Susanne van Els General Director of Opera

Susanne van Els, Head of Classical Music, will be taking up the position of General Director of Opera.

Susanne van Els is Coordinator for the European Opera Academy, she is intendant for Conservatorium Maastricht's innovative opera projects, works within the research center of Technology Driven Art, and develops interdisciplinary projects for the Arts Faculty.

Susanne van Els is originally a violist. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where she was Head of Classical Music from 2009 to 2015. Until 2017 she was Head of the Classical Music department of Conservatorium Maastricht.

Since graduating cum laude, she has been among the leading musicians in the Netherlands; as co-founder of the Ives Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam and Wendingen, as a former member of Strijktrio Holland and the Giotto Ensemble, as a member of the Schönberg Ensemble (1990-2009) and Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, as a much sought-after chamber music player and as an acclaimed soloist.

In 1990 Van Els was awarded the Fock Medal. She won first prize in the Charles Hennen Competition in 1989 and second prize in the International Melbourne Chamber Music Competition in 1990. In 1998, she was awarded the Alcuinus Prize by the city of Nijmegen for her merits as a performing musician. She performed the Dutch premiere of Ligeti's Solo Sonata for Viola and recorded it on a highly acclaimed and award-winning CD for harmonia mundi (Deutscher Schallplattenpreis and Diapason d’Or d’année).

Several Dutch composers, including Louis Andriessen and Willem Jeths, wrote solo pieces and concertos especially for her. She was a soloist in operas and performed in music theater.

She has released a remarkable series of solo CDs: Waterworks with DVD Zinc Garden, the experimental Christmas, Sonata (Sjostakovitsj) with Poet Laureate of the Netherlands and actor Ramsey Nasr, To You with viola concerts, and ‘women portraits’ with Hindemith, Ysaÿe and Milhaud.

Van Els was a board member of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst (Dutch Composition Fund) and chaired the composition advisory committee of the Dutch Performing Arts Fund. She was a municipal councilor and a member of the appointments advisory committee for the Dutch Council for Culture, for years.

She designed music and arts courses on academic level for University College Utrecht.