"The enthusiasm and commitment of the orchestra and its director promise a bright future. An extraordinary "renewal" for the coming season". Harlem Dagblad, October 2000.
These words underscore the brilliant career of Micha Hamel who, since September 2002, has been the principal conductor of the Noordhollands Philharmonisch Orchestra.
He was born in Amsterdam in 1970 and began private studies of composition and orchestral conducting in 1986, under the guidance of Huub Kerstens. He also attended advanced courses held by Morton Feldman and John Cage. In 1994 he received his diploma from the Conservatorio Reale, specializing in composition with Diderik Wagenaar and Konrad Boehmer, as well as in orchestral conducting with Ed Spanjaard and Jac van Steen. Thereafter, he was invited by Reinbert de Leeuw to take part in composition courses given by Mario Davicovsky and Louis Andriessen at the Tanglewood Music Center. In 1992, he attended a course for composers and professional choreographers and, following these, he was commissioned to do work for two contemporary ballet groups, the Voltaire (Brighton Festival 1993) and the Mark Baldwin Dance Company.
Micha Hamel composed his first work for orchestra, at the behest of the National Ballet for a new choreography by Toer van Schayk, a production which was performed twice. Apart from works for orchestras and ballet companies, Hamel has also composed sound tracks for theatre companies both in Holland and abroad.
Compositions by Hamel have been performed by the Dutch Radio Chamber Music Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ives Ensemble, the Slagweekgroep den Haag, the Mondrian String Quartet, the Nieuw Ensemble and the Schoenberg Ensemble, among others.
As orchestral conductor, Micha Hamel feels a particular affinity for contemporary music and has premièred many new works, often in the presence of the composer. He has also collaborated with prestigious composers like Elliott Carter, György Ligeti and Louis Andriessen. He has received a number of important awards both as director and as composer. For example, in 1994 he won the prize awarded by the Arts Fund of Amsterdam for his composition Fructus, written for the Slagweekgroep den Haag and for the Mondrian String Quartet. In 1999 he was awarded both the Elizabeth Everts Prize, as well as the Kersjes van de Groenekan scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to travel and study with Mark Elder.
Since 1993, he has collaborated regularly with the Nieuw Ensemble, the Schoenberg Ensemble and the Slagweekgroep den Haag. In 1997, thanks to funding from Bernard Haitink (the principal conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra), Edo de Waart offered Micha Hamel the post of assistant conductor. During the two seasons in which he was thus employed, he collaborated with various guest conductors such as Peter Eötvös, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Claus Peter Flor. In 1999 he worked for the Ensemble Modern for the first time.
During the 2000-2001 season, he worked with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra as their guest conductor twice, as well as with the Gelders Orchestra, the Brabant Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.
His considerable talents both as composer and conductor were emphatically endorced at the Festival in De Branding, performed in The Hague in October 2000. During a week of concerts, the majority of his work was performed by the Nieuw Ensemble, the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.