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René Samson (1948-2019) came from an old Surinamese-Jewish family where he grew up surrounded by music (classical and jazz), dance, theater, and literature. After high school, he studied chemistry and worked for many years as a chemist. He continued to be active in music: as a flutist, he took lessons from Hans van de Weyer and Eleonore Pameijer and played in various orchestras.

Udine 2014 medaille

In his forties, he began composing, taking lessons from Monique Suring, Leo Samama, and Klaas de Vries. Since 1998, his work has been regularly performed.

The following musicians and ensembles performed René’s pieces at various venues in the Netherlands:

  • the Amsterdam Bridge Ensemble (a CD of his chamber music performed by the ABE was awarded a 10 in the music magazine Luister),
  • Amsterdam Sinfonietta,
  • Holland Symfonia (conducted by Hans Leenders),
  • the Cristofori Piano Quartet,
  • the Lumaka Ensemble,
  • the Valerius Ensemble (conducted by Jacob Slagter),
  • the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet,
  • harp duo Bilitis,
  • the singers Fanny Alofs, Marcel Beekman, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Noa Frenkel, Ken Gould, Valérie Guillorit, Charlotte Riedijk, and Mattijs van de Woerd,
  • the pianists Paolo Giacometti and Shuann Chai, and double bassist Rick Stotijn.

He wrote a full-length opera “Het ware geweld” based on an original libretto by Olaf Mulder.


René won an award in 2014 for Contrasting Moods at the international composition competition “Città di Udine” organized by the Italian music publisher Taukay Edizioni Musicali. From nearly 400 international entries, he won one of the five awards (Special Mention and medal of the Presidente della Repubblica Italiana) in the chamber music category.

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