A Biographical Note

About the composer

J.M. Suijkerbuijk was born on November 29, 1959, in Munstergeleen, a village in the most southern province of Limburg, the Netherlands. He taught himself to read music at the age of eleven and immediately started writing his own music.

At age eighteen he moved to Utrecht, to study musicology at the university of Utrecht with Marius Flothuis, Jos Kunst and Kees Vellekoop, amongst others, graduating with a thesis on the relationship between Alban Berg’s violin concerto and Ferruccio Busoni’s Berceuse Elégiaque.

As a student, J.M. Suijkerbuijk developed his own compositorial language in which the pitch material is taken from a modal system based on overtones, which renders a form of tonal centre-based music that appears both alien and familiar.

Currently the composer lives and works in Geleen, a provincial town in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands.


About the Music

The modal system that the composer developed for his compositorial language was applied for the first time in a short piece for piano, later published as part three, Skaz, of Vier Noveletten, opus 88. The opus 63, Perigæum, for large wind ensemble, was the first larger scale composition in this new technique to be performed before an audience. The world premiere was given on December 11, 1981 by the Utrecht Wind Ensemble, Leo Samama conducting.

Since Perigæum he mainly wrote highly polyphonic orchestral works, among which seven symphonies, nine concert overtures and two symphoniettas, though smaller ensembles and chamber music gained more attention in later years. His musical language focusses heavily on the melodic aspect, whilst obfuscating rhythm and meter.

Most of his early works have gone lost.


Auxiliary Notes

Due to health problems there is a compositorial gap between 1996 and 2009, in which only the opus 97, ‘Anticipation’ was completed (in 2001).

A trained pianist and a self-taught violinist, violist and guitarist, he is no longer performing publicly since 1996.

J.M. Suijkerbuijk is associated with the Stichting Limburgse Componisten (Foundation for Limburgian Composers).

He declines all prizes and awards on principle.

The family name 'Suijkerbuijk' is also written as 'Suykerbuyk'.