Edward Top is a composer whose music is characterised by a pluriform style, which expresses both the balance and struggle between different musical traditions and identities. Born in The Netherlands in 1972 Top has lived and worked in London since 2003. He has received commissions of the Schoenberg Ensemble, Holland Symfonia, Calefax and the Birmingham Conservatoire, and his works are performed by Standing Wave Vancouver, Tokyo Sinfonietta, San Diego New Music, the Doelen String Quartet and the Dutch Radio Kamer Filharmonie. Having received several prizes for his compositions, recently he was nominated for best work of 2008 in The Netherlands during the Toonzetters competition for aliquid stat pro aliquo, which was performed live on the Dutch national radio by Vocaal LAB Nederland.
Top studied violin at the Rotterdam Conservatoire, composition with Peter-Jan Wagemans and musicology at King’s College London.
‘My musical thinking centres on rationalizing the ‘Primordial Unity’. In my work, often the conflict between reason and that which derives from the lizard brain finds a state of balance in musical schizophrenia where its two counter-poles madness and blankness occur simultaneously or in succession. Counter-poles amplifying each other is key in all of my compositions, but is most clearly exercised in the early works The Overwhelming Blankness of the Ultimate Meaninglessness of Tragedy, String Quartet #1 and #2, ... and he wept bitterly, and in the recent Cartesian Theatre, Aliquid stat pro aliquo and A Storm is Blowing from Utopia.
Music has the power to induce the listener into a state of revelry that transcends rational understanding. Whilst using it to its utmost strength, at the same time I feel the need to musically comment on this state - or amplify it, really - by inserting introverted fields of sustained sound or blank, on silence-verging stasis. It is the exaggeration of contrast that creates captivating art.’