Hans Sampath Blok is a Dutch-Norwegian composer, conductor and performer.
With his Sri Lankan roots and interest for nature and human rights, Hans lets anthropology, biology and history be the key sources of inspiration for his artistic productions.
Hans Sampath Blok studied composition, conducting and trumpet at the conservatories of Rotterdam, The Hague, Trondheim, and Oslo. His compositions have been performed by well-established ensembles and orchestras, such as the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Swedish Opera Orchestra, the Dutch Wind Ensemble, and the Asko Schoenberg Ensemble.
Hans conducts contemporary music ensembles in Norway and has performed with early music ensembles like the Nordic Baroque Orchestra. He is the director and founder of The Heritage Project and the author of the music method BrassClass.
Hans Sampath Blok was born in Sri Lanka in 1990. Soon after his birth he was adopted to the Netherlands where he grew up in Kapelle. Hans started playing trumpet at the age of nine and quickly found himself writing small compositions. As a child Hans always expressed interest in his adoption and the meaning of culture and identity. He revisited his country of birth in 2003 where he reconnected with his Sri Lankan family. Inspired by this journey he composed “A Taste of Paradise” which won the Young Composers Composition by the Dutch Wind Ensemble in 2007. Hans enrolled at the Conservatory of Rotterdam the following year.
Hans attended multiple study programs including composition, conducting, trumpet and other brass instruments. Simultaneously he explored nearly 50 countries to get a better understanding about culture and history. He also volunteered in post warzones to aid refugees and to experience the effects of social injustice and human rights violations.
The interest in art, anthropology, and the environment, resulted into the founding of The Heritage Project. This community art concept stimulates children to use their cultural and environmental heritage to create a music-theatre performance. Since its startup in Sri Lanka in 2012, Hans has directed the project in nine different countries, working with indigenous people and refugees.
Hans moved to Norway in 2015 where he finished his master’s in composition and obtained Norwegian citizenship. His compositions are commissioned and performed by orchestras and ensembles throughout Europe. He conducts several contemporary music ensembles in Norway, and has been guest conductor in Ecuador, Latvia and Malaysia.
As performer Hans is mostly active in the early music and free improvisation scene. Beside modern trumpet, he also plays natural trumpet, trombone, horn, euphonium, cornetto and recorder. Hans has given masterclasses in brass playing and improvisation at the festival of Latvian Classical Music for six years, with similar programs in Ecuador and Malaysia. He also designed and developed the comprehensive music method “BrassClass” which is published for nearly all brass instruments in Norway and the Netherlands.
Hans is currently living in Elverum where he pursues artistic ways to highlight human rights and the environment in his productions.
Institutions: CODARTS Rotterdam, The Royal Conservatory of The Hague, NTNU Trondheim, Norwegian Academy of Music
Composition: Klaas de Vries, Hans Koolmees, Robin de Raaff, Rene Uijlenhoet, Jan Peter Wagemans, Ståle Kleiberg
Trumpet: Ad van Zon, Andre Heuvelman, Reidar Bye, Hans Petter Stangnes
Natural Trumpet: Susan Williams, Hans Petter Stangnes
Trombone: Alexander Verbeek
Euphonium: Hendrik Jan Renes
French Horn: Harry Stens & Marije Korenromp
Conducting: Hans Leenderts, Carlo Balemans, Sigmund Thorp
- Hans holds a degree in European Bird Identification and is a member of Birdlife Norway.
- Hans lives on an organic farm in Elverum, Norway.
- Hans is a photographer and website designer.
Hans studied composition at the conservatory in Rotterdam with Hans Koolmees, Robin de Raaff, Peter Jan Wagemans and René Uijlenhoet. He obtained his master’s degree with Ståle Kleiberg in 2017 at the conservatory in Trondheim.
Hans has composed works in all genres for both acoustic and electroacoustic settings. This includes works for amateur players such as wind and brass bands, as well as educational material. His main aspiration however is to write and develop compositions for professional ensembles and orchestras.
In the recent years Hans his chamber music has evolved from a neoclassical style towards a more characteristic voice within contemporary art music. These abstract and atonal works still have strong ties to traditional classical music and use conventional score-written notation. Compositions often have a clear narrative, making them relatively easy for non-experienced listeners to comprehend.
Hans seeks to implement the expressiveness found in speech and song in his works; poetizing recitative motives that can be rephrased in various rhetorical ways to emphasize timbre, articulation, and intensity. The minimalistic use of pitch allows for subtle changes in sound and texture to maintain tension and drama throughout the piece.