all works

30 works in Donemus catalogue

popular works

War, tryptich with predella : for orchestra, 1999-2000 / Peter van Onna

Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Orchestra
Scoring: 4343 4431 cel(harm) 2hp str(

The secret garden : 'Fantasia for harp solo', 2000 / Peter van Onna

Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Harp
Scoring: hp

Clash of cultures : for double saxophone quartet, 2000 / Peter van Onna

Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Saxophone
Scoring: 2sax-s 2sax-a 2sax-t 2sax-b

latest edition

The Queen's Speech Music : Version for 2 trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba / Peter van Onna

Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Mixed ensemble (2-12 players)
Scoring: 2trp h trb tb



Onna, Peter van

Nationality: Netherlands
Date of birth: 1966-01-01

Peter van Onna was born in 1966 in Hengelo, The Netherlands.

Education: Peter studied composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Louis Andriessen and Theo Loevendie. After this, he took a degree in conducting.

Career: Van Onna was ‘Composer in Residence’ in 2001-2003 with the Gelders Orkest and with the Brabants Orkest during the 2006-2007 season.

Compositions: Peter van Onna created a series of 9 orchestral pieces in the years 1993-2004 all inspired by paintings. In 1999, the ‘Day of the Queen's Speech Music’ was performed by Brass player of the Residentie Orchestra in the Ridderzaal The Hague after Queen Beatrix spoke her annual speech.

He created a new series of three orchestral pieces thereafter in a style which he calls Imbroglio, which means confusion, deceit. To explain: in the visual arts there’s optical illusion, in music this phenomenon is called Imbroglio. The first occurrence of Imbroglio goes back to Mozart. In the 'scene in the Ballroom' of Don Giovanni, the composer tried deliberately to create a confusing musical situation. Van Onna's aim was to arrive at a melting, ambivalent orchestral sound and to achieve this he especially designed new composition techniques.

The first part in this series is ‘Stellar Spheres’, which was premièred during the Schleswig-Holstein Festival conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi. The second part, Imbroglio, was premièred in 2008 by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the Rudolfinum Prague and was extremely succesful. The third part, Antarctica, was premièred by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010, conducted by Yakov Kreizberg and was performed twice in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Van Onna’s music was performed by, among others, Residentie Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orkest, Nederlands Ballet Orkest, Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, Nederlands Kamerkoor, Capella Amsterdam, Philharmonic Orchestra of Pardubice (Czech Republic), Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Resonanz (Hamburg, Germany), Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, Amstel Saxophone Quartet, Trouvère Saxophone Quartet, Calefax, Helicon Quintet, Arno Bornkamp & Ivo Jansen, Ties Mellema & Hans Eijsackers, Het Trio, ASKO Ensemble, de Volharding, de Ereprijs, Storioni Trio, Sax & Stix, Eleonore Pameijer and Tatiana Koleva, Rosa Ensemble, Noël Wan, Sara Vibe-Petersen & Cathrine Penderup, Ralph van Raat.

Van Onna has worked with the following conductors: Lawrence Renes, Jaap van Zweden, Clark Rundell, Arie van Beek, Neal Stulberg, Peter Eötvös, Yakov Kreizberg, Stephen Layton, Jurjen Hempel, Christoph von Dohnányi, Hans Leenders, Roy Goodman, Micha Hamel, Ondrej Lenárd, Sian Edwards, Michael Schønwandt, Martin Sieghardt, Jac van Steen, Reinbert de Leeuw, Jonathan Stockhammer, Leoš Svárovský, Lucas Vis, Nicolette Fraillon, Zsolt Nagy, Jürgen Kussmaul, Ivan Meylemans, Thomas Zehetmair.

His favorite working tools are Sibelius 7 Music Notation and Logic Pro 9. Currently, he is composing a chamber music series under the title 'Geographies'.

Awards: In 1995, Peter was one of the five composers who received the Mahler Award by the Nederlands Balletorkest with his composition ‘Rain, Speed and Steam’. The Project Jonge Componisten had selected these pieces for a performance in world premiere.

He also won the NOG Young Composers Award in 1997 for his composition ‘The Mondrian Equilibrium’.