the church opposite my house from the moment this was possible again. That turned out to be so nice that this could well become an annual tradition.

In the coming years it may be difficult - due to this pandemic and the disastrous consequences for the arts - to find enough work as a composer. Then again, I will finally have time to record and release all those pieces that are still on the shelf. And I'm really looking forward to that. So if everything goes well, a lot of 'new' music will be released in the coming years. Yes !!

picture taken during one of my morning-walks


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