About my compositions

In addition to my own projects (you can hear them elsewhere on this site), I also compose for other groups and projects. Listen at the bottom of this page for instance to scenes from the opera ‘Roodhapje’ (Little red riding hood), my string trio ‘Cells’ and ‘Gagarin knows’ for bigband.

When I was about 25, I discovered Turkish folk music. This was an important moment in my musical development: it clarified a special love I had always had for modal music (with melodies based on modal scales, rather than on harmonic movements). The same modal approach I already loved in medieval music, and for instance modal jazz of the ’60. This sense of melody and rhythm plays an important part in my work.

But I mix this approach with all the opposites you can think of! My first love jazz of course, but also techniques of contemporary composed music, improvisation and rock…  Thus I try to develop something that, rather than falling into a clear category, takes you to another world of its own, where  adventure and emotional intensity go hand in hand.

I hope you enjoy the music!


The more you see, the less you speak

This is a composition I wrote as an assignment for the Oriental landscapes Festival for New European Ensemble with as special guest Syrian/American soprano Dima Orsho in 2017. The arab lyrics are by Al-Niffari, a 10th century mystic, who in fact was not too fond of words. Thus the phrase for which he is perhaps most known: ‘The more you see, the less you speak’.

Al Niffari believed that the mystic voyage kept you in certain stages for a while. In my piece, the listener travels through seven stages, starting with bitonality, going to various stages of  even three tonalities/modalities, finally ending in a unisono melody in the arab maqam of Bayati, touching on silence.

The recording has been made live at the Bimhuis Amsterdam in june 2017.




60 min youth opera performed by Holland Opera, december 2015. Leonie van de Wal (Roodkapje), Madieke Marjon (Mother/Grandmother), Niek van Idelenburg (Wolf), children’s choir, Jurgen Burdorf (guitar), Christiaan Saris (vibrafone, marimba, glockenspiel, drums)

NRC **** ‘De eclectische muziek van Steven Kamperman rockt stevig maar bezit ook mooie, raadselachtige cantilenes’

Volkskrant **** ‘De voorstelling is allerminst kinderachtig (…) De composities van Steven Kamperman klinken behoorlijk grimmig’

Theaterkrant **** ‘Eenzelfde gelaagdheid vinden we ook terug in de muziek van Steven Kamperman. Die schiet van klassiek (de moeder) naar rock (Roodkapje) en blues (de wolf), maar voegt daar ‘rare’ maatsoorten en toonladders aan toe. Het is uiterst effectief, ook voor kinderen. Is een aria van de wolf melodisch, dan volgt meteen een dissonant akkoord als de wolf zich voor de zoveelste maal verspreekt en Roodkapje Roodhapje noemt.’

Look here for a trailer


From scene 1 – Word has it that the Wolf is around; Roodkapje and Mother panic; aria of Mother regretting that her daughter grows up too fast.


From scene 2 – Wolf talks to his imagined friend ‘Waterwolf’ in the mirroring lake; Wolf meets Roodkapje


From scene 3 – Wolf is angry and sad because his friend ‘Waterwolf’ never actually joins him to go back North.


From scene 5 – the escaped Grandmother and Roodkapje (pretending to be sisters of Waterwolf) have lured Wolf back to the lake again, to make him visit Waterwolf’s family beneath the water – and make him drown with his heavy bag in which he supposes Roodkapje and Grandmother still are.


Cells, String Trio in three parts, 20 min, 2014

Live recording, premiere 16th of december 2015 by Prisma Trio at Splendor Amsterdam.

‘Cells’ is the 20 min sequel of the string trio ‘DNA’. In Cells, a tiny flexible melodic cell of five notes is born and starts to develop into different forms and configurations, synthesizing organically in part 3.

Gagarin knows (the blues is everywhere)

Commissioned by Fonds Scheppende Toonkunst for Bigband Tetzepi, performed live at the Bimhuis, EBU Jazznight december 2005