Guus Janssen (1951) studied piano and composition at the Sweelinck Academy of Music in Amsterdam. As a pianist and harpsichordist he performed in various settings with George Lewis, John Zorn, Han Bennink, Theo Loevendie, Gidon Kremer. Since the early 1980's he has own ensembles, ranging from (piano) trios to 11-piece band and (opera) orchestra. As a soloist, and primarily in his own compositions, he was to be heard at quite a few international festivals such as the Warschauer Herbst Festival, Holland Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and Wien Modern '94. Besides, he performed with the Schönberg Ensemble, ASKO Ensemble, Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, and Residentie Orkest.
Janssen's achievements in the field of jazz- and improvised music have been widely acclaimed. It was for them that he received the Boy Edgar Award, 1981. His compositions, not including the pieces written for the Janssen ensembles, range from piano-music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely interpreted by the Kronos Quartet, Mondriaan Quartet, De Volharding, Schönberg Ensemble, Radio Kamerorkest, and Concertgebouw Orkest, with soloist as Leonore Pameyer, Walter van Hauwe, Harry Starnaay, Gerard Bouwhuis and Gidon Kremer. In recognition of his standing and quality as a composer, Janssen won the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Award, 1984.
So far Janssen has composed two opera's in collaboration with Friso Haverkamp: Faust's Licht (1988/1993) and Noach (1994). Janssen's recent work includes: Klots, commissioned and performed by Gidon Kremer and the Schönberg Ensemble, with the composer as soloist on hi-hat, Zock for stringorchestra, piccolo, and harpsichord, and Passevite commissioned by the WDR (West German Radio) for the 20th Anniversary of the Schönberg Ensemble.