Biography Joep Franssens


Joep Franssens (1955) studied composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and continued his studies at the Rotterdam Conservatory, where, in 1988, he concluded his study period with the Composition Prize.


Although Franssens’ multifaced musical style does not make it easy to classify him, he is often regarded as the Dutch representative of the  so called New Spirituality in the Netherlands. In his music Franssens aims to express the Universal; his sources of inspiration are to be found amongst writers and philosophers like Fernando Pessoa and Baruch de Spinoza. In a rich tonal language his music evokes strong emotions by the public, both unacquainted with contemporary classical music as well as specialised listeners. In 2004 the recording of his major choral work Harmony of the Spheres reached the seventh rank of the classical charts in The Netherlands.

Photo: Coby van Wageningen

Franssens’ music has been performed globally. He has worked with choirs such as the Swedish Radio Choir, BBC Singers, Latvian National State Choir, Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and Netherlands Chamber Choir. The latter took Franssens’ music on tour through Europe and the USA in 2000 and 2001, led by the Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. Multi-laureate pianist Ralph van Raat has his music on his repertoire since 2000. The first movement of the cycle Harmony of the Spheres has been selected for the ISCM days in Maribor (Slovenia) in September 2003, performed by the BBC Singers conducted by Stephen Betteridge. In the fall of 2012 this work sees its 100th performance by Sinfonia Rotterdam and Conrad van Alphen. The complete cycle is staged again in the fall of 2014 by the Croatian Radio-Television Choir (HRT-choir) with conductor Tonči Bilić.

Well-known conductors like Yakov Kreizberg, Tõnu Kaljuste, Lucas Foss, Gerd Albrecht, Vasily Petrenko, and Daniel Raiskin performed his works with Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Lodz Philharmonic Orchestra, Latvian National State Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. He received commissions from, amongst others, Rotterdam Art Foundation, Eduard van Beinum Foundation, De Doelen, Dutch Radio (ZaterdagMatinee), SNS Reaal Fund and Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, which gave the world premiere of Bridge of Dawn (Second Movement) in Spring 2013.


2015 he received the culture prize ‘Het Gouden Viooltje’ (The Golden Violin), an award earmarked for outstanding musical talent, born un the Dutch Northern provinces with an international career. He is the composer of the multi-awards winning dance-opera film Symmetry ( 2015) by Ruben van Leer.

Franssens’ music is published by Deuss Music ( managed by Albersen), The Netherlands.