Dutch composer Coen Schenk began playing a musical instrument at the age of nine and composing at the age of thirteen. After first completing an education in interior design, he turned to music and studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (Bachelor) with Martijn Padding, Gilius van Bergeijk and Roderik de Man and at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (Master) with Ole Lützow-Holm and Ming Tsao.
Schenk’s work includes compositions for orchestra, ensemble, chamber music - such as string trio, wind quintet and percussion - and piano solo. He collaborated with various ensembles and musicians including Modelo62, De Ereprijs, Ensemble för Ny Musik and Ysaÿe Trio. With pianists Viktor Yuandong Mattsson and Eke Simons he has a long-term collaboration. Simons gave the premieres of Twee Bagatellen and the piece Recital #1, specially written for her. Mattsson premiered Koraal & Boogie and Three pieces from Schetsen - the second piece was on the program of the pianist’s 2016 concert tour through Brittany, France. Schenk was selected to participate in the 250 Pieces for Beethoven project in Bonn, Germany. His piano piece Dankgesang was recorded in 2019 by Susanne Kessel and published by Musica Ferrum in London. New work for piano quartet was performed by musicians of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in 2021; in that same year, the premiere of his piano sonata, by pianist Tobias Borsboom, was broadcasted on the Dutch national radio.
Schenk’s music is characterized by a strong sense of form and historical awareness. For him, music is a language with the ability to express ideas and thoughts: “Whereas words in spoken language have a literal meaning, in music - through noise and sound - communication is primarily suggestive. But instead of being a weakness, that is precisely music’s strength. This makes it a language of feeling par excellence, with the ability to touch people directly and take them to other worlds”.
In addition of being a composer, Schenk is active as a producer of concerts and a publisher of music. He also arranged music by Wagner, Mussorgsky and Chopin for various musicians and ensembles.
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