In Memoriam Theo Verbey (1959-2019)

Photo by Simon van Boxtel

Published on

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of composer Theo Verbey on 13 October. As a teacher of instrumentation, both in the classical and jazz departments of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, he has inspired countless composers and arrangers of younger generations. He has also aroused in many performing musicians an interest in instrumentation and arranging.

Theo was a beloved composer. His music affects listeners through an original approach to sound and structure and is challenging for both individual musicians and ensembles. Theo's work has been performed by all Dutch and many foreign orchestras and he has been a guest at leading festivals around the world. He received composition commissions from various famous musicians, including harpist Godelieve Schrama, and orchestras and ensembles such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet New York and the Brodsky Quartet. He also frequently collaborated with choreographer Regina van Berkel.

Theo was also a great orchestrator: his instrumentation of Alban Berg's Sonata no. 1 gained worldwide fame. In 2010, former Queen Beatrix selected his completion of Stravinsky's 1919 version of Les noces to be performed as part of the annual Queen's Day concert.

Theo felt a great responsibility towards educating young musicians. They were fascinated by his encyclopedic knowledge of the historical development of instrumentation and his rich practical experience in working with musicians at the highest level. He has helped many of them to deepen their relationship with their own repertoire. We are very grateful to him for this. We will miss him very much and we wish his family, friends, colleagues and students much strength in dealing with this loss.

On behalf of the Management
Janneke van der Wijk, Director