In May 2019, nearing the end of his gap year, Teun started work one of his biggest musical projects so far: a composition for orchestra. The wind orchestra he already played in was very welcoming to receive a composition from him, so he spent the next three to four months composing and arranging. In February 2020, during the ensemble's largest yearly performance, it was finally time to present Bellerophon to the world. The event reached multiple newspapers, including AD, De Gelderlander and Klankwijzer. The piece was published for other orchestras to play by AM Music.
Bellerophon is a cinematic, semi-programmatic piece, but with clear traces of Teun's usual inspirations from the pop and jazz world. It follows the tragic story of the Greek hero who, in exile for accidentally killing his own brother, killed the monstrous Chimaera while flying on the back of the winged horse Pegasus.
Teun Cornelis Buwalda (Utrecht, 2000), grew up in the small town of Culemborg, where his parents soon sent him to music lessons. Rather than following a traditional music education, Teun started playing the West African djembe as well as piano at the age of six. Before going to middle school, he had already sung in multiple youth choirs and performed with bands. When he was twelve, Teun went to O.R.S. Lek en Linge, a school praised for its focus on culture. In his six years there, he assembled a network of anyone he could find who could play an instrument, which he turned to each year to perform at the school’s yearly Culture Festival. Meanwhile he conducted musicals, arranged for his a capella group and dozens of bands, and participated in the composing contest set out each year by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Teun could be found on his school’s auditorium stage so much that his senior quote was easy to find: “I am the Culture Festival.” During his final year at high school, he followed a preparatory year for Composition at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Teun describes his own work as a middle ground between easy listening and complex jazz. A sucker for music theory, he has a sense for a particular, innovative kind of rhythm and complex harmonies unbound to a specific scale, but at the same time he wants his music to be aesthetically pleasing; everyone should be able to enjoy it. Teun doesn’t consider himself an instrumentalist, even though he sings and plays the piano and trombone in many different ensembles. Furthermore he composes, arranges, coaches and conducts – whatever is necessary for the project he’s currently working on.
Teun can always be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org