Michael H. J. van der Sloot
Michael H. J. van der Sloot (b. 1991) is a young Canadian musician with a diverse range of skills and interests. A versatile chamber musician, Mr. van der Sloot has performed with iconic figures such as Anton Kuerti, Andrés and Roberto Díaz, Raphael Wallfisch, and eighth blackbird. As soloist, he has performed with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra and Calgary Youth Orchestra, with whom he premiered his own Cello Concerto in C in April 2013. Mr. van der Sloot is a passionate advocate of new music, frequently performing and premiering new works and often collaborating directly with composers.
Also busy as a composer, recent commissions for Mr. van der Sloot include works for violinist Ian Swensen and cellist Andrés Díaz, the Morningside Music Bridge Orchestra, the Escher String Quartet, iconic violist Nadia Sirota, and the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble. Mr. van der Sloot’s 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 prestigious summer 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 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.
In addition to his pursuits as a cellist and composer, Mr. van der Sloot is a dedicated and sought-after instructor in a variety of musical disciplines. He is a member of the faculty at Mount Royal University Conservatory and its Academy Program for Gifted Youth, as well as Calgary Music Academy. During the summers, he is a member of the cello and chamber music faculty at the Valhalla Summer School of Music in New Denver, British Columbia along with Calgary Music Academy's Summer Workshop. Mr. van der Sloot has also served as guest faculty at Mountainside Chamber Music and the Calgary Piano Institute.
Aside from his more conventional interests, Mr. van der Sloot enjoys utilizing his musical skillset outside of the classical and 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 an avid hockey fan, considers himself a better chef than he truly is, and loves to spend his free time away in the mountains. He plays a 2010 cello by Wayne Burak.