Gagi Petrovic

composer, performer, producer and teacher of music


Short Bio

Gagi Petrovic is an award winning composer, performer, producer and teacher of music. With his versatile taste and expertise, he works in performative settings and releases concept albums. His pieces and songs have elements that are acoustic and electronic, intense and intimate; it’s odd and familiar. Aesthetically his work moves in the grey area of progressive composition, digital electronics and alternative pop. Conceptually his music often covers themes like oppression, isolation, deviation from convention, existential topics and what it means to be free.

The use of technology often plays a big role in his creative process, as well as his preference to keep pushing music forward. As a composer he mostly works in an autonomous fashion, where research in expression and exploring boundaries guides his creative decisions. He has received commissions from organisations such as Gaudeamus, Rewire, GRIP, Theater Rotterdam and LeineRoebana, to write for soloist, small ensembles and acousmatic settings. Frequently, he produces music for other media too, like contemporary dance, theatre, video art and documentary. The collaboration with choreographer Cherish Menzo on D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER (2022) has received international recognition through prolonged touring, reviews and a multitude on nominations and prizes (see below).

He releases electro-acoustic concept albums and performs own works with custom-built instruments (such as GEST) and as a singer-songwriter. He has a special interest in how music moves us both physically and mentally; how such abstract languages enable us to reflect on a particular sense of reality, escape it or even question it.


  • 2023 | Unfold Yourself

    A studio album consisting of seven new pieces. Released at Moving Furniture Records.

    Unfold Yourself is a studio album where the composer distances himself from GEST and re-explore the conventional instruments that he plays. It’s seven pieces that narrate an emotional journey regarding personal development.
    1. Disrupt
    2. Obstruct
    3. Shatter
    4. Rejuvenate
    5. Illuminate (hiervan kun je een pre-master versie beluisteren)
    6. Erupt
    7. Arise

    This work is made possible by Performing Arts Fund NL. It will be released at Moving Furniture Records in 2023.

  • 2021 | Choosing Freedom

    for GEST, live electronics by Gagi Petrovic

    Released on CD and digital at Moving Furniture Records: MFR

    With this work Petrovic chooses to explore beyond abstraction, dwell within it, to find an inner celebration of what it means to let go of expectations and let music ring free. Free from arbitrary expectations, emotional manipulations and conservative evasions regarding what music “should” be.

    For this purpose he created his own musical instrument. The custom-built GEST allows the performer to design and play electronic music in an intuitive way, turning hand gestures and light sensors into an interface for musical expression. It’s an environment for both composing pieces based on audio recordings and performing structures with indeterminate elements.

  • 2021 | Recalcitrance

    Collaboration double CD by Matthijs Kouw & Gagi Petrovic

    Released on CD and digital at Moving Furniture Records: MFR090

    Philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has studied the operations of states and their mobilization of technical practices to serve a presupposed general interest, which involves the production of rules and norms. Such rules and norms are blind to forms of knowledge that are denigrated as ‘local’ and ‘traditional’, and feature the correlative elimination of what does not conform and cannot be standardized – in other words, what is recalcitrant to objective evaluation. Anything that resists subsumption to technical rationality is seen as a threat to public order (Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, pp.73-4).

    The eight tracks on ‘Recalcitrance’ examine abstract topics that range from metaphysical speculation and psychological investigation to reflections on the process of creation itself. Taking a shared set of source sounds as their starting point, Matthijs Kouw and Gagi Petrovic invite listeners to trace the common sources of their pieces and to become recalcitrant themselves by experiencing the compositions in ways that defy what Stengers describes as technical rationality. Recalcitrant subjects ask new questions, thereby allowing the currently dominant reductionist mindset obsessed with productivity to be unsettled by space for reflection and quiet contemplation.

  • 2020 | Kamerkoor JIP – The First Five Years

    Featured on ‘best of’ compilation CD of chamber choir, with the piece Zid (2013)

    Released on CD and digital.



  • 2020 | Moving Music: sounds from the rocking chair

    Featured on compilation CD, with the piece ‘Jade Mineral Razor’ by Matthijs Kouw & Gagi Petrovic.

    Released on CD and digital at Moving Furniture Records


    A Moving Furniture Records Compilation

    • In December 2019 we had a crowdfunding campaign to support
      us into the year 2020. For this we asked several of our musicians
      if they could contribute to this campaign. From this the compilation Moving Music: Sounds From The Rocking Chair grew.
      In total 24 musicians submitted their creativity to make a total of
      16 tracks. Aside from some exclusive solo tracks there are also 10
      collaborations with unique combinations of musicians. To name a
      few: TVO & Jos Smolders, Radboud Mens & BJ Nilsen, Matthijs
      Kouw & Gagi Petrovic, and many more.
  • 2018 | Ob-literate

    for five singers, three performative objects and one organ

    Composed by Zeno van den Broek & Gagi Petrovic

    Released on LP, CD and digital at Unsounds Label: SOUNDS OF THE YOUNG AVANT-GARDE VOL. 02.compo

  • 2017 | dp[a] + hsh

    Debut double EP

    • Concept dp[a]
      Dysprosody is a very rare speech disorder that can manifest itself in several ways, such as unconventional changes in pitch, volume and rhythm while talking. This could be seen as a nuisance and unwanted deviation on established ways of communication, or as a new opportunity for truly expressing oneself. This is the result of my first attempt on the latter.
    • Concept hsh
      The word Haschoema means ‘shame on you’ and is used in the Moroccan community when someone’s behaviour is inappropriate – especially if that someone is a woman. This single word expresses an understanding, a feeling and a certain tension.
      When choreographer Mouna Laroussi from Dansmakers Amsterdam commissioned me to write music for her dance duet revolving around this theme of social control, my assignment became clear: to capture oppression.

    Released on CD and digital at Moving Furniture Records: MFR046

Honors & Awards

  • 2023 | D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER (Cherish Menzo): Prizes, Nominations and Reviews

    – Winner of the BNG Bank Theater Prize (2023)
    – Winner of the VSCD Prize for Best Direction (Nederlandse Dansdagen) Maastricht (2023)
    – Nominated for a VSCD Swan Award most impressive performance (Nederlandse Dansdagen) Maastricht (2023)
    – Nominated for the VSCD Mime/Performance Award (Nederlandse Dansdagen) Maastricht (2023)
    – Selected for Het Theater Festival The Netherlands (2023)
    – Selected for Het Theaterfestival Belgium (2023)

    “D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER is of a rare abrasive beauty. Not often this season were the judges so blown off their chairs by the sheer power and necessity of a performance. Cherish Menzo, accomplishes an exceptional feat as creator and performer in D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER together with Camilo Mejía Cortés. (…) The jury praises the unadjusted power, hope and implacability of this dark matter.”
    – Nederlands Theater Festival, 2023

    ‘This performance makes you rabidly want to see everything from – and know about – Cherish Menzo […]. She blurs lines, makes our eyes bulge. She is fascinating in her thinking and in its translation to the stage. To follow very, very closely.’
    – Amélie Blaustein Niddam, Toute La Culture, 14 may 2022

    ‘The somewhat abstract accumulation of (pop) cultural approaches to the black community thus seems primarily a toss-up about how the lived materiality of black bodies, in the face of a temporal unruliness parallel to the scratching of a record, can break up the darkness of a dark past.’

    ‘Cherish Menzo and Camilo Mejia Cortés are impressive from start to finish, with their presence, their gestures, their looks, the way they stand on stage and their mastery of flow every time the poetic rap makes its appearance.’
    – Jean-Marie Wynants, Le Soir, 15 may 2022

    ‘D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER is a punky performance, a trip full of mystery and symbolism. Dark in its consequence, light at the end of the tunnel.’
    – Moos van den Broek, Theaterkrant, 16 may 2022

    ‘The performance delivers an exciting and alienating connotation to ‘dark matter’ ★★★★☆’

    ‘Whether teetering on their stiletto latex boots or slipping naked through black paint, the duo surprises with powerful images after each blackout. Thanks to the bold lighting design, chilling soundtrack and haunting rap songs that Menzo and Cortés spit out live, Darkmatter becomes not only a fascinating descent into the heart of the darkness that lurks within us all, but also a poetic critique of representation that celebrates the richness of being black.’ ★★★★
  • 2022 | Het Huis Utrecht: Summer Residency

    After a successful first improvisation during the Kapsalon Theater protest in January 2022, HHU invited Lisa Chudalla and Gagi Petrovic to use one of their studios for a week. Here they explored and developed new materials between circus art (Cyr Wheel) and live electronic music (GEST).

  • 2020 | FPK Werkbijdrage Muziekauteur: ‘Vox Populi’ and ‘Unfold Yourself’

    Received grant for creating two new works:

    • ‘Unfold Yourself’, a studio album.
    • ‘Vox Populi’, a live performance and EP, for voice and GEST.

    Made possible by Performance Art Fund NL.

  • 2017 | Matthijs Vermeulen Prijs (nomination): Ob-literate

    Nomination with ‘Ob-literate’ (with Zeno van den Broek)

  • 2015-2016 | Nieuwe Makers at Leineroebana: ‘Imaginary Conversations’ and ‘Choosing Freedom’

    Two year residency aimed at further developing myself as performing artist, in Amsterdam (NL):
    – Integrate my experience as electro-acoustic composer and singer-songwriter;
    – Develop the instrument GEST for composing and performing electronic music in a more intuitive way, kickstarting prototyping with a two week residency at STEIM;
    – Develop myself as singer and performer;
    – Create two solo acts: ‘Imaginary Conversations and ‘Choosing Freedom’

  • 2015 | Impuls Academy: ‘Give more.’

    9th International Composers Academy for Contemporary Music, in Graz (Austria):
    – Commissioned by Gaudeamus to write the piece Give more.’ for Dario Calderone (extended doublebass)
    – Attending masterclasses of composers and instrumentalists, live rehearsals and concerts

  • 2014 | Composition Beyond Music: ‘Soundroots’

    Two week residency led by Peter Ablinger, in Utrecht (NL):
    – Philosophical debates and masterclasses
    – Selected by Gaudeamus as member of Soundlings (network of sound artists)
    – Commissioned to create the sound art exhibition Soundroots’, presented during Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014

  • 2014 | 7th International Workshop for Young Composers

    One week residency in Mazsalaca (Latvia)
    – Lectures, discussions with, and masterclasses by contemporary composers (a.o. Oscar Bianchi) and other young international composers


  • 2014 | Dutch Harp Composition Contest (finals): ‘stRrrct’

    Third Prize (all ages and nationalities)
    – Nominated for finals with stRrrct’ (2013)

  • 2013 | V2_ Test_Lab: The Graduation Edition: ‘The light that blinds you’

    Nominated with concert series Custom Made Music and the piece The light that blinds you’ (2012-2013)

  • 2012 | Gaudeamus, The Fascinating Sound of Gamelan: ‘Raam tot raam’

    Intensive workshops with contemporary gamelan group Ensemble Gending:
    – Commissioned to write the piece ‘Raam tot raam’ for gamel and ensemble and live electronics
    – Composition presented during Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2012


  • 2020-2022 | Singing lessons, with Elea Bekkers

    Private lessons, working on understanding my instrument better and refining my skill as a performer.

    Taught by Elea Bekkers.

  • 2016-present | GEST, autodidact instrument design

    Skills include:

    • SuperCollider (system design, data analysis and custom granular synthesis)
    • Arduino (light sensors)
    • Algorithmic Composition
    • Gestural performance
  • 2017-present | Voice Acting, autodidact

    Through interactive storytelling, with tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons.

  • 2017-2018 | Didactische Bekwaamheid B (Didactic Competence)

    Internal course for experienced teachers of the HKU to increase their skillset for offering adequate teaching to young adults.

  • 2015-2017 | Singing and speaking lessons, with Angelo Custodio and Yonathan Keren

    Private lessons, working on finding my voice. Techniques from classical and light music. Part of the Nieuwe Makers residency at LeineRoebana.

  • 2015-2016 | Basiskwalificatie Examinering A (Qualification Examination)

    Internal course for teachers of the HKU to become an official examiner.

  • 2009-2013 | Composition Electronic Music, Bachelor of Music & Master of Arts (cum laude)

    Utrecht School of Arts (HKU), faculty Music & Technology (Utrecht, NL)

    • specialisation in Composition and Sound Art
  • 2011-2012 | Internship at LeineRoebana

    Contemporary Dance Company, specialised in working with live music and living composers.

    • Follow creative process of choreography, rehearsals, production and performance of the new piece ‘Ghost Track’.
    • Analyse ouvre of LeineRoebana, on interdependence between sound and movement.
    • Composition, arrangement and musical leadership for new solo piece ‘Dans door Tim Persent, a Dance Concert’, of jubilee of dancer Tim Persent.
    • Composition of concert piece ‘Ongewenst’, for wind trio.
  • 2008-2011 | Singing lessons, with Renée Harp

    Private lessons in classical repertoire.

  • 2008-2009 | Basisopleiding Music & Technology

    Part-time preparatory year for orientation of educations at Utrecht School of Arts (HKU).

  • 2007-present | Piano, autodidact

  • 2007-2008 | Ballet at Danshuis Haarlem

    Course includes:

    • classical ballet
    • contemporary dance (Martha Graham technique)
  • 2005-2010 | Dancer & Live Musician, for contemporary dance

    Participation and co-creation as amateur performer. Multiple productions with Danshuis Haarlem, presented in The Netherlands, France and Spain.

  • 2004-2009 | Psychology, Bachelor of Science

    University of Amsterdam, specialised in Clinical Psychology.

  • 2003-present | Guitar and Melodica, autodidact

  • 2001-2004 | Keyboard and Accordion (private), Serbian folk music.

    Lessons with resp. Novica Djordjevic, Peca Stevic and Velizar Matosic.

  • 1998-2004 | Atheneum (with Music and Theatre)

    High School at Coornhert Lyceum, Haarlem (NL). Extra-curricular artistic activities include:

    • Stage acting, theatre and musical
    • Musical performance (various band formations)
    • Artistic Direction of one musical with Daniel R. Mimoso
    • Composition of new music
    • Arrangement of existing music for various bands


    • HIT (Haarlem Interscholar Tournament): best acting as side character (Tybalt) in Romeo & Julliet.
    • HIT: best musical performance & most original piece, with arrangement and performance of ‘Djurdjevdan’.
  • 1994-2001 | Keyboard, with Mr. Wijngaard

Resume (highlights)

After finishing a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology (2009, University of Amsterdam), Gagi Petrovic studied Music & Technology at the HKU (Utrecht School of the Arts. He specialized in composition and sound art and graduated cum laude in 2013, when he simultaneously finished his Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts. During his education he explored new music making techniques and paradigms by closely collaborating with various classically trained musicians and choreographers.

Since his graduation he has built a relationship with organisations such as GaudeamusRewire, Frascati and GRIP which stimulate the production and presentation of new performances. Petrovic was responsible for a multitude of new compositions which were presented during various festivals across Europe.

An example of such a project is his piece stRrrct‘, for harp, voice and live electronics, that in 2014 won him the third prize at the Dutch Harp Competition Contest (all ages and nationalities). After this Gaudeamus sent him to Impuls Academy to participate in the 9th International Workshop for Contemporary Music in Graz (Austria) and he got selected for the 7th International Workshop for Young Composers in Mazsalaca (Latvia). There he took masterclasses and composed a solo piece for double bassist Dario Calderone, that premiered in Graz. The performer integrated this piece ‘Give more.’, for enhanced double bass and live electronics, into his solo repertoire and presented it in various European festivals for contemporary music, such as the Gaudeamus Muziekweek. Gaudeamus then invited him as member of the Soundlings collective to join the residency Compostion Beyond Music led by Peter Ablinger. Here he developed sound art installations as composer, performer, actor and instrument designer.

In 2014 Gaudeamus introduced Gagi Petrovic to sound artist Zeno van den Broek, to co-write a big scale composition. ‘Ob-literate’, for five singers (SSBBB), three performative objects (live electronics) and one organ, was performed across The Netherlands in festivals such as Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht), Soundsofmusic (Groningen) and multiple times at the Orgelpark (Amsterdam). In 2019 a concert registration of this piece was released at Unsounds, under the new series ‘Sounds of the Young Avant-Garde’.

Between 2014 and 2016 Gagi Petrovic was artist-in-residence with contemporary dance company LeineRoebana, where he interned as composer in 2011-2012. This time is was his goal to “step out of the shadow” and get on stage himself. He developed his skills as performer of his own work. Until this moment he was a multi-instrumentalist that could play keys, guitars, live electronics, voice and flute. For this residence he decided to deepen his skills in singing and live electronics. He took singing classes in pop and classical approach, with respectively Yonathan Keeren and Angelo Custodio. As a performer he was guided by choreographers Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana. Additionally, with the guidance of STEIM, he built the prototype of his own instrument for electronic music. ‘GEST’ is an interface that lets hand gestures breaking light beams interact with a digital environment based on granular synthesis and audio files. This allows for a more intuitive approach while making and performing electronic music, bringing Gagi Petrovic closer to a personal form of musical expression.

Being an artist-in-residence for almost two years has been a turning point in his career. It resulted in two pieces: ‘Choosing Freedom’ for GEST; and ‘Imaginary Conversations’ for voice and piano. Ever since he has performed these two solo acts separately, or together as a double bill, during various festivals and venues such as Gaudeamus, Soundsofmusic, Fringe, GOLF, Allée Rentree, Bimhuis and Rewire. As singer and GEST-musician he started an intensive collaboration with cellist Maya Fridman with whom he created multiple pieces ‘Constellations’ and did various performances on Dutch stages.

Meanwhile Gagi Petrovic worked on his debut double EP ‘dp[a] + hsh‘, that got released in 2017 at Moving Furniture Records  [MFR]. This album covers two projects: a) his explorations regarding Dysprosody and finding a new musical language, and b) excerpts from music he created for the contemporary dance piece ‘Haschoema‘ by Mouna Laroussi. The following years he composed music for the documentary Petrol Dollars for a Different Engine, the video art installation Sn by Alejandro Ramirez and podcasts by European Pavilion.

During the pandemic, in 2021, he released two more albums at the underground label MFR, respectively Recalcitrance and Choosing Freedom. In that same year he received a composition grant by Dutch Performing Arts, to create Vox Populi and Unfold Yourself: the new solo work for GEST premiered at Rewire 2022 and the album released at MFR in 2023.

After the pandemic Petrovic composed new electronic music for choreographers and theater makers. With Cherish Menzo (GRIP/Frascati) he made the critically acclaimed D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER, with Benjamin Kahn new solo dance work The Blue Hour and Davy Pieters (Theater Rotterdam). These performances brought his music across Europe. Especially D̶A̶R̶K̶MATTER received many excellent reviews, multiple prolonged European tours and five nominations for most impressive performance of the past years. In 2023 this performance received the BNG Bank Theaterprijs for most impressive theater production. His latest release Unfold Yourself, covering overcoming mental illnesses, received a lot of praise by the press. It’s featured in an article in the German magazine Positionen, about how his conceptual yet personal attitude towards creating music could be considered a new wave in contemporary music.

In 2024 Petrovic delves deeper into singing and songwriting by revisioning his two song cycles ‘Imaginary Conversations’ and ‘Veneer’. He also continues a collaboration with partner Ada Bania on their personal project ‘Don Buka’, where they create intense yet colorful beat-oriented rap songs about conquering inner demons.