Composer, musician and singer Christel Veraart finds the core of her inspiration in the many cultures she has experienced while living and working in various parts of the world. Her music has featured internationally in film, dance and stage productions, and was broadcast nationally and internationally. Her latest album Pleiades was awarded with the 2021 Best Ambient Album of the Year. Hired by Google to write the music for one of their Google Doodles, Christel’s compositions range from solo and small ensemble to large orchestra, drawing on a wide variety of musical and cultural influences and include sound design as well. Her music is described as ambient, meditative, avant-garde classical.
Christel trained in classical piano and voice, but it was only when she left Europe to explore South America that she was able to find her own voice. She grew up in the Netherlands but started roaming the world at an early age. Christel lived in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, moved to the US in 2001, where she lived in California, Hawaii and Alaska. In 2018, she moved to Indonesia and Australia before returning to the US in 2019. Each place she has lived has given her a wealth of material for her music, and as a speaker of multiple languages, she is grateful for how each new language has provided her with an entirely new sound vocabulary in which to express herself.
The first two albums Christel released were classical ones. Terra Incognita features songs from Argentina and Brazil, and Musica Sacra, favorite sacred arias. Inner Landscapes, her first album of original compositions, is based on poetry written while living in Europe, but completed after moving to California. From 2010-2017 Christel was based in Alaska where she composed a series of orchestral pieces inspired by the Arctic landscape, ultimately recorded in her album Polar Suite. This work was supported by grants from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Arctic Aquarelles, a meditative piano solo album that captures the icy landscapes of the North, and the traditional Christmas album A World of Christmas were also completed in those years. In 2017 she was awarded the Connie Boochever Fellowship in Musical Composition by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation. Lotus Dreams, released in 2019, was completed during a 12-month sojourn in Indonesia, and explores both eastern and western musical elements. The instrumental Christmas album The Joy of Christmas Classics was commissioned and completed shortly after she returned from Asia. Pleiades, her tenth album, was completed in 2020 in Sedona, Arizona. In 2021 she collaborated with German film-maker Sebastian Jobst and composed the music for the short film Dreaming of Whales that premiered at Sedona’s ILLUMINATE Film Festival. Her latest project Nostalgia, three dances reflective of Argentina, is currently in the last stages of being released.
Christel’s influences are eclectic and reflect a wide variety of musical styles. From ambient to latin, from classical to jazz, from minimal to world music. To list of all of those who have influenced her, and still do, would be difficult, but to name a few: Lisa Gerrard, Brian Eno, Max Richter, David Darling, John Luther Adams, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Alberto Ginastera, Heitor Villa Lobos, Mercedes Sosa, J.S Bach, Gustav Mahler, Norma Winstone, Diana Krall, Elina Duni, Jan Garbarek, Philip Glass, Arvo Part, Ludivico Einaudi, Henryk Gorecki, Anja Lechner & Vassilis Tsabropoulos, GI Gurdjief, Thomas de Hartmann, Sainkho Namtchylak, Sambasunda, Anouar Brahem, Amina Alaoui, Djivan Gasparyan, Kinan Azmeh, Sussan Deyhim, Armand Amar.
Increasingly she is drawn to space music, a sub-genre of ambient music that focuses on texture rather than formal compositional schemes. Her album Lotus Dreams first hinted towards that style, and Pleiades, her tenth album to date, is a continuation in that direction. Various other places in the world continue to call at different times so what to expect next is still very much up to the stars…
To name a few of her projects:
- Google Doodle, Music and Sound Design for this Doodle that aired on December 6, 2021
- Dreaming of Whales, Collaboration with German film maker Sebastian Jobst, this short film premiered at the 2021 ILLUMINATE Film Festival in Sedona.
- Award winning nature documentary, The Return of the Salmon, a poetic pairing of music and imagery to tell the story of the salmon’s final journey to Alaska’s vast wilderness.
- The Child Behind the Eyes, by Israeli playwright Nava Semel. A collaboration with Alaskan based director Vivian Melde and actress Nava Sarracino.
- frágil (des)conforto – Collaboration with Brazilian based dance duo and choreographers Marina Salgado and Bruna Petito, this dance production toured São Paulo and surrounding between 2013-2015.
In all my years of producing music, I have never seen a more dedicated and talented artist than Christel Veraart. She puts her heart into everything she writes, and her vulnerability touches my soul. Her songs stay with me for days after listening, like the memory of a good friend I can revisit over and over again.Arthur Payson, Music Producer, Fox Television, Beverly Hills
Work is incredibly evocative & well-suited for film and dance.Rasmuson Foundation, Anchorage