Introduction



Sara Zamboni (Italy - 1990) is an academically trained composer and pianist based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Her musical interests and influences are multiple and diverse. Her composition projects encompass instrumental works, electronic music and combinations for various destinations, privileging music for live performances in theatres and concert halls. She is mostly interested in chamber music projects, music for dance and choreography and contemporary music theatre with the accent on the music side. Her compositions have been performed in The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Republic of North Macedonia, Czech Republic, Italy and China. She has been nominated as one of the six composers for the Dutch submission for the ISCM World New Music Days 2021 in Shanghai and Nanning (China) organised by the International Society of Contemporary Music.


She manages her own studio for composition and electronic music production. In 2020 she founded Cytokine Records: an independent record label for experimental electronic music and combinations of electronic music with acoustic instruments. Her online releases are made with love for whoever has time, curiosity and desire to listen to them.


Besides her various activities as a creator, she works as a pianist for Modern dance classes, creative dance and improvisation at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague where she also leads workshops in the analogue studio of electronic music of the Composition Department during the First Year Festival, the Open Days and the new Orientation Course: Composition, Sonology, ArtScience.


Piano



Sara's musical adventure begins at early age. She has always been fascinated by sounds, complex rhythms, different music genres and the various music programmes broadcasted by the Italian cultural radio "RAI Radio3". She decided to play piano or nothing else. She embarked almost immediately in the academic studies for classical piano. Many years after, she graduated in the Traditional classical piano diploma at the "L. Marenzio" Conservatory of Darfo Boario Terme (Brescia), under the guidance of Caterina Vasaturo. In the same institution she also studied chamber music with Antonio Valentino (Trio Debussy), music analysis with Marino Pessina, harmony, counterpoint, fugue & composition with Vincenzo Simmarano.


She met on her way the pianist Andrea Rebaudengo who took her on the trail of XX Century piano repertoire. She graduated cum laude for her Classical piano Master's degree with a thesis on "The piano music of Béla Bartók and the research on the folk element" under his teachings and the precious help of Marina Baudoux.


She moved to The Netherlands to complete her Composition studies at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. In the meantime she continued to study piano and chamber music with Gerard Bouwhuis, with a special attention to the Modern and Contemporary repertoire.


She played as a soloist as well as in chamber music groups in various concert venues and notable international festivals such as Korzo Theatre, Theater De Nieuwe Regentes, Het Nutshuis (Den Haag), 'Gaudeamus Festival' (Tivoli-Vredenburg) in Utrecht, 'NJO Muziekzomer 2017' in Apeldoorn and Nunspeet & in the 'Takemitsu Festival' (De Doelen) in Rotterdam with Pulse Wave Quartet. She performed in 'Holland Festival 2019' in Amsterdam where she participated in Stockhausen/AUS LICHT, a production in collaboration with The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, Holland Festival and the Karlheinz Stockhausen Foundation.


Performance of Michaels Reise um die Erde by K. Stockhausen, Holland Festival 2019. Photo © Ruth & Martin Walz. A courtesy of Het Nationale Opera & Ballet Amsterdam.

Composition



She studied with Martijn Padding and Calliope Tsoupaki at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, The Netherlands. She achieved a brilliant B.A. degree in Composition and later on she graduated for her M.A. with distinction: "For the commitment in creating new forms of mixed acoustic and electronic composition". Parallelly, she also followed courses in the Institute of Sonology such as 'Composing in the analogue studio' with Kees Tazelaar and 'Audio engineering in electronic music' with Paul Jeukendrup.


As a composer, she has been selected to take part to the Composer Collider Europe (2017-2020), a composition project launched by the Köln-based Ensemble Musikfabrik. Her composition Lumen de Lumine (2018) has been premiered at the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra (GR) by Ensemble Musikfabrik conducted by Christian Eggen and professionally recorded in Köln in November 2020.


She is currently focussed on composing for acoustic instruments and recordings of these on multichannel fixed media (once known as "tape"). Combining acoustic instruments and their digital counterparts represents a big fascination for her: it requires instrumental knowledge combined with music technology. The main purpose of this, is exploring the relationship between the player and several versions of him/herself, and the consequences in sound and stage presence that they might generate.


She started a series of compositions committing to this combination: A Playful Piece for clarinet and stereo fixed media; Lumen de Lumine for 11 instruments and 6-channels fixed media and Dark Vocalise for voice and 5-channels fixed media. Embarking in such projects required her to develop a strong mentality of team-work, where creative elements and practical aspects are always confronted and discussed with her performers and audio engineers.


Music for dance & choreography



During her studies, she had the chance to learn and develop her interest in making music for dance thanks to the passion and the patience of Joan van der Mast who guided her into the world of modern dance pedagogy. Joan has always been a source of inspiration due to her strong personality, musicality, creativity and commitment as an artist and dance teacher.


She composed original music for "The Silence of the Bees" (2016), a choreography of Joan van der Mast performed during Dance Fest Skopje 2016 by Skopje Dance Theatre, the first professional contemporary dance company in Macedonia lead by Risima Risimkin.


She composed music for Matea Kiselichka's "JAE: Just About Everyone", a 43-minutes new choreography for the China-CEEC Music and Dance Festival 2019 organised by the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music in Hangzhou (China).


She collaborated with the choreographer Matea Kiselichka, the singer Milena Damnjanovic and the Bachelor Dance students of the ZJCM in the production of the video dance "Through The Dancer's Eye" for the International Dance Day 2021 & the Macedonian Center of the International Theatre Institute.


(Electronic) music studio



Since the first lessons in the "Stockhausen Studio", the analogue studio of the Composition Department of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, she developed a strong interest in composing electronic music and in the use of technological means to achieve a richer musical vision. Her first teacher was the producer and songwriter Maurice Bom "Mouse". His eclectic personality, sharp approach and unstoppable creativity stimulated her to find her own way and vision about electronic music. Step by step she managed to acquire the needed pieces of equipment, licenses and facilities to build up her own studio. Some people understood her goals and priorities: investing in the development of her own studio means nurturing the creative possibilities required by the projects she takes part.


Several successful projects have been accomplished by her and her collaborators such as the electronic composition part for Lacrymosa, commissioned by the Harmonie Concordia Obbicht in 2017. This project was very peculiar due to the involvement of two composers: Rob Goorhuis for the instrumental part and Sara Zamboni for the 4-channels fixed media part. The performance of the Harmonie Concordia Obbicht conducted by Alex Schillings was awarded with a gold medal at the WMC 2017 in Kerkrade. Her electronic music composition Suite in a Mental Space (part 1 & 2) has been nominated for the Tera de Marez Oyens Prize 2018.


She composed electronic music for two events curated by Karin Post for the Schrit_tmacher Festival presented in the SCHUNCK* Glaspaleis in Heerlen (NL): the music for the exposition "Punk+Dans+Kunst: Angry Movements" (2018) and the techno track Techno Giselle for the conference "Romantiek Nu" (2019).

A set of electronic music compositions for Modern and Contemporary dance have been composed thanks to the facilities of her own studio. Enriching the technical possibilities of this studio means investing in her creative independence and vision.