opensound: writing for electric guitar with Pete Harden


Free online workshop open to all composers of any level.

Pete Harden leads a session on writing for electric guitar, with a focus on the usage of electric guitar in contemporary music settings, principally chamber music ensemble settings.

Approx. 40 min talk with a Q&A session at the end. Please note that although we try to wrap-up opensound sessions by 7pm, they often run over by 5-10 mins.

Pete Harden (1979, UK) is a composer, curator and electric guitarist whose music has been called “intriguing”, “fierce, exciting” as well as conjuring “a subtle three-dimensional landscape” (De Volkskrant). In 2003, having completed composition studies with Louis Andriessen, Gilius van Bergeijk and Richard Ayres at the Royal Conservatoire (The Hague) he was a founding member of Ensemble Klang, for whom he is electric guitarist and artistic director.

As a composer his work seeks out new forms and structures, marrying conceptually rigorous content with rich sonic environments, frequently combining chamber music settings with electronics and other media. His music can be heard throughout the Netherlands at festivals and venues such as Rewire (The Hague), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), de Doelen (Rotterdam), Minimal Music Festival (Amsterdam), Festival Dag in de Branding (The Hague) and Gaudeamus (Utrecht). His music is also played internationally, including in New York, Baltimore, Massachusetts, Paris, Innsbruck, Orléans, Nancy and beyond. A recent evening of his work at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK) was hailed as: “rapturously gorgeous, suffused with warm radiance and strewn with sporadic staccato piano notes, saxophone smears, and guitar stings that somehow gelled into a warm, shimmering ambient soup articulating the purest inner ecstasy. […] a beautiful, brilliant highlight” (

He has had works commissioned by Ballet de Lorraine (France), Bang on a Can All-Stars (America), Slagwerk Den Haag, asko|Schönberg ensemble, Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, Noorbotten NEO (Sweden), Maud le Pladec (Centre Choréographique National d’Orléans, France), Orkest de Ereprijs, and the Orgelpark (Amsterdam). In June 2016 a portrait album of his works Precious Metals was released on Ensemble Klang Records, “the ensemble adds a new pearl to an ever-growing chain of recordings” wrote His work Solace & Shimmer has been released on BIS Records, and a collaboration with DJ Chloé Thévenin can be heard on Lumière Noire Records. 

In recent years he has focused on collaborations and interdisciplinary work. In 2016 he started Preservation, a series of personal compositions based on butterflies. In 2017-18 he performed in Ivo van Hove’s production Network at the National Theatre (London). A series of works with French choreographer Maud le Pladec have included Concrete, Moto-cross and the production 27 Perspectives for which he wrote the music. The latter production continues to tour Europe following its premiere in Montpellier Danse in 2018. It was filmed and broadcast on French national television, and received positive reviews across international media, with particular praise for its music in El Paìs (Spain) and Libération (France). In 2019 and 2020 music for a new production with Maud le Pladec was commissioned by Ballet de Lorraine. The music for Static Shot was composed together with Chloé Thévenin, and the production attracted thousands of visitors with performances in Nancy, Orléans and Paris. In 2021-22 he worked on the creation of the opera I Have Missed You Forever at the Dutch National Opera.

Frequent and ongoing collaborators include the choreographer Maud le Pladec, musician Saskia Lankhoorn (Avenue Azure), and fellow composer Oscar Bettison (Arco). With the writer Pauline Peyrade he created the work M.M. that combines live music and pre-recorded film: via the life of Marilyn Monroe the work explores how we create different layers of characters in our own one story. 

How to join:

Click BOOK on the right hand side to register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.