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.

She will develop the European Opera Academy, act as intendant for Conservatorium Maastricht's opera projects, work within the research centre of Technology Driven Art, and develop interdisciplinary projects for the Arts Faculty.

Susanne van Els is originally a violist. She studied with Ferdinand Erblich and Nobuko Imai at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where she was Head of Classical Music from 2009 to 2015. Since 2015 she is not only Head of the Classical Music department of Conservatorium Maastricht, she also teaches Classical Music.

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 (since 1990) and Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, as a much sought-after chamber musician 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 (incl. Deutscher Schallplattenpreis and Diapason d’Or). Van Els plays chamber music with violinist Heleen Hulst, is on the jury of the Davina van Wely Violin Competition and gives viola and chamber music masterclasses. Several Dutch composers, including Louis Andriessen and Klaas de Vries, wrote solo pieces and concertos especially for her.

She performed as a soloist in the Hindemith year, in the opera A King Riding by Klaas de Vries, and in new viola concertos written especially for her by composers such as Mayke Nas, Willem Jeths and Ron Ford. She had a major solo part in the opera Hotel de Pekin (2008) by Willem Jeths. She has released a remarkable series of solo CDs: Waterworks with DVD Zinc Garden, the experimental Christmas, Sonata with Poet Laureate of the Netherlands and actor Ramsey Nasr, To You with live viola concerts, and Milhaud with Hindemith, Ysaye 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 councillor for one term and a member of the appointments advisory committee for the Dutch Council for Culture for years.

For more information about Susanne van Els, please visit her website: