Dutch composer Willem Stoppelenburg (*1943) grew up in a middle-class family in the South Holland village of Berkenwoude. After secondary school in Gouda and teacher training in Rotterdam, he moved to the North after his military service, where he continued his studies at the Groningen Conservatory and later on the Amsterdam Conservatory (including piano, conducting) and led student orchestras in Groningen and Enschede, conducted operettas, male choirs and oratorios in the north and center of the Netherlands. As a composer in an organic performance practice, he gradually developed as such independently from the 1970s onwards, especially through international conducting courses. For some time he sat on the board of the Society of Dutch Composers and stimulated contemporary music in the northern region. He further profiled himself in the 1980s and became chairman of the Northern Composers Foundation, artistic director of the Flexica Ensemble and was closely involved in various contemporary (chamber music) concerts. In 1998 he received the Drenthe Culture Prize. In regular life he was a teacher at the teacher training college.
For the regional press he wrote music reviews for a long time, especially opera, and also gave lectures.
As a composer – known for performing extensive musical works – he did not shy away from large forms from an early age and moreover had the opportunity to perform them himself as a pianist and conductor. Stylistically, he searched from that practice for his own unique style, of which the 99×1 minute fragments form a biographical reflection of his extensive oeuvre, which could thus arise independently of the Dutch mainstream. Striking operas (Salto Mortale, Van Gogh and Le Bel Indifférent), occasional commissions (Westerbork Symphony; Paintings in the Nijsinghhuis) and oratorio works (Stabat Mater, Erasmus) were published, alongside special chamber music and other vocal musical works and songs.
His two daughters/singers with whom he gave many concerts as coach and piano accompanist, often played an inspiring role. When he was 65, the CD box Anthologie Stoppelenburg was released. Much of his work can also be found on YouTube.
He is married to the pianist Paula Stoppelenburg-Fruitman, often also an interpreter of his work.