Dutch composer collects 100,000 Euros

Dutch composer collects 100,000 Euros


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2015

It’s a happy day for Michel Van der Aa, who is clutching the 2015 Johannes Vermeer Prize, a kind of Dutch Nobel.

Michel, best known for his ENO opera Sunken Garden, has to put the money towards a new work. He is the first musician ever to receive the Vermeer.

Go, Michel!


photo (c) Marco Borggreve


  • John Borstlap says:

    Good for him…. that new piece will be a long one, given the figure. This award is aptly reflecting the Dutch understanding of exceptional cultural achievement. No doubt Johannes Vermeer would have LOVED this sunken garden of art.

    • Martin says:

      Have you actually seen or heard the opera?

      I did listen to it more than once on the Dutch Radio 4 website where it was available for 3 months I think. It was good enough to make me want to attend it live, unfortunately I couldn’t make it.

  • David Boxwell says:

    He was the first composer listed in the telephone directory.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That’s how the Board of the Vermeer Prize found him. They were in a hurry, not knowing what to do with the money.

  • Alison Owen-Morley says:

    Great news and very well deserved. Sunken Garden was one of the most inspired and powerful works I’ve ever experienced. Looking forward to the new work enabled by this award.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Actually, they should rename the prize into Karel Appel Prize or Piet Mondriaan Prize, not Vermeer Prize because that suggests a completely different territory of culture: