Steven Kamperman

Composer, clarinet player, and drummer Steven Kamperman has a taste for musical adventure that has brought him into many different musical surroundings. Although extremely versatile, Kamperman’s work always displays a distinct personality, guaranteeing a subtle balance between surprise and heartfelt inspiration. Famous Dutch composer Theo Loevendie stated: “Steven Kamperman has the rare ability to make every style of music sound like his own.”

Improvised music

After an initial start as a jazz improviser, a special love for modal folk music led him in 2002 to a decade-lasting and successful collaboration with Turkish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Behsat Üvez, in their mutual project Baraná (Baraná & Co, Baraná Trio, Elektro Shaman, Şarap / Wine, Xenopolis with Ceylan Ertem). Subsequently, from 2013 to 2018, he performed with his Horizon Trio, with Turkish vocalist Sanem Kalfa and Rumanian violinist/guitarist George Dumitriu.

With a definite more European flavor, Steven Kamperman got together in a spectacular drone duo with the French hurdy-gurdy wizard Valentin Clastrier. From 2013 on, Kamperman has co-led HOT Het Orgel Trio with bass player Dion Nijland and organist Berry van Berkum, playing contemporary jazz in churches.

In 2021, Kamperman launched City Maps, a musical trip through an imaginary city (with Bart Maris, Jorrit Westerhof, Dion Nijland, and live visuals by Henrietta Müller).


Since 2013, Steven Kamperman has been composing vocal and instrumental classical works, such as the prizewinning Roodhapje (YAMA 2016 Best Opera), his much-acclaimed Hildegard Opera (Wynanda Zeevaarder, Marc Pantus and Wishful Singing), and a new score for Fritz Lang’s 1921 silent movie Der müde Tod (Wishful Singing, online via their site).

Added facts

Born in 1970, Steven Kamperman started playing clarinet at the age of nine.

In 1991 he won second prize at the Dutch Middelsee Jazz concours with Trio Hip.

In 1998 he was invited to make the first Dutch Young VIP-tour with his group
1 Step 7 Seas, performing at several major Dutch festivals and jazz clubs, including North Sea Jazz Festival and SJU/Vredenburg Jazz Festival, with special guest Dominique Pifarély on violin.

Since 1998, as a result of his interest in ethnic folk music, Kamperman has performed with musicians of many ethnic backgrounds in the Global Village Orchestra, his own project M.O.T (African groove improvisation), Compasión, the succesful Serbian brassband Carlama Orkestar, and several other ensembles. He also performed as a regular member of several modern improvisation ensembles, including Bigtet Tetzepi and Paul Pallesen’s Bite the Gnatze.

In 2002, he co-founded the Turkish-Dutch World Jazz ensemble Baraná with singer Behsat Üvez , as a result of a successful composition and performance commissioned by Music Meeting Nijmegen. This first Baraná-concert was broadcast by Dutch radio and TV and later issued on CD as well. Subsequently, Baraná conceived of several well-received projects: Ileriye anilar (2006, Baraná & Co), Gül ve Bülbül (2008, Baraná Trio), Modes et Maqams (2009, Baraná Trio with Valentin Clastrier & Carlo Rizzo), Sarap (2010, Baraná Quintet), and Xenopolis (2011, with Ceylan Ertem). Since 2009, due to its outstanding results, Baraná has been receiving support from the Dutch Fund for Performing Arts.

In 2008, newspaper De Pers named three of Steven’s recordings on position 1, 2, and 3 on a list of best recent Dutch crossover productions. From 2009 on, Steven has been receiving several 5 star reviews  from leading Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (Baraná Modes et Maqams 2009, Compasión 2010, Baraná Xenopolis 2011).

Since 2011, Kamperman has also been performing in a duo with the French hurdy-gurdy virtuoso Valentin Clastrier, and with his acoustic quartet Carrousel (with pianist Jeroen van Vliet, bassist Meinrad Kneer and drummer Andreas Pichler).

In 2016, Kamperman’s opera Roodhapje – performed by Holland Opera – won the global YAMAward 2016 for best opera (Youth Audience Music Award).

Steven Kamperman performed at numerous festivals all over the world, including Istanbul, Mexico City, Beirut, Cairo, Alexandria, Damascus, Moscow, Besançon, Dijon, Novosibirsk, Lipetsk, Amman, Vienna, Ruhrgebiet, Tirana, Varna, Manchester, Berlin, Györ, and Copenhagen. He taught master classes in Modal Improvisation at the Conservatory of Utrecht and the Conservatory of Damascus.