Edward Top is the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's Composer-in-Residence. He has won several national and international prizes for composition. He was nominated for Best Work of 2008, and won in the category of Six Players or Less during the Dutch Toonzetters Competition. Other prizes include the 2007 New Millennium Competition at the Birmingham Conservatoire (U.K.); the 2006 Atahualpa Yupanqui International Prize of Composition in Buenos Aires (Argentina); the 2004 Henriette Bosmans Prize during the Dutch Music Days Festival; and the 2003 Salvatore Martirano Award at the University of Illinois (USA).
Acknowledged by a Dutch newspaper as The Horror Composer, Edward Top's work is characterised by themes of 'darkness'. His music grapples with existential questions such as man against nature or reference and association e.g. unlimited semiosis and Cartesian Theatre. Recurring motifs include the grotesque, paranoia, and nostalgia. Top's music is inspired by paintings of Hieronymus Bosch and James Ensor. His work expresses both the balance and struggle between different musical traditions and styles, using historical references and rich harmonic texture in detailed orchestrations.
Born in The Netherlands in 1972 Edward has lived and worked in London, Bangkok, and Rotterdam. He now lives in Vancouver with his wife and baby boy. He studied composition with Peter-Jan Wagemans at the Rotterdam Conservatoire where he also majored in violin. He later studied musicology at King's College London. He also worked with composers Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Peter Eötvös and George Benjamin.
Besides his responsibilities as the Composer-in-Residence with the Vancouver Symphony, his commissions for the season 2012–13 include the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet and The Tempest Flute Ensemble. Edward has also received commissions of the Schoenberg Ensemble, Holland Symfonia, Calefax Reed Quintet, Vocaal LAB Netherlands, Doelen Ensemble, and his works are performed by the Dutch Radio Philharmonic, Netherlands Ballet Orchestra and Peter Rundel, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Ensemble NOISE at San Diego New Music, Standing Wave Vancouver and the Formalist String Quartet in Los Angeles. The Doelen String Quartet has recorded his two quartets on CD.