I was born in Utrecht, in the Netherlands. Countless walks through its largely medieval city center during my high school years have contributed to my feeling that the past is never distant, but included in the present.
My main interests have always been music and philosophy. In music, a historical and theoretical orientation has kept competing with the urge to make music, as a composer and performer. After graduating in musicology at the University of Utrecht, I have studied at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague with pianists Geoffrey Madge and Stanley Hoogland. As a pianist, I have been active as an accompanist and vocal coach mainly between 1990 and 2010.
Periodically I have turned to composition, producing a few short works in a non-tonal (or allusively-tonal) idiom. Pedrillo Botón, a chamber opera for an audience of children and adults, is my only extensive work in a tonal idiom. It has been inspired in part by working with Latin American popular repertoire, in part by the musical childhood worlds created by composers such as Debussy and Ravel. My most recent work is the musical soundtrack for Europa, a short film from 1932.
After some teaching at Utrecht University (historical seminars), at the Royal Conservatoire (research skills), and work as an archivist at the Netherlands Music Institute in The Hague, musicological research has become my primary activity in the past few years. The main result at present is my dissertation Classical Music and the Language Analogy (Humboldt University, Berlin, 2014). The problem: how does music relate to or depend on language is addressed here within a specific historical framework (the eighteenth century), but also put within a broader cognitive perspective, involving approaches from music history, music theory, linguistics, music psychology, and aesthetics. Ongoing research mainly concerns music, rhetoric and aesthetics, particularly in the eighteenth century. (See Conference Presentations.)
Since December 2020 I work as wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter on the online critical edition of the correspondence of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.