Born in Budapest, Hungary to Jewish parents and raised in Toronto, Canada, I combine my two cultural backgrounds, as well as the culture of my new-found home, the Netherlands, to create music that is definitely not bound to any one place. The diversity of my music reflects not only the diversity of my upbringing and musical influences but also my refusal to label myself as just a theatre composer or just a modern classical composer. I very much enjoy being many different things all at the same time.
I received a Bachelor of Music degree with honours in Percussion Performance from the University of Toronto in 1990. My teachers there included Russell Hartenberger and Robin Engelman. After my studies, I was invited to spend 6 months as an “artist-in-residence” at the Banff Centre for the Arts. In 1991, I continued my studies at the Utrecht Conservatory of Music in the Netherlands where I was awarded an honours Performance Diploma with special distinction for theatrical qualities. I’ve studied tabla with Sandip Bhattacharya and frame drumming with Glen Velez.
I am active as a composer, percussionist and performer and sometimes all three at once. Since 1994, I have been musical director and composer of Het Filiaal Theatermakers a theatre company known for its adventurous use of (live) music and visual effects. In February 2006, I performed and conducted my own music in Baron Rabinovitsj for two weeks on Broadway at the New Victory Theater. Baron Rabinovitsj has also been presented in Hong Kong, Cleveland and California. I performed the world premiere of a 70-minute piece for solo tympanist, Om mij mijzelf met mijn aan mezelf en mezelf en mijn eigen by the Dutch composer Jan van de Putte who also dedicated the piece to me.
In 2004, I was nominated by the Dutch Society of Composers (Geneco) for the Henriëtte Bosmans Prize for young composers. The International Percussive Arts Society awarded 2nd prize in their Italian composition competition to my work for solo percussionist, That’s it. My music has been performed by KO!Brass, Percussion Group the Hague (SDH), the String Quartet of the Ives Ensemble, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Ensemble Insomnio, Koor Fenix, the Doelen Ensemble, the Helios Choir and Chamber Ensemble, Evergreen Club Gamelan, Arraymusic, Netherlands Wind Ensemble and YO! Opera Festival and by international jazz artists such as Rembrandt Frerichs, Dimitar Bodurov, Sandip Bhattacharya, Frans Cornelissen and tap dancer Peter Kuit. In 2016, Jimisme commissioned by soprano Andrea van Beek was premiered at the Rotterdam Operadagen; Latitude/Longitude for harp and percussion commissioned by DuoHarpverk and the NFPK premiered in Reykjavik, and the String Quartet of the Ives Ensemble performed and recorded Tarjan’s music for the theatre production, SPOOR. At the moment, he is working on a commission from violinist Emma Breedveld for a large piece based on ideas on the physics of time as described by Carlo Rovelli in his book, The Order of Time. Tarján has been a guest teacher at the Utrecht Conservatory, the HKU Faculty of Theatre and CODARTS.