Merlijn Twaalfhoven (1976) is an entrepreneurial composer and theater maker. In unusual locations, often in conflict zones, he involves the local population in large and innovative projects.
As a composer, Merlijn is inspired by music from distant regions and times long ago. When designing a concert, he often looks for inexperienced participants from the local area to work with professionals. These unusual projects include a wide audience in an immersive experience engaging all of the senses. In special places such as shipyards, factories, churches and in halls such as Paradiso, classical musicians work together with a brass band, DJs and children’s choirs.
He often works in places where major social differences lead to tensions or conflicts. In divided Cyprus, for example, he brought together 400 Turkish and Greek musicians in a concert from rooftops on both sides of the buffer zone. He also organized a festival in a Slovak romany ghetto and composed a piece of music that echoed over the separation wall in Palestinian Occupied Territories. In the Old City of Jerusalem he created an underground festival in which the cultural diversity of the different population groups could be experienced in spite of an Israeli ban. As a ‘PopArt’ lecturer at ArtEZ art college, he researched how artists can reach new audiences without compromising their artistic ideas.