of affiliated composers


Wim HENDERICKX was born in Lier in 1962. He studied composition at the Antwerp Conservatory under Willem Kersters, earning his first prize for percussion, solfege, harmony, counterpoint, fugue and composition. He also took part several times in the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Henderickx was for many years the timpanist for the Beethoven Academie orchestra and the Eugène Ysaye Ensemble. Today he teaches notation, analysis and composition at the Antwerp Conservatory and at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven. As a composer he has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Youth and Music Prize Flanders in 1995, the International Composition Prize for Contemporary Music in Quebec for his composition Mysterium in 1989 and the tri-annual E-Baie I prize 1997-1999 awarded by the Province of Antwerp. In 2000 his first opera The Triumph of Spirit over Matter was premiered as part of Brussels 2000 European Cultural Capital, in a performance by Muziektheater Transparant.

The music of Wim Henderickx finds its inspiration mainly in non-European cultures. His predilection for Eastern thought led early on to a great interest in Indian music. He is also fascinated by African music. His works are by no means a pure imitation of such music, however. Henderickx does not favour the word “multicultural”, seeing as inappropriate any kind of miscellaneous mix of different cultures under the label of “multiculturalism”. He prefers the term “intercultural”: "Every culture must be able to maintain its own identity, so that we can learn from one another in a respectful way." Henderickx thus remains a Westerner who often draws on non-Western sources of inspiration. 
In this sense Wim Henderickx may be seen somewhat in the line of (the late) György Ligeti, with whom he shares other characteristics as well, including a preference for subtly shifting clouds of sound and highly rhythmic passages with a mechanical precision. Like Ligeti, Hendrickx occasionally draws on extra-musical ideas as sources of inspiration (such as, for instance, the Inferno triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, used for his Le Visione de Paura of 1990 and for his The Seven Chakras from 2004), and he is quick to point out the influence of other Western composers on his work, although there is no question of direct imitation. During the process of composing, Henderickx distances himself from all these models. As a percussionist he was, not surprisingly, attracted early on to the music of Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartok. He is similar to Bartok not only in his love of the rhythmic element in music, but also in that composer’s strict sense of structure, a quality which was only strengthened by his confrontation with the work of Iannis Xenakis. He also admires Olivier Messiaen’s highly differentiated sound-palette and tendency towards the meditative. Indeed, for Henderickx, music is a means of arriving at a Western form of meditation.

Henderickx is a virtuoso orchestrator, with a strong feel for the most subtle combinations of timbre. As a percussionist he usually makes use of an extended arsenal of percussion instruments in his works, often calling for unusual instrumentation. His Raga III, for instance, requires various cymbals, tubular bells, Japanese temple bells, Thai gongs and roto-toms, while Raga I includes a major percussion section featuring the Japanese dobachi and hyoshigi, Indian bells, Pekinese gongs, finger cymbals and crotala (castanets), as well as African drums and European percussion instruments. In terms of form, his compositions are usually simple and clear, and are often generated from a growth principle. Starting in 1989-90, Eastern influences are increasingly found in Henderickx’s work. Different elements refer to Eastern music, as, for example, in Raga III with its Indian turns of phrase in the viola part and its use of micro-intervals and quarter-tone trills recalling the Indian division of the scale in shruti. The Indian modes are applied not only horizontally but also vertically in the construction of chords, creating a strong sense of unity. In Om for string quartet, there is a clear reference to the monotone Buddhist form of prayer, as use is made of c-sharp as a tonal centre. Despite the Eastern mood, the general sound remains thoroughly Western. Henderickx’s work is marked by a rapid musical evolution in combination with a strong rhythmic basis, both of which are clear characteristics of Western music.

In the opera The Triumph of Spirit over Matter, which Henderickx composed in collaboration with librettist Johan Thielemans, profound questions are wrapped in a light-footed allegory.

This “opera buffa” combines a comic element with the treatment of heavier themes such as the quest for meaning, purity and beauty. In this music, driving, rhythmic motives set up a continuous feeling of liveliness. The rattling, rousing percussion parts betray the composer’s background as a percussionist as well as his predilection for Stravinsky. In this work, Henderickx departs from his oriental path for the first time in many years. The extremely virtuoso orchestration is immediately striking, which together with the highly recognisable motives and a few jazzy and pop-like passages give the opera Schwung. Despite the fact that different moods follow upon one another in quick succession, the music maintains its sense of coherence.

- Solo works: Ronddolen for bassoon solo (1987); Pianomuziek (deel I / 1988); Il Pendolo for double bass solo (1989); Maya for clarinet solo (1990); The Call for horn solo (1992); In deep silence I for guitar solo (1998); Saeta for guitar solo (2004)
- Orchestral works: Variations for orchestra (1988); Makyo for marimba and string orchestra (1990); Le Visione di Paura for orchestra (1990); Skriet for orchestra (1993); Raga I for percussion and two pianos (1994); Raga II for orchestra (1994); Raga III for viola and orchestra (1995); An Evening Prayer for orchestra (2000)
- Chamber music: Searching for viola and marimba (1986); Four Pieces for clarinet and string quartet (1990); Io for brass quintet (1991); Om for string quartet (1992); African Suite for violin and percussion (1992); In Deep Silence II for recorder quartet (2002); Confrontations for African and Western percussion (2003); Impressions on a theme of Haydn for string quartet (2003); Searching for violin and marimba (2003); Bolomakoté for percussion solo and 4 percussionists (2004); The Seven Chakras for string quartet (2004)
- Vocal: Dawn for mezzo soprana, choir and ensemble (1992); Orpheus: toverzanger in de onderwereld for childrens choir and piano (2002); Crucifixus for mixed choir (2003); Only Darkness and Shadows for soprano and ensemble (2003)
- Opera: The Triumph of Spirit over Matter (lyrics: Johan Thielemans) (2000); Achilleus, youth opera on a libretto by Imme Dros (2002)
- Y. KNOCKAERT, De klacht van het niet-gevondene, De componist Wim Henderickx, in Mens en Melodie, 53, 1998
- Y. KNOCKAERT, Wim Henderickx, in Nieuwe Muziek in Vlaanderen, 1997, p.130-132
- Y. KNOCKAERT, Wim Henderickx, Raga's, cd-boekje, MDC 7833, 1999
- K. SNEYERS, Het Oosten in de composities van Wim Henderickx, Universiteit Gent, 2001
- T. EELEN, Interculturele confrontaties. Nieuw werk van Wim Henderickx, in Contra., 3, 2003, p. 40-41
- HENDERICKX: Raga I, II, III, Megadisc MDC 7833
- HENDERICKX: Triumph of Spirit over Matter, Radio Klara (2000)

[© 2001 Jan Vandenhouwe, voor MATRIX ; © 2005 Klaas Coulembier, voor MATRIX (update)]


  • Achilleus, 2002
    chamber opera 01:15:00
  • Achilleus, 2002
    chamber opera 01:15:00
  • African suite, 1992
    violin and percussion 00:08:00
  • African suite, 1992
    soprano saxophone and percussion 00:08:00
  • Alla Turca, 2006
    3 percussionists 00:15:00
  • Ave Maria, 2011
    Mezzo-Soprano and organ 00:06:00
  • Ave Maria, 2011
    Baritone and organ 00:06:00
  • Ballade, 1996
    Narrator and orchestra 00:08:00
  • Barbarian dance, 1985
    drums and piano 00:06:00
  • Bolomakoté, 2004
    solo percussion and 4 percussion players 00:25:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Soprano and piano 00:05:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Mezzo-Soprano and piano 00:05:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Contralto and piano 00:05:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Tenor and piano 00:05:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Baritone and piano 00:05:00
  • Canzone, 2007
    Bass and piano 00:05:00
  • Circus Suite, 1992
    flute and piano 00:08:00
  • Circus Suite, 1992
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon 00:08:00
  • Confrontations (for African and Western percussion), 2003
    percussion, djembé, dundun (10 percussionists) 00:30:00
  • Crucifixus, 2003
    eight-part mixed choir a cappella 00:05:00
  • Dawn, 1992
    Mz., women's choir and instruments 00:21:00
  • De profundis, 1992
    Choir a cappella 00:04:00
  • Decors, 1992
    oboe and bassoon 00:05:00
  • Droombeelden, 1988
    oboe, bassoon and piano 00:17:00
  • Elegie, 1989
    piano 00:04:00
  • Fireworks, 2012
    sax quartet, percussion and electronics 00:11:00
  • Four bagatelles, 1996
    percussion and piano 00:06:30
  • Four pieces, 1990
    clarinet and string quartet 00:14:00
  • Four pieces, 1990
    clarinet in Bb and string orchestra 00:14:00
  • Gishora, 2009
    soprano saxophone and seven african drums 00:08:00
  • Gishora, 2009
    trumpet and seven african drums 00:08:00
  • Groove!, 2010
    percussion and orchestra 00:27:00
  • Hommage, 1994
    clarinet 00:04:00
  • Il pendolo, 1989
    double bass 00:10:00
  • Impression n°1, 1993
    flute and piano 00:05:00
  • In deep silence I, 1998
    guitar 00:10:00
  • In deep silence II, 2002
    recorder quartet 00:14:00
  • In deep silence III, 2003
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:10:00
  • IO, 1991
    flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon 00:12:00
  • Lamento, 1994
    bassoon quartet 00:06:00
  • Le visioni di Paura, 1990
    orchestra 00:12:00
  • Libera me, 1992
    Choir a cappella 00:03:00
  • Lied van de meisjes (Het), 2006
    voice and accordion 00:04:30
  • Lied van de meisjes (Het), 2006
    choir and piano 00:04:30
  • Lied van Olek, 2009
    choir and piano 00:00:00
  • Maya, 1990
    clarinet 00:10:00
  • Maya's dream, 2005
    oboe and ensemble 00:10:00
  • Memento mori, 2005
    piano 00:20:00
  • Mozart's Entführung...?, 2008
    chamber orchestra 00:08:00
  • Mudra, 2010
    ensemble 00:27:00
  • Mysterium, 1989
    10 wind instruments 00:15:00
  • Nada Brahma, 2005
    Soprano, ensemble and electronics 00:21:00
  • Olek schoot een beer..., 2006
    Narrator and ensemble 00:35:00
  • Olek schoss einen Bären..., 2007
    Narrator and ensemble 00:35:00
  • OM, 1992
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:16:00
  • On the road, 2011
    alto saxophone and electronics 00:09:00
  • On the road, 2011
    trumpet and electronics 00:09:00
  • Only darkness and shadows..., 2003
    Soprano and 10 instruments 00:15:00
  • Only darkness and shadows..., 2003
    Soprano and orchestra 00:15:00
  • Orpheus, 2002
    Children's choir and piano 00:05:00
  • Raga I, 1996
    percussion solo 00:18:05
  • Raga I, 1994
    percussion and 2 pianos 00:17:00
  • Raga I, 1996
    percussion and orchestra 00:18:05
  • Raga II, 1995
    orchestra 00:21:19
  • Raga III, 1995
    viola and orchestra 00:27:00
  • Raga III, 2003
    viola solo 00:27:00
  • Raga III, 1995
    chamber orchestra 00:27:00
  • Resonating Light, 2013
    nonet 00:14:00
  • Ronddolen, 1987
    bassoon 00:08:00
  • Ronddolen, 1987
    bass clarinet 00:08:00
  • Saeta, 2004
    guitar 00:17:00
  • Searching, 1986
    viola and marimba 00:10:00
  • Searching, 1986
    violin and marimba 00:10:00
  • Searching, 1986
    bass clarinet and marimba 00:10:00
  • Six impressions, 1987
    trombone and 2 percussion players 00:10:00
  • Skriet, 1993
    orchestra 00:07:00
  • Skriet, 1993
    orchestra 00:07:00
  • Sonatine, 1986
    percussion and piano 00:00:00
  • Spielerei, 1987
    piano 00:03:00
  • Spielerei, 1987
    piano 00:03:00
  • Suite, 1988
    violin and piano 00:14:00
  • Symphony n°1, 2011
    orchestra 00:27:00
  • Tejas, 2009
    orchestra 00:33:00
  • The call, 1992
    horn 00:10:00
  • The four Elements, 2008
    Mezzo-Soprano, flute, clarinet, violin and cello 00:20:00
  • The seven chakras, 2004
    2 violins, viola and cello 00:35:00
  • Three Interludes, 1989
    oboe, horn and piano 00:08:00
  • Toccata, 1988
    piano 00:03:00
  • Torso, 1989
    trumpet and piano 00:10:00
  • Triumph of spirit over matter, 1999
    voice and piano 01:30:00
  • Triumph of spirit over matter, 1999
    chamber opera 01:30:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    alto saxophone and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    bassoon and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    flute or oboe and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1994
    flute, violin, viola, cello, double bass 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    clarinet and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    cor anglais and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1999
    flute and string orchestra 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    flute and piano 00:10:00
  • Twee nocturnes, 1993
    oboe and piano 00:10:00
  • Untitled, 1989
    piano 00:04:00
  • Variations, 1988
    orchestra 00:15:00
  • Zes miniaturen, 1988
    piano 00:05:00
  • Zoon van Eros, 1987
    Soprano and piano 00:08:00
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