Subgenre: Mixed ensemble (2-12 players)
Instruments: fl h pf
Subgenre: Voice and piano
Instruments: medium pf
Subgenre: Voice and piano
Instruments: medium pf
Subgenre: String orchestra
Date of birth: 1939-04-02
Peter Visser was born on April 2nd, 1939 in Heerenveen in the Frisian district of the Netherlands. He grew up in a schoolteacher's family with little musical background. Until his fourteenth year he lived in a small Frisian village. From these youthful experiences he got his love for nature. In 1953 he moved with his parents to the big city of The Hague where he attended the Latin School, was very busy composing and also wrote poems and stories. He was alos a member of the Netherlands Society of Nature Study. His interest for literature, painting, sounds of nature and folk music dates from this time and can be heard in many of his later compositions.
After graduating from school in 1958 Peter Visser studied at the Royal Conservatory for Music in The Hague: piano, music theory, viola and composition, this last discipline with the serial and avant-garde composer Kees van Baaren. After a year of trying, it turned out not to be the right direction for Peter Visser. For a time he left the composition-path and concentrated on musical theory (exam 1961), and piano solo (final exam with distinction in 1965), also obtaining the diploma for piano accompaniment. Because of his love and ability for improvisation he became accompanist at the Dance Faculty at the Royal Conservatory at an early age, in 1961. He was also accompanist for the famous dance company the Netherlands Dance Theater from 1969 until 1971. Since 1966 he has been affiliated with at the Haagse Courant (Newspaper of The Hague) as a music critic, with an intermission of three years (1980-1983) when he wrote articles for the cultural newspaper of The Hague "Het Vaderland". He also continued writing stories and poems. In the period 1983 until 1989 he regularly published articles in the musical review "Man and Melody" and also in the review of the Frank Martin Bulletin, of which he was a member of the board of directors for five years.
Since 1986 Peter Visser has been working at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague as accompanist and piano teacher at the faculty of Young Talents. He also gives lessons in chamber music at the conservatory and regularly accompanied for competitions. Since his studies at the Conservatory, Peter Visser specialized as a pianist in chamber music (member of the Residence Piano Trio) and frequently made radio broadcastings. He worked as a vocal accompanist with singers such as the soprano Ank Reinders and the mezzosoprano Anja van Wijk, for whom he wrote several songs.He also had important occupations with various concert organizations in The Hague in several small theaters, such as the Haagse Kunstkring and Theater PePijn. In 1998 he founded a cultural society in order to organize concerts for young musicians just finishing their studies but not yet able to organize concerts themselves and before short he was in the board of this society. In 2001 he retired from the Royal Conservattory in The Hague. But until now he is making chamber music, playing viola in several orchestras, writing articles and composing.
As a COMPOSER Peter Visser is actually autodidact from the time he stopped his lessons with Van Baaren at the conservatory.In 1972 he resumed composition, first in a rather experimental way (Impulses for viola and spinet, 1976). Then he composed for a while in a kind of neo-romantic style with links to Janácek, Bartók, Bruckner and Mahler. Since 1981 (Rilke Songs, Music for Piano) more expressionistic with some dodecafonist elements and patterns borrowed from the Indian music (Rupaka for guitar, Songs of Unity, Raga Music), sometimes also looking to composers as Sjostakovitsj and Messiaen. Influences of folk music are found in works such as the Fantasy on two British Folk Songs for violin and piano, the first String Quartet (1977), Sonata Slavica for violin and piano (1989), the First Symphony (1991) and the Hora Bulgarica (2000) for ensemble. He composed a large quantity of works for amateurs, such as the Sinfonietta Hasonica, Music for Aquarius and Four Impressions, all for amateur orchestra, and for youth ensembles (Second Symphony "Confrontations" for four youth orchestras). Because of his work at the royal Conservatory he regularly composed for wind ensembles (Gothic Fantasy and Ricercare for double wind quintet), Divertimento for wind quintet (2012). As member of the board of directors of the Haagse Kunstkring, Visser often met painters and writers, hence the source of many compositions with extra-musical inspiration, such as "Zodiac Variations" for guitar or piano, "12 Artist Portraits" for piano, the piano trio "Mountains" (1984) and the piano quartet "Hills" (1992), " Orient Express" for saxophone, viola and piano, "Tatiana" based on the movies by the famous French filmmaker Jacques Tati for Saxophone Quartet, string trio "Space". During a short period (1994/1995), Peter Visser experimented with spatial notation, as was the case in ten etudes "Neumen" for piano, Ascensione" for several flutes and the trio "Landscapes" SONGS have always had an important place in Vissers works, especially in his first period. There are songs on poems of his own, like the socio-critical Protestsongs (1980) and Vagant Song with violin solo, on modern poems by the Dutch poets Jozef Eijckmans and Paul van Ostayen and… Mao Tse Tung. Alongside these, we find songs on older poems (Rilke, Shakespeare), with several instruments (French Rilke Songs with flute, "The Clouds" with cello on poems by Goethe (1979), " Unda" for flute, alto, guitar and mezzo-soprano on an Ode by Paul Claudel. Peter Visser composed several Choral Works: "Songs of Solitude" for chamber choir and "Poems of the Wind" with accompaniment of double wind quintet, "Pater Noster" for chamber choir and string orchestra, "Salute to the Whole World" (Walt Whitman) for soprano, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra. Very special are three song cycles on Frisian poems from Vissers native ground: there are not many songs written in the Frisian language. Remarkable are many works in the style of other composers, as there arecompositions in the style of Visser's examples Schubert and Brahms. Working after these examples even signified the starting point of Peter Vissers compositorial development. He also made transcriptions of works by Janácek, Ravel, César Franck, Schubert (orchestration "Grand Duo" for piano four hands) and other composers. The last years (starting from 2009) Visser changed his style by looking for much more consonance and simplicity ( "Atmosferi" for string quartet) and is in search for a personal tonal system (pianocycle "New Twelve-tone Composition") He is also concerned about the combination voice-instrumental music and wrote several vocalising choral works and songs.