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Thom Willems

Thom Willems Photo: © Jodokus Driessen
b. 1955


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Dutch composer Thom Willems has collaborated with choreographer William Forsythe on over 60 ballet scores * studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague: composition with Louis Andriessen and electronic music with Jan Boerman and Dick Raaijmakers * started working with Forsythe when he became director of the ballet of the Frankfurt Opera in 1984 * created electronic scores and music collages using computer technology * his scores are characterised by subtle soundscapes, insistent rhythms and urban sonorities, forming an intrinsic part of the architecture of the ballets * in 1987 achieved international success with In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated commissioned by Rudolf Nureyev for Paris Opéra Ballet with dancers including the rising star Sylvie Guillem  * this classic ballet has travelled the world and is in repertoire of virtually every major ballet company * 66 companies in 25 countries have performed Forsythe/Willems ballets including The Mariinsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Paris Opera Ballet, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Semper Oper Dresden and Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon among many others * has composed ballet scores for other choreographers including Daniel Ezralow, Daniel Larrieu and Kristina de Chatel, as well as music for TV, film and art installations

Works by Thom Willems include:
In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (1987)
The Second Detail (1991)
Approximate Sonata (1996)
One Flat Thing, reproduced (2000)
"Thom Willems gives you acoustic space to dance... We have done away with the sets. We have acoustic environments."
William Forsythe
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