Refractions II

For symphonic orchestra. Sketched at SoundMine 2022, a composition internship in collaboration with HERMESensemble and Center Henri Pousseur. In the beautiful surroundings of Grand Commandery Alden Biesen, a group of young composers receives expert coaching for a week to fully develop their compositional qualities.

Refraction is the bending of curing of light or sound when it encounters a medium. For more information about the phenomenon, see this post about the first musical model, Refractions I!

While in Refractions I, the slowing down of a beam of light when it encounters a medium is modelled by changing the rhythms (but leaving the underlying tempo intact!), in Refractions II, the tempo changes. The medium is now a compelling and colourful orchestration and although the tempo changes, the original pulse is always maintained throughout in the percussion, resulting in very confusing and conflicting polymeters. See Model 2 below.

Model 2: used in Refractions II

2 Flutes (2nd also piccolo)
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B flat (2nd also Bass Clarinet)
2 Bassoons

4 Horns
3 Trumpets (in C)
3 Trombones

Two percussionist


Refractions I

For vibraphone and piano. Written at SoundMine 2022, a composition internship in collaboration with HERMESensemble and Center Henri Pousseur. In the beautiful surroundings of Grand Commandery Alden Biesen, a group of young composers receives expert coaching for a week to fully develop their compositional qualities.

Refraction is the turning or bending of a light or sound wave when it passes from one medium to another. Most people are familiar with refraction: a common example is putting a straight stick under water, which seems curved when observed. For the source, i.e. the stick, the path is straight, although for the observer, the path is curved. This bending is a result of the changing speed of the wave/particle, which is dependent on the difference in density of the mediums. When the wave hits the medium at an angle, its course changes, thus we speak of refraction.

Refractions I explores a special case of refraction: one where a wave meets the medium at a right angle. Thus the speed of the wave changes, but not the direction. This is modelled musically by setting a fixed and steady pulse, which is manipulated when one of the performers encounters a colourful symmetric chord. An interplay of various polymeters is the result! The Model 1 below.

Model 1: used in Refractions I

At the moment, I am also working on Refractions II, an orchestral piece which explores the same concept, but in an entirely different way.

Refraction can be observed when the beam of light hits the medium at an angle. When the angle is straight, only the speed of the beam changes.


A soundtrack for an animation about lesbians in space.

Animation by Jan Berende, student at St. Joost school of Art & Design, Breda.

Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

Way of Flowers

For string orchestra and string quartet. Written for the Haydn Jeugdstrijkorkest (HJSO).

Way of Flowers is een klein muziekstuk voor strijkorkest en strijkkwintet. Jan-Ype Nota, dirigent van het Haydn Jeugdstrijkorkest (HJSO) vroeg aan een aantal voormalig prijswinnaars van het Prinses Christina Compositieconcours of ze een kort stuk voor het HSJO wilden schrijven. Dit stuk is daar een uitwerking van. Voor Way of Flowers ben ik  geïnspireerd op een verhaal over Sen no Rikyuu, een Japans theemeester uit de 16e eeuw. Op een dag zette Hideyoshi, een belangrijk Japans heerser, een gouden bassin met vers water en een bloeiende pruimenbloesemtak klaar en beval Rikyuu dit te schikken. Zonder twijfel pakte Rikyuu de tak, verzamelde de bloesem en liet dit vallen in het bassin. Het aangezicht van bloemknoppen en welige bloemen tegen het goud van het bassin was overweldigend voor beiden. Traditioneel gaat een bloemschikking gepaard met kalligrafie en omdat ik overeenkomsten zag tussen kalligrafie en het strijkorkest, gezien beide in essentie een harige kwast gebruiken, wilde ik het strijkorkest, het bloemschikken en de kalligrafie verenigen in één stuk.

Kadou: ”way of flowers”

Het verhaal vertaalde ik naar het componeerproces door eerst de kalligrafische versie van de Japanse karakters die het woord ‘’bloemschikken’’ (華道; kadou; ‘’(de) bloemenweg’’) opmaken op te zoeken. Zie de afbeelding hierboven. Vervolgens tekende ik de streken van de karakters over op papier en knipte deze uit. Tegelijkertijd prepareerde ik een platte schaal met muziekpapier. Dit papier had ik verticaal ingedeeld in vijf partijen en horizontaal in vijf gelijke delen. Ieder deel stond gelijk aan 30 seconden, zodat het stuk ongeveer 2’30’’ zou duren. Iedere seconde staat gelijk aan één kwartnoot. De uitgeknipte streken liet ik vervolgens een aantal keer in de schaal vallen. De derde keer was ik tevreden met de compositie, want de andere keren vielen stukjes papier niet in de schaal of waren ze niet verspreid over de partituur. Zo werd onderstaande afbeelding het uitgangspunt van de compositie.

Alea Iacta Est

Alea Iacta Est is a piece for soprano saxophone, live electronics, soundtrack and six dice and is written for Iván Sánchez Iglesias.

A long time ago, Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon, a small and insignificant brook located in Italy. He was a general and governor of the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul. The river marked the boundary between the province and Italy, which was controlled directly by Rome and the Senate. Entering Italy as acting general was illegal and would be a capital offence. Stating iacta est alea (the die is cast), Caesar crossed nevertheless. This lead to a civil war and eventually to Caesar becoming dictator for life. The Republic as it existed for 500 years would be no more.

Recently, something similar happened in the USA, when president Donald Trump verbally invoked a storming on the Capital, housing the Congress and Senate. Path dependency theorizes that once certain paths have been taken, it’s hard to change direction. What will this means for the future of the only 250 years old United States of America?

Both stories are connected in a compelling narrative in the soundtrack, but that’s not all: the live performer deals with exactly the same problem: he throws six dice, one for each of the six performance sections. The dice decide how he should improvize in each section. However, his improvisations are recorded and played back in each consecutive section. There is no way back after throwing each dice and playing each section. Given these circumstances, the performer’s job is to meaningful interact with the pre-recorded improvisation, whilst simultaneously determining the future of his performance.

World premier by Iván Sánchez Iglesias

Nine-Tailed Fox

For clarinet, cello and piano (and stopwatch).

Nine-Tailed Fox is inspired on a well-known theme in East Asian mythology. Nine-tailed foxes, also referred to as fox spirits, are magical creatures with the ability to shapeshift into beautiful women. I read about these fox spirits for the first time in classic Chinese literature in 2020. When I came across the wood block prints by the Japanese artist Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920) one year later, I was charmed with how subtly and nuancedly he depicted these creatures.

The music uses a timing technique which enables the performers to explore the freedom and space they individually have. Within reasonable time limits, they are able to respond and interact intuitively, which allows them to play the music as organic and expressive as they see fit, without necessarily disturbing the freedom of other performers. It’s not a freedom caused by lack of restraints (possible chaos?) – it’s freedom caused by enabling the musicians, so they have the tools to achieve what they want (possible harmony?). Listening carefully and responding responsibly, that’s what it is about.

But suddenly in the middle of the piece, everything changes…

Woodblock print of the Nine-Tailed Fox, depicted/designed by Ogata Gekkou.


Hibernation is a work consisting of film, soundtrack and live piano. I created the work as part of the course Multimedia and Compositon, taught by Dutch composer Celia Swart.

In autumn 2021, someone told me about the amazing view from the top floor of the highest building of Tilburg University (called Koopmans), which looks over the Oude Warande, a local forest. I went to check it out immediately, was mesmerized by the autumnal colours and decided to go there again and capture the sights and sounds with a video camera and a tape recorder. Until six months later, I didn’t really know how to process all data into something I liked. Then, suddenly, I knew what to do and how I wanted it. Thus, Hibernation came into existence.

The film and soundtrack are fixed, but the live piano consists of parts sections which need to be synchronized with the film and sections which are essentially guided improvisations. The recording below features one possible execution of the piano part, but there are many ways to realize it. In an actual performance or exhibition, it’s preferred that the performer is visible. In addition, the work is also cyclical, so could be performed multiple times after each other, or even endlessly.

Unifying Appeal

Inspired by the current global actualities, I wrote a small piece for organ.

Unifying Appeal is characterized the juxtaposition of stern rhythms, organic melodies and lively signals. This material is inspired by the national hymns of Ukraine and Russia. The population of both countries are suffering. And the efforts of both peoples are needed to bring about peace.

Performed on 6 March 2022 by the composer on the organ (Pels) of the Petrus Donderskerk.

Read more about the organ:

First Winds (2022)

For clarinet and guitar. 1st prize in III International Competition among composers “THE TIME OF THE GUITAR” 2022.

First Winds is written for Danielle Rossouw and Ekaterina Uvarova. One time, they were searching for music to play, but they couldn’t get their hands on much. I caught their frustration and decided to write a piece for them. Both Danielle and Ekaterina are skilled and talented musicians and it was only natural to pose them a musical challenge without making it difficult for difficulty’s sake. Hence, First Winds came into existence.

The structure of First Winds seems to be based on the dichotomy between measured and unmeasured sections. This dichotomy is false however. This peculiar structure is not created to emphasize the contrasts and differences, but to facilitate balance and harmony in the piece as a whole. In some way, this piece is an exercise in reciprocal writing on macro and micro level. Achieving harmony on meso level is entrusted to the performers: time markings are meant to guide the size and internal time distribution of unmeasured sections, as well as to aid in balancing the composition in its entirety.

It’s not possible to listen to a live performance of First Winds yet.

First prize for From Clouds and First Winds!

Last Tuesday 1 March, pianist and composer Maurick Reuser won two first prizes in the international composition competition The Time of the Guitar. The competition, in full name III International Competition among composers “THE TIME OF THE GUITAR“, took place online last month and was organized by the Moscow International Association of Guitar Art, a leading organization in international guitar music. The jury consisted of composers and guitarists from Italy, Canada, Finland and Russia.

Maurick receives the prizes for the guitar solo work From Clouds and First Winds, a duo for clarinet and guitar. His source of inspiration is the coming together of eastern and western cultures and how these can relate to each other. The exploration of balance, harmony, dynamics and space takes a central role. His favourite expression is fusoku-furi, which means ‘’not connected and not separated’’.

Read an article by Tilburg University in English or Dutch.

From Clouds (2022)

For guitar solo. 1st prize in III International Competition among composers “THE TIME OF THE GUITAR” 2022.

From Clouds is a guitar solo work of highly dynamic nature, dedicated to Ekaterina Uvarova. Many composers are influenced by clouds. Indeed, when one takes into account all their different shapes, intricate layering and sublime internal dynamics, sometimes smooth and hidden, sometimes violent and apparent, they are very fascinating phenomena. The guitar is an equally fascinating, dynamic and surprising instrument, although its possibilities may seem restricted at first glance. Thus, this piece honours both the possibilities of the clouds and the guitar.

After a thrilling and explosive opening, seemingly emerging out of thin air, way is made for a more seductive and exotic story. After gradually calming down more and more, a certain tragedy materializes. The shallow and intangible reminiscence of the explosive opening theme constantly alternates with more trustful and moving passages. An attempt at harmonizing with fate is made, although some kind of reconciliation only seems to take place after a few stern remarks. Suddenly, whirling winds take over, carrying the story back to the beginning, but this time more agitated and expressive.

Enjoy playing From Clouds!

It’s not possible to listen to a live performance of From Clouds yet.

Upbeats & Grace Notes

As part of the Contemporary Music Days, Ned McGowan, Kiete van der Laan and Maurick Reuser presented their latest works.

My part starts at 55:00 with first an interview by study leader Martyn Smits. My playing starts at 1:03:00.

Tilburg omarmt piano op het station. Beuken op de toetsen, en soms zachtjes Queen of Kortjakje

TILBURG – De piano in de stationshal lijkt niet meer weg te denken. Elke dag wordt erop gespeeld: klassiek, ook bekende deuntjes en volksliedjes.  ,,Sommigen spelen de sterren van de hemel”, zo hoort ook de NS.

‘Laat je vingers dansen’ staat op de piano. Maurick Reuser, hij studeert aan AMPA, het conservatorium in de stad, zit met enige regelmaat achter de toetsen in de stationshal. ‘,,Als ik niet hoef te hollen om de trein te halen, dan ga ik spelen. Meestal Fly me to the moon, maar ik kijk naar wat de mensen in de hal prettig vinden. Soms staat iemand te luisteren. Je merkt dat mensen glimlachen, zelfs met een mondkapje op, dat zie je aan hun ogen. Deze hal is geen concertzaal, de drempel om muziek te maken is laag. Ik hoorde een meisje Ragtime van Scott Joplin spelen, iemand anders speelde Altijd is Kortjakje ziek. Dat kan allemaal.”

Maurick Reuser speelt piano in het NS station Tilburg © Pix4Profs / Joris Buijs

Lees het volledige artikel hier:

Utopia Klassiek

Solorecital in de Voorste Vennen te Drunen op 30 januari 2022 om 11:00h door Maurick Reuser.


Bach – Prelude in C majeur, BWV 846 (1722)

Beethoven – Pianosonate nr. 30, op. 109 (1820)
I. Vivace ma non troppo — Adagio espressivo
II. Prestissimo
III. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

M. Reuser – Kobucha (2020)

W.A. Mozart – Rondo alla turca (1789)


S. Joplin – Maple Leaf Rag (1899)

T. Takemitsu – Litany for Michael Vyner (1989)
I. Adagio
II. Lento misterioso

E. Satie – Gnossienne no. 5 (1889)

M. Reuser – Sencha (2021)

L. Einaudi – I Giorni (2001)

Fly Me to the Moon.

Het openingsconcert van de concertserie Utopia Klassiek. De organisatie wilde van dit openingsconcert een ”klapper” maken om de concertserie te promoten. De toegang was voor de gelegenheid gratis. In plaats van de 40 vaste gasten kwamen er 70. Voor de gelegenheid heb ik het programma Tijd en ruimte iets aangepast – met meer bekende stukken. Naast de vaste gasten Beethoven, Takemitsu en Reuser passeerden ook Mozart, Joplin, Satie en Einaudi de revue. Tot mijn verrassing ontdekte ik dat de muziek van Satie en in (mindere mate) Einaudi goed bij de Japanse hedendaagse muziek past.

Het concert bracht mij op het idee om de hele pianosonate van Mozart te studeren (nr. 11 in A majeur, K.331) en de hele set Gnossienne’s/Gymnopédies van Satie. Joplin gaat op de toegiftenlijst samen met Fly Me to the Moon.

Foto’s door Madeleine Mastboom.

Tijd en ruimte (II)

Besloten concert op Landgoed Ulvenhart op 6 januari 2021 om 15:00h door Maurick Reuser


Beethoven – Pianosonate nr. 30, op. 109 (1820)
I. Vivace ma non troppo — Adagio espressivo
II. Prestissimo
III. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

M. Reuser – Kobucha (2020)


T. Takemitsu – Litany for Michael Vyner (1989)
I. Adagio
II. Lento misterioso

J. Kondo – High Window (1996)

M. Reuser – Sencha (2021)

J. Yuasa – Cosmos Haptic (1957)

Fly Me to the Moon.

Renewing Resolutions (2022)

Inspired by the Christmas Holidays, I wrote a new piece for organ.

This small work for solo organ, Renewing Resolutions, is dedicated to organist and pianist Jelena Bazova. She is a great musician who taught me a great deal over the course of my six-year apprenticeship with her. Although she is no longer officially my teacher, her voice and ideas are still reflected in my thoughts.

Renewing Resolutions is thematically inspired by New Year and generally features three ideas. The first is the idea of a vow: a kind of promise is taken, possibly religiously, either for one self or for one other. The second is the idea of doubt: there is a critical reaction on the vow, either by yourself or other people. The third is the idea of fracturing: the vow violently shatters under the influence of doubt and criticism. The interaction and evolution of these three ideas result in a story, appropriately called Renewing Resolutions.

Ideally, this piece is to be played on an organ with at least two manuals and pedals. A swell is preferred, but not necessary. A voix céleste or tremulant stop is preferred to aid in characterizing the celestial sections, but reed stops are absolutely necessary to bring out the character of criticism. The pedal needs a bourdon 16’ or something similar and can be coupled to (one of the) manuals.

Enjoy playing Renewing Resolutions! Purchase the score here!

Maurick Reuser, 3 Januari 2022.

Grass as a Pillow (2021)

For mixed choir a cappella.

This collection, named Grass for a Pillow, takes five of Bashō’s well and lesser known poems and sets them to music for mixed choir a cappella. Each piece expresses some of the many possible meanings a haiku can offer, while trying to imagine the different feeling they might provoke to various listeners and readers. Simultaneously, it’s also a very personal musical rendition. This is the order of the pieces:

I. furu ike ya (an old pond / 古池や) [1’45’’]
II. kare eda ni (on a withered branch / 枯れ枝に) [2’25’’]
III. natsugusa ya (the summer grass / 夏草や) [4’30’’]
IV. kono michi ya (this road / この道や) [2’00’’]
V. ara umi ya (the rough sea / 荒海や) [2’25’’]

The haiku are set in an order in which I expect that the uniqueness of each piece can be most optimally. In addition, haiku I and V are water-themed, II and IV autumn-themed and III is the centrepiece to reflect on previous songs and look forward to the next ones. Performing the entire collection will last approximately 14 minutes.

Enjoy singing Grass for a Pillow! Purchase the score here!

Maurick Reuser, 8 December 2021

Tijd en ruimte

Lunchconcert Willem Twee Toonzaal op 1 december 2021 om 12:30h door Maurick Reuser


T. Takemitsu – Litany for Michael Vyner (1989)
I. Adagio
II. Lento misterioso

M. Reuser – Kobucha (2020)

J. Kondo – High Window (1996)

M. Reuser – Sencha (2021)

J. Yuasa – Cosmos Haptic (1957)


De muziek in dit pianorecital verkent de innige relatie tussen tijd en ruimte in Japanse muziek en composities door de pianist zelf. Ieder stuk spreekt rijkelijk tot de verbeelding, enerzijds door romantische aspecten, anderzijds door meditatieve aspecten. Het wordt ook de wereldpremière van sencha, een nieuw theestuk als reactie op het prijswinnende stuk kobucha.

Tijd en ruimte worden vaak gezien als twee onderscheidbare elementen. In Japan is echter geen strikt onderscheidt tussen de twee. Tijd en ruimte zijn beide ‘’intervallen’’ die altijd gekenmerkt wordt door spanning. Dit heet ma. Een element in de ruimte heeft door tijd altijd een dynamische relatie met andere elementen in de ruimte. Muziek, typisch een tijdelijke kunstvorm, kan niet zonder ruimte tot stand komen. De mogelijkheden in de klankwereld zijn hierdoor eindeloos!

Komt u de rijkheid van ruimte en tijd ook herontdekken?


Maurick Reuser (1998) is een prijswinnend pianist, componist en presentator met een brede interesse. Op het moment focust hij op oosterse filosofie en muziek, vooral het Japanse. Hij onderzoekt de mogelijkheden om Japanse kunst en cultuur te integreren in nieuwe muziek. Maurick is actief in ensembles (QuArt) en is begeleider van zangers en koren. Hiernaast heeft hij ervaring als orkestpianist, klavecinist en fortepianist. Aan de Master of Music (FHK Tilburg) studeert Maurick piano bij Jelena Bazova, Nicolas Callot en Keiko Shichijou en compositie bij Anthony Fiumara en Celia Swart. Hiernaast studeert Maurick bestuurskunde aan Tilburg University. Hij deed zijn onderzoeksstage bij de Raad voor Cultuur. In zijn vrije tijd houdt hij van Japans leren, wandelen en boeken lezen.

And Then I Saw

For electronics (speakers).

An ambient composition inspired on Ogata Gekkou’s woodblock print ”Mount Fuji Reflected in a Waterfall” using Ableton Live.
Be sure to listen with ear or headphones!

Enjoy listening to And Then I Saw!

Maurick Reuser, 16 November 2021.

Clouds, Now and Then (2021)

For soprano, violin and piano (and stopwatch).

Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) is a legendary Japanese poet who adored moon viewing. The so-called tsukimi is an ancient festival in honour of the autumn moon. This could be done at parties where dumplings (dango’s) were eaten and naturally also the moon was observed, preferably via a rippleless surface of a lake. The tsukimi is still a very popular tradition. Sometimes, the moon is not visible because of clouds or rain. Bashō wrote a poem (specifically, haiku) about it:

kumo wori wori           雲をりをり
hito wo yasumuru       人を休むる
tsukimi kana                月見哉

Which could be translated as:

clouds now and then
a moon viewing
giving me rest

The interpretation could be more profound than it initially seems, especially from Bashō’s point of view: Bashō, fascinated with moon viewing, is constantly with his head ‘in the clouds’. Due to clouds sometimes appearing before the moon, it is possible for him to return to himself. Otherwise, he could forget himself entirely.  

The piece Clouds, Now and Then is written for soprano, violin and piano and is inspired by the haiku above. The soprano recites the Japanese haiku in a melismatic way, accompanied by a sterile but colourful line played by the violin. It almost sounds like tangible moonlight. After each singing moment, the violin reacts in a virtuosic and calligraphical way. The piano connects to the poetic whole by growing several types of musical clouds. How will the moon viewing continue?

Enjoy playing Clouds, Now and Then! Purchase the score here!

Maurick Reuser, 19 October 2021

Bright Lights (2021)

Written for organ and soprano. Commissioned for Ruud Huijbregts.

Bright Lights is inspired by the story of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who as chaste and devoted young Christian woman was persecuted and put to death under the reign of Roman emperor Maxentius (306-312). She was exposed to numerous horrors, including imprisonment, starvation and torture. Remarkably, when sentenced to death by a spiked breaking wheel, the awful device shattered upon her touch. As last resort, she was to be beheaded. Upon execution, a milk-like substance flowed from her neck. St. Catherine is remember as a martyr ever since.

Sharp contrasts characterize Bright Lights. Transitoriness is put against the everlasting, conflict against peace, grief against joy. The incredible main organ of the St. Cathirine church is the perfect medium to express all these extremities to the fullest. After a quiet, heavenly and innocent start, conflict kicks in. Constantly interrupted by mourning but hopeful episodes, Catherine witnesses the various horrors. After her decapitation, a bright musical light appears, whereafter the music calms down, as if starting from the beginning again. A voice from high and far appears, bringing a short but glorious message about Catherine. The apotheosis is completed.

Enjoy playing Bright Lights! Purchase the score here.

Maurick Reuser, 27 September 2021

Nominated for the Tera de Marez Oyens Prize 2021

Kobucha has been nominated for the Tera de Marez Oyens Prize 2021. This means that I will perform Kobucha at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2021.


Amba Klapwijk – The very lightweight thread floats in the moving air
Maurick Reuser – Kobucha
Nuno Lobo – Necrotic Birds
Soheil Shayesteh – žhâ
Remy Alexander – nieuw stuk

Soheil Shayesteh won!

Read more about Tera de Marez Oyens here (article by Thea Derks).

Autumn Colours (2021)

For clarinet, cello and piano (and stopwatch).

Autumn Colours is a trio for clarinet, cello and piano telling an interlaced story. On the one hand, this piece is inspired by the music and life of German composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) and on the other hand, this piece is inspired by the woodblock prints by Japanese painter Ogata Gekkou (1859-1920). Both artists are formal contemporaries who yet lived in completely different worlds. Now they finally meet in a single (musical) work of art. 

In the first half of 2021, I was involved in a mini festival organized by the Chimaera Trio: Meervoudig Mahler (‘’Multiple Mahler’’). To this festival, a project was connected in which a few composers got assigned to write a work related to Mahler. While this was in the back of my mind, on 13th July I visited the Sieboldhuis in Leiden, which is an incredible museum dedicated to Japan. It held an exhibition about the Meiji Art of Ogata Gekkou. His prints made such a big impression on me that I purchased the art catalogue and took it with me on my summer travels. In the catalogue, I often revisited the 1896 print Autumn Colours at Takinogawa. This particular triptych not only inspired me to create the blueprint for a musical image as now presented in the score before you, but especially inspired me to design everything in triptych-like structures. One could say there are up to three triptychs in this work.

The first one is Ogata’s literal triptych: Autumn Colours at Takinogawa. Woodblock printing is a technical story, but what especially interests me is that all prints are reproducible and can be subject to reissuing. The result is that more than one copy of Autumn Colours at Takinogawa exists and that each copy differs in colouring. That’s absolutely wonderful! Using independent instrumental parts with buffered timecodes, the musical structuring of Autumn Colours is similar to the woodblock printing process, seeing that in each performance the performer ‘’prints’’ a separate layer of music which complements with the other layers into a single audible image. The second triptych is about Mahler, as his life could be divided into three periods: early, middle and late. Autumn Colours incorporates a melody or motive from each period and distributes them over the three instruments. Using three musical instruments is in itself already a triptych reference. The careful listener/reader could possibly discover another ‘’secret’’ triptych in the piece.

Enjoy playing Autumn Colours! Purchase the music here!

Maurick Reuser, 2 September 2021

Ugetsu (2021)

For bass clarinet, double bass, accordion and percussion (and stopwatch).

Early April 2021 I got a phone call: ‘’Would you like to write for the contemporary music ensemble But What About, which consists of accordion, double bass, clarinet and percussion?’’ Thus I participated in the Gaudeamus Summer School.

In the course of the few months after, gradually an idea developed. Ugetsu finds its origins in a story about Buddhist monk-poet Saigyou, as written by D.T. Suzuki. Saigyou was on one of his travels and one day needed a place to stay for the night. He met an elderly couple who could, hesitantly, only offer him a leaking hut. It turned out that the couple was in a doubt whether to fix the roof or not. The old lady loved the moonlight coming inside, so the hut was left roofless, but the old gentleman enjoyed listening to the rain beating against the roof, which would only be possible after repair. Furthermore, it was already Autumn, which is the finest moon season but also offers enjoyable autumnal showers. Despite the dilemma, Saigyou was allowed to enter if he could elaborate on a few lines suggested by the couple. Hence the following poem came into existence:

Is the moonlight to leak?
Are the showers to patter?
Our thoughts are divided,
And this humble hut –
To be thatched, or not to be thatched?

Saigyou (Suzuki, 1959, p. 340)

While staying the night, Saigyou beheld the moonlight illuminating his surroundings, even shedding its light inside the hut. He also thought he heard the showers coming, but it was the autumn wind making the dead leaves beat against the house. ’It is a shower of falling leaves in the moonlight.’’  The following poem could express this magical experience:

When the dead leaves are falling thick,
As I sit quietly at night in my room,
Difficult it is to judge,
Whether it is showering,
Or whether it is not showering.

Minamoto no Yorizane (Suzuki, 1959, p. 341)

Enjoy playing Ugetsu!

Maurick Reuser, 6 August 2021


For piano solo.

Sencha is a work for piano solo written in 2021, in a period when I was diving into Japanese art and culture, especially aesthetics and the influences of Zen-Buddhism. The piece is a successor to the earlier tea piece called Kobucha. Both types of teas are distinctly different, but there are many similarities too. With green tea, it’s common practise to brew multiple cups from the same portion of leaves. I could enjoy the first cup, the strongest, but also the last cup, the mildest. To me, the green tea captures both sides, which is only possible if you use the same leaves for the first and last cup.


For piano solo. Nominated for the Tera de Marez Oyens Award 2021.

Kobucha is a work for piano solo written in 2020, in a period when I was diving into Japanese art and culture, especially aesthetics and the influences of Zen-Buddhism. In addition, I was taking Japanese lessons from a native speaker. In one of those lessons, my teacher gave me a Japanese kelp tea to drink, Kobucha.

Drinking this tea made a deep impression on me. I couldn’t say that the tea was delicious in the way people commonly call foods and beverages delicious – that is the antonym of tasteless. It wasn’t sweet at all and it wasn’t easy to drink. Each sip was a salty hurdle! However, the direct, impulsive and authentic taste was intense, even mind-blowing. In fact, I did like the tea. It was a pleasing experience. Not because of its questioned deliciousness, but because the tea was itself, its authentic self. Taking into account the tea’s pungent aroma, I was forced to do nothing but drinking this tea, swallowing one drop at the time.

Enjoy playing Kobucha! Purchase the score here.

Maurick Reuser, 7 June 2021

Hoshi no kage ni (2021)

For guitar solo. 3rd prize in II International Competition among composers

The name of this guitar work, Hoshi no kage ni (星の影に /In the Shadow of the Stars) is Japanese, but tricky to translate into English, because kage can be translated in multiple ways. It could mean shadow/silhouette, reflection (in water) or even light (of stars or the moon). This means that the title of this work could translated to In the Shadow of the Stars or In the Reflection of a Star or even In the Light of Stars. Personally, as English translation of the title, I prefer In the Shadow of the Stars. However, it does not really matter how you translate it when studying or performing this piece. Whatever your preference is or what inspires you the most for the ultimate guitaristic cause, in the end it matters it matters than you include all these meanings into one title: Hoshi no kage ni.

As composer, I am enchanted by the coming together of Western and Eastern cultures. While there are plenty similarities between East and West, there are striking differences too. While Western thinking is characterized by rationalizing, analysing and classifying, Eastern thinking (by which I specifically mean Japanese Zen Buddhism) is characterized by quite the opposite: engagement in all practical daily experiences in the most simple form. In short, Zen strives to enlightenment, or ultimate freedom of the mind. Without intellectually conceptualizing and rationalizing, things and reality can become itself instead of abstractions, concepts, categories or representations. Things are not problematized, things are not discriminated, things are not dualized. If things are themselves and not excluded, the possibilities are endless. Bluntly speaking, Western thinking tends towards exclusion, while Eastern tends towards inclusion.

Hoshi no kage ni strives to include both worlds of thought while discovering the acoustic possibilities and expressions of one of the most gracious and nuanced instruments known.

Enjoy playing Hoshi no kage ni!

Maurick Reuser, 22 February 2021

Third prize for Memory Lane!

Memory Lane (2021) has been awarded the third prize at the Prinses Christina Composing Competition! The prize entails tickets to November Music 2021 and the Trio Chimaera Prize. The latter means that I can write a piece for Trio Chimaera, which they will perform, under guidance of Dutch composer Anne-Maartje Lemereis.

Read in Brabants Dagblad.
Read in News from Tilburg University.

The piece for the Trio Chimaera Prize has become Autumn Colours as part of their Mahler festival!

Jonge componist Maurick Reuser uit Tilburg wint derde prijs op Prinses Christina Concours

TILBURG – De 22-jarige Maurick Reuser uit Tilburg heeft zaterdagavond de derde prijs van het prestigieuze Prinses Christina Compositie Concours gewonnen. Voor de online finale had hij zijn Memory Lane (2020) ingestuurd. Het werk werd in oktober uitgevoerd en opgenomen door Trio Chimaera.

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