Michael H. J. van der Sloot
Canadian musician Michael H. J. van der Sloot (b. 1991) enjoys a unique and independent career in which he excels as an educator, creator, performer, collaborator, and curator. Celebrated for his enthusiasm, skill, and versatility, Mr. van der Sloot has earned a growing reputation as a genuine jack-of-all-musical-trades.
Currently based in Calgary where he is a member of the faculty at Mount Royal University Conservatory, Mr. van der Sloot is a dedicated and sought-after instructor in a variety of musical disciplines including cello, advanced music theory, and composition. During the summers, he is a member of the faculty at the Valhalla Summer School of Music in the West Kootenays along with Mount Royal Conservatory's Summer Strings. Mr. van der Sloot has also taught and performed as a guest at festivals throughout western Canada and regularly teaches with MRU Conservatory’s Academy Program for Gifted Youth.
An award-winning composer who “brilliantly reinvents timbral possibilities” (The Strad) and “delivers [colour] in spades” (WQXR), Mr. van der Sloot’s “provocative” (Dallas Morning News) music has been performed and recorded across the country and internationally to critical acclaim. Described as "an impressive combination of aleatoric freedom with real textural and timbral beauty", his individual style has drawn praise from his fellow musicians, critics, and audiences alike for its energy and creativity. Recent works have been commissioned by musicians including the Escher String Quartet, Land's End Ensemble, and Morningside Music Bridge, and he has been awarded funding by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Alberta Arts Graduate Scholarship, among others.
Mr. van der Sloot is also a distinguished and versatile cellist, having won prizes, awards, and bursaries from some of Canada's top institutions - including a grand prize in the 2008 Canadian Music Competition in Quebec City - and has 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 with a wealth of experience performing and premiering new works by contemporary composers - both emerging and established.
After earning a Bachelor of Music with highest distinction in cello performance and composition in 2013, he completed extensive scholarship and graduate degrees in both specialties at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (Master of Music, 2015) and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX (Master of Music, 2017) . His primary teachers include renowned pedagogues John Kadz, Andrés Díaz, and Hans Jørgen Jensen, on the cello along with composers Xi Wang, Simon A. Sargon, Jay Alan Yim, Kevin Hanlon, and Lane Harder. Mr. van der Sloot has also participated in summer music festivals including those at the Banff Centre for the Arts and National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
When he's not busy with his musical endeavours, Mr. van der Sloot is a full-time ball-thrower for his two tireless Australian Shepherd dogs, considers himself a better chef than he truly is, and loves to spend long summer days cycling, scrambling, and relaxing in the Rockies. He plays a 2010 cello by Wayne Burak.