Michael H. J. van der Sloot
Canadian musician Michael H. J. van der Sloot (b. 1991) - a self-proclaimed musical "jack-of-all-trades" - enjoys a unique and versatile career as a performer, collaborator, creator, and educator. Currently based in Calgary, Alberta where he is a member of the faculty at Mount Royal University Conservatory and its Academy Program for Gifted Youth, Mr. van der Sloot is a dedicated and sought-after instructor in several musical disciplines. During the summers, he is a member of the faculty at the Valhalla Summer School of Music in New Denver, British Columbia along with Calgary Music Academy's Summer Strings. Mr. van der Sloot has also taught as a guest at programs throughout Western Canada.
Mr. van der Sloot is an accomplished and versatile cellist, having won prizes, awards, and grants from some of Canada's top institutions and having performed with some of Canada's most celebrated artists and ensembles. At home on stage both as a chamber musician and a soloist, Mr. van der Sloot is a passionate advocate of new music in particular with extensive experience performing and premiering a wide variety of new works by contemporary composers - both emerging and established.
Also busy as a composer himself, recent commissions for Mr. van der Sloot include works for the Morningside Music Bridge Orchestra, the Escher String Quartet, violinist Ian Swensen and cellist Andrés Díaz, and iconic violist Nadia Sirota. His music has been praised for its innovative range of textures and colours, particularly his works for string instruments.
Mr. van der Sloot has participated in festivals including those at the Banff Centre and National Arts Centre, and pursued his formal studies at Southern Methodist University (B.Mus. ’13; M.Mus. ‘17), and Northwestern University (M.Mus. ’15) after receiving his pre-collegiate training through the Mount Royal College Conservatory in Calgary. His primary teachers at these institutions include renowned cellists John Kadz, Andrés Díaz, and Hans Jørgen Jensen, along with award-winning composers Xi Wang, Simon A. Sargon, Jay Alan Yim, Kevin Hanlon, and Lane Harder. These studies have been funded in part by three generous grants from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts as well as the Alberta Arts Graduate Scholarship.
Aside from his more conventional interests, Mr. van der Sloot enjoys utilizing his musical skillset outside of the concert music world. He is a prolific arranger and improviser, and has collaborated in multiple musical capacities with choreographers, authors, playwrights, and filmmakers. When he's not busy with music, Mr. van der Sloot is a full-time ball-thrower for his two tireless Australian Shepherd dogs, is an avid hockey fan, considers himself a better chef than he truly is, and loves to spend free time hiking, biking, or relaxing in the mountains. He plays a 2010 cello by Wayne Burak.