Calliope Tsoupaki receives Matthijs Vermeulen award

25 June 2021

On friday the 16th of July, our composition teacher Calliope Tsoupaki will receive the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen-award for her composition 'Thin Air'.
After the ceremony, the award-winning work will be performed in a new version for string orchestra by the Wonderfeel Festival Orchestra conducted by Johannes Leertouwer.

Thin Air
Calliope Tsoupaki was commissioned to write Thin Air by Festivals for Compassion. It is an initiative by Tamar Brüggemann, the director of the Dutch festival Wonderfeel. She wanted to pay tribute to the compassion that we show during the corona crisis and asked other festivals to join. May of them gladly agreed. In each festival one soloist or duo performs Calliope‘s new piece, that can be played on a wide range of instruments.

Tsoupaki: “At the beginning of the corona crisis we had to make quick decisions. We decided to shut down the economy in order to protect the weakest. An impressive example of compassion. For Festivals of Compassion, I have now written a piece that every musician can play on any instrument, just as everyone can express their inner voice of compassion in their own way”.

The judges find both the concept and the composition very strong. 'It is a powerful statement of the communal nature of the experience of art. You can see Thin Air as a document of the Corona Pandemic.

Michela Amici, alumna of the master NAIP, performs Thin Air at the Dutch Harp Festival.

Find an overview of all performances at

Matthijs Vermeulenprijs
The Matthijs Vermeulen- award is the most important Dutch composition award, named after the symphonic composer Matthijs Vermeulen, who passed away in 1967. This price, worth 20.000 euros is awarded every two years by Fonds Podiumkunten to a Dutch Composer, who composed a special work on the terrain of contemporary music, according to an independent jury. The jury of the Mathijs Vermeulen-award 2021 consists of Sewan Mumcuyan (chair), Simone Meijer, Marlon Titre, Yannick Hiwat, Masa Spaan, Antony Hermus en Frank Veenstra.

Check this link for more information:

foto: Michiel van Nieuwkerk