Micha Hamel (Amsterdam, 1970) is one of the most versatile artists of the Netherlands. He composes for amateurs, professionals, choirs, ensembles and orchestras as well as for theatre companies. He published five collections of poetry and works also as a performer, artistic leader, poet and researcher.
Micha Hamel graduated in 1994 in compostition and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Soon after, he composed for two contemporary dance companies in London, and was commissioned to compose a piece for the National Ballet of the Netherlands. In 1994, he was awarded the Encouragement Prize for Composition by the City of Amsterdam.
His concert music was performed by many orchestras and ensembles in the Netherlands: the Residentie Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic (Valery Gergiev conducting), the Radio Philharmonic, the Schoenberg Ensemble (Reinbert de Leeuw conducting), the Ives Ensemble and Percussion Group The Hague. He also composed songs, incidental and electronic music for many theatre productions for children.
In october 2000, Micha Hamel was the resident artist on the festival De Branding, during which many of his main works were performed. In 2008, his tragic operetta Snow White drew nationwide attention because of its exuberant character. In the Holland Festival edition of 2012, Hamel was appointed ‘composer in focus’ and composed two large scale works: a Requiem, and an interdisciplinary performance called The Red Kimono that combined film, music, mime, live video and a painting. In 2014, he composed the melodrama A Pure Formality that reached a large audience throughout the Netherlands.
As a conductor, Micha Hamel performed mainly contemporary music in the Netherlands, and conducted classical music with orchestras in Italy, Russia, Luxembourg. Austria and the UK. From 2008 to 2009, he was the artistic director of the Netherlands Music Days, and from 2012 to 2014 he was the principal conductor of Magogo Chamber Orchestra, that, specializing in cross-over and new forms of presentation, was known for its adventourous concert events. Since his activities as a poet/writer and composer had begun to occupy all of his time, Hamel decided in 2016 to quit conducting. However, he regularly acts on stage as a performing poet. Also, he founded a production unit for small scale music theatre, ‘Ensemble Michamix’, for which he composes, writes and directs his own productions, like Kus de Regen (2017), that was a poetical fabric of speech, acting, amplified and acoustical sounds.
Regarding poetry, Hamel debuted in literary magazines in 2003. Five collections have been issued so far at publishing house Atlas/Contact, that were awarded a number of nominations and prizes. In his literary activity Micha is keen on new forms. In collaboration with Studio Apvis (Breda), he develops socalled ‘poetic experiences’ in which poetry and 3D visuals are combined. Such Virtual Reality-installations tour various festivals, drawing a diverse and young audience.
As an artistic researcher, Hamel since 2010 holds a professorship ‘Performance Practice’ at Codarts University for the Arts (Rotterdam). He there is occupied with researching the future of western classical music. The book he wrote about this topic is called Speelruimte voor klassieke muziek in de 21ste eeuw (2016) and contains research reports and philosophical essays. From 2017 onwards, Hamel will conduct a new interdisciplinary research that investigates if gamification could be used as a tool to enhance the listening experience of a concert audience.
Teaching activities include incidental guest lessons, master classes and lectures. From 2016–2017, Micha Hamel was a visiting teacher at Utrecht University. Since january 2015, he is a member of the KNAW Royal Academy of the Arts.