Henk de Vlieger (Schiedam, 1953) started his musical education at an early age, playing the harmonium of his grandfather. Ever since his childhood, he has been drawn to the challenge of writing music. After secondary school he studied percussion with Willem Heesen, and composition with Theo Loevendie and Klaas de Vries at the Rotterdam Conservatory.
In 1976 he was appointed percussionist and timpanist of the four orchestras of the Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation (NOS). In 1984 he became a permanent member of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1986 he advanced to the position of principal percussionist. In 2011 he was also appointed artistic advisor of the orchestra. He retired from the orchestra in 2013 and became a full time arranger in the classical genre.
During his 40 year career as a percussionist, he already produced dozens of arrangements of various kinds. For his fellow students he made some adaptions for percussion ensemble, of which his remarkable instrumentation of Mussorgski’s Pictures at an exhibition still survives.
He wrote instrumentations for theatre and film productions as well as orchestrations for several occasions. He obtained international acknowledgement with his symphonic compilations of operas by Richard Wagner. These arrangements have been performed by major orchestras and great conductors all over the world. More recently, he applied himself to orchestrations of works by Schumann, Brahms and Franck, remaining faithful to the instrumental principles of the composers.
On the other hand, he made many transcriptions of symphonic works for small ensembles, commissioned by the Dutch orchestras, public broadcasting companies or ensembles like Music Stages and Club Classique. His main arrangements are published by Schott Music.
From his own compositions, the early works like Mobile..., Toccata and Fresco, are qualified by strict constructions based on a minimum of material. From his composition Evocazione (1994) however, he explored a more instinctive melodic style.