Matthijs Koene: Master of the Panpipes
Matthijs Koene (1977) is internationally regarded as one of the leading panpipe players of his time. A true pioneer, his vision and manner of playing have vastly expanded the technical and expressive capabilities of his instrument. Through this, the panpipes have succeeded in making an entry into the classical music world.
Many composers have since become convinced of their possibilities, and have been commissioned to write works. To date, more than 200 compositions have been written for Matthijs, mostly dedicated to him: solo works, chamber music, with organ, as part of an ensemble, and solo concertos. This list includes prestigious names such as: Theo Loevendie, Roderik de Man, Daan Manneke, Guus Janssen, Klaas de Vries, Chiel Meijering, Gwyn Pritchard, Fabio Nieder, Calliope Tsoupaki, Martijn Padding, Klas Torstensson and Ron Ford.
Matthijs began his first panpipe lessons at seven years old, and later went on to graduate cum laude from the Amsterdam Conservatory. Shortly afterwards, he was appointed as the main teacher of the panpipes at the same institution.
Autonomous panpipes repertoire
“The sound of the panpipes excites me”, says Matthijs. “The instrument is incredibly expressive due to its many sound colours and dynamic range. I’m convinced that its technical and thus musical possibilities extend far beyond what I can currently imagine. I’m always exploring this. Thinking of solutions, and basically bringing these theories into physical sound.
The panpipes can certainly be a part of the classical tradition. I think the most effective way of realising this is to build up an autonomous repertoire, namely fantastic compositions where the panpipes play a prominent role. But also by performing masterful repertoire written for other instruments, such as the flute sonatas by J.S. Bach.”
“Koene does things with his instrument which sound quite impossible at times.” (Soundboard Magazine, 2010)
“Koene is widely regarded as an absolute master of his instrument.” (Klassieke Zaken, 2010)
“The panpipe soloist aims to establish the panpipes as a classical instrument in its own right. He has achieved this with expressive virtuosity, and is technically perfect.” (Berner Zeitung, 2009)
- Vriendenkrans, Concertgebouw Prize, AVRO Radio Prize (2003)
- Prize for contemporary music at the Comradio Competition in Barcelona (2003), with Verso
- IBLA Grand Prize Top Winner Award and Piazzolla Award in Italy (2006), with Verso
- Finalist in The Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York (2005 and 2006), with Verso