Johannes Vermeer Award 2015 goes to Michel van der Aa

The 2015 Johannes Vermeer Award, the Dutch national prize for the arts, is to be awarded to composer Michel van der Aa by the Dutch Minister for Culture, Jet Bussemaker. The jury, chaired by Ernst Hirsch Ballin, unanimously nominated Van der Aa in acknowledgement of his ground-breaking role in music, both in the Netherlands and internationally, and the natural manner in which he combines his musical idiom with movement, film, the internet, theatre, electronics and visual elements. The Minister of Culture, Jet Bussemaker, presented the prize to Van der Aa on Monday 26 October in the Ridderzaal of the Dutch Parliament.

Michel van der Aa not only thinks and writes music: he actually sees, tastes and experiences it. In the jury’s view, his agility in forging and transforming various art genres into an organic whole is unparalleled. Thanks to his mastery of all disciplines, his work achieves great coherence. Moreover, his music basis is never overcluttered but is rather nourished by the combination of various genres.

About the award
The Johannes Vermeer Award was established in 2009, when the award went to opera director Pierre Audi, and has subsequently been awarded to filmmaker, writer and artist Alex van Warmerdam (2010), photographer Erwin Olaf (2011), artist Marlene Dumas (2012), architect Rem Koolhaas (2013), and graphic designer Irma Boom (2014). The award was instituted in 2008 by the then Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ronald Plasterk (PvdA), with the ambition of honouring and encouraging outstanding artistic talent. The award consists of a sum of 100,000 euros, mainly to be used for the realisation of a special project. The award is intended for artists working in the Netherlands and across all disciplines, ranging from dance to design, from fashion to music, from writing to painting.

Michel van der Aa Photo © Marco Borggreve

Photo © Marco Borggreve