Aart Strootman is a PhD candidate at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts of Leiden University.
The limitations of the electric guitar are also the limitations for the composer. Registers, spectrum, resonance, decay: all musical parameters are questioned in the search for a new and unheard sound on the instrument. This research intents to redefine the limits. Not the guitar should be questioned but the instrumentalist playing it, always willing to accept the challenge together with, or via, an guitar maker. Sonic challenges given by composers can, via the performer, result in a variety of modifications to the instrument.
The translation of musical ideas written in the conventional musical notation into constructional recommendations for the instrument makes the the guitar a fluid, amorphous actor. The triunity composer-guitarist-guitar builder becomes responsible for the improvement of the in depth understanding of the possibilities of the instrument.
- Prof.dr. H.A. Borgdorff
- Dr. S.F. Josel
BA Bachelor of Music at Fontys AMPA
MA Master of Music at Fontys AMPA
Pioneering guitarist and composer Aart Strootman (1987) throws a solid knock on the door of the music business of our times. His intellect and frank, fresh view on musical genres and styles justify a most prominent position in the music scene.
His career started during high school, when he received guitar lessons from Dick Hoogeveen and Jorge Oraison at the Rotterdam conservatory. After secondary school he continued his studies in Tilburg with Hein Sanderink, obtaining his Bachelor’s in Music cum laude in 2008. Subsequent studies with Marlon Titre, Elliott Fisk and Scott Tennant resulted in a cum laude Master’s in Music with the highest grade (10/10) at Conservatory Fontys & Zuyd in 2010. At the same institute he graduated with a Master’s in Music Theory and at the University of Utrecht he obtained a MA in Musicology. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the university of Leiden via the DocArtes program.
Since 2009 Aart Strootman teaches music history, (advanced) ear training, analysis, philosophy and performance studies at the Fontys School of Arts in Tilburg. He is artistic leader of contemporary music ensemble F.C. Jongbloed, an ensemble commissioning new works by students composition from all over the Netherlands combined with material from the most recent music history.
In 2013 he found minimal-chamber-metal band TEMKO. As a core member and guitarist of ensemble s t a r g a z e he worked with Laura Mvula, John Cale, Terry Riley, Bill Frisell, Philippe Jaroussky, Shara Worden and Nils Frahm.
In 2012 Aart Strootman was awarded “Brandstof” talent by the BKKC, followed the next two years by MuziekLab’s “New Arrivals”. In 2014 Aart was granted “Nieuwe maker” by the Dutch Fund of Performing Arts. With this support he follows masterclasses composition with Nik Bärtsch in Zürich. In 2017 he won the prestigious Gaudeamus composition where the jury described him as a 'complete original: a performer, an improviser, an inventor and a unique composer.’
He has played solo with Britten Sinfonia, the HR, WDR, SWR, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. As a soloist he played recitals at the most diverse venues: from local museums to the Barbican Hall, from Amsterdam to Wellington. Most of these concerts are given on homemade instruments developed via elaborate collaborations with composers. An 8-string guitar was made for Steve Reich, a 1-string for Philip Glass and a 5-string tabletop instrument for Anthony Fiumara and so forth.
Aarts music has been performed by F.C. Jongbloed, DissonArt Ensemble, TEMKO, Storioni, Slagwerk Den Haag, Axolot, Bang on a Can, s t a r g a z e, Kaleidoscope ensemble L.A., Nora Fisher, Ramon Lormans, Jacqueline Hamelink, Sandbox Percussion, Vincent van Amsterdam and many others.
Grants and awards
Annalie de Man Award (nomination) 2018
Brabant Cultuur Prize (nomination) 2018
Gaudeamus Award 2017
Niewe Makers 2014
New Arrival 2013/2014
Brandstof Award 2012