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Mayke Nas

Douze Mains

work 2011 (10 min)

1. Doc, it’s only a scratch – part 1
2. What have you done?
3. Take it easy
4. Doc, it’s only a scratch – part 2
5. Oh yeah

Two great joys in my life are the simple do-it-yourself fun of playing quatre-mains (especially with my grandfather) and letting myself be surprised again and again by one of the most creative, quirky and contagious music of the twentieth century: The White Album by the Beatles. This is my ode to both of them. Six players are placed around the grand piano like surgeons around the operating table. The lid of the piano has been taken off. With basic household tools the musicians operate on the inside of the instrument. The patient responds to the treatment moaning, giggling and groaning.

  • 20 Nov 2008 (by Ensemble Continuum)


  • 3 Nov 2018, sound Festival, Aberdeen (UK)

Mayke Nas

Mayke Nas studied piano and composition. She received commissions from amongst others Ensemble Modern (DE), Ragazze Kwartet, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Eighth Blackbird (USA), Liza Ferschtman, Slagwerk Den Haag, Nederlands Studenten Orkest, Koninklijk Concertgebouw Orkest, BlIndman (BE), Nieuw Ensemble, Hexnut, Calefax, Neue Vocal Solisten Stuttgart (DE), Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Ensemble Continuum (CA), ASKO en Schönberg Ensemble.

For her piece (w)here, written for the Asko Ensemble and co-commissioned by Festival November Music & Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst, she was awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Price of Encouragement 2003. For La Chocolatière Brûlée – written for the Nieuw Ensemble – she received the Anjer Muziekprijs 2005. Down the Rabbit-Hole, written for the Royal Concertgebouworchestra was awarded the Kees van Baarenprijs 2015.

In 2005 she adapted I Delayed People’s Flights By Walking Slowly In Narrow Hallways for four players, four chairs and four amplified chalkboards with live-electronics from Peter Handke’s play ‘Self-Accusation’ for Percussion Group The Hague in collaboration with Wouter Snoei. In 2006, she revived the concept of audience-participation in the fluxus-inspired performance-piece Anyone can do it (for six completely unprepared players, not necessarily gifted with any musical talent). Between 2008 en 2011 she extensively explored the intestines of the grand piano in Douze Mains. In 2014 she turned pianist Ralph van Raat into an accomplished puppeteer in Behind the Scenes IV: El Angel Exterminador. And as provisional pinnacle she hid a whole orchestra (The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra / Ed Spanjaard) on stage in Unraveled during the Cello Biënnale 2016.

For the 2011–2012 season Mayke Nas was awarded an artist-in-residence fellowship in Berlin by the DAAD. From 2016 to 2018 Mayke Nas is Composer Laureate of the Netherlands.

Mayke Nas, photo Robin du Puy

Works for Ensemble Klang