Robin de Raaff (born in Breda, December 5, 1968) is a Dutch composer.
De Raaff studied composition with Geert van Keulen and Theo Loevendie at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music where he graduated cum laude in 1997. In 1999 he was invited to work as George Benjamin’s only composition student at the Royal College of Music in London where he also studied with Julian Anderson.
In 2000 De Raaff was invited to the Tanglewood Music Center as the ‘senior fellow’. That same summer, his septet Ennea’s Domein was performed as part of The Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, a piece which was later programmed during the State of the Union concert of the London Sinfonietta.
The Tanglewood Music Center awarded De Raaff a commission to write a piano concerto which was premiered at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music in 2001. Since that premiere, his Piano Concerto has been performed in Frankfurt, Utrecht and in Rome (October 2004).
The opera RAAFF was commissioned by the Netherlands Opera and co-produced with The Holland Festival under the direction of company director Pierre Audi. The origin of this opera began with De Raaff’s success during a master-class organized by the Netherlands Opera with Pierre Boulez in 1995. Boulez praised De Raaff’s string quartet Athomus (1993) further confirming and encouraging the success that De Raaff was already receiving in Europe.
Soon thereafter, De Raaff shared his idea with Pierre Audi about an opera inspired by the relationship between Anton Raaff and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the story of Idomeneo and it’s creation. Anton Raaff was the famous tenor for whom Mozart wrote the title role of Idomeneo. Audi encouraged De Raaff to further develop the idea and introduced him to Janine Brogt who would become the librettist for RAAFF. After a conception period of nearly ten years, RAAFF received its premiere on the 23rd of June 2004.
Another development in De Raaff’s career is the relationship built up with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. The Concerto for Orchestra, a piece which was originally performed and commissioned by the Residentie Orchestra in Den Haag, was included in a Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra serie in the 2002/2003 season. This concert highlighted the teacher - student relationship from Olivier Messiaen to Benjamin and from Benjamin to De Raaff; George Benjamin was the conductor of this concert.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has commissioned De Raaff to write a new work for large orchestra. This work, called Unisono, was premiered under the direction of Ed Spanjaard in Amsterdam on December 16, 2004.
Since 2001 De Raaff teaches Composition and Orchestration at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music.
In July 1995, De Raaff was selected as the Netherlands' representative at the BP's Young European Composers Seminar in Leipzig. This was accompanied by a special prize for three of his chamber music compositions.
In November 1995 De Raaff received the KNTV Composition Prize for De vlucht van de magiër and in December 1995 he received the Academisch Genootschap Prize, awarded every five years, for the compositions Contradictie I, Athomus and In memoriam Dimitri Shostakovich. Anachronie was awarded the first prize at the 1997 International Competition for Composers of Chamber Music in Winterthur (Switzerland).
In 1998 Double Concerto for clarinet, bass clarinet and orchestra was awarded the Bernhard van den Sigtenhorst Meyer Prize from Geneco, an incentive prize for young composers.
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