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Rik Cornelissen


Rik Cornelissen (1984) is an innovative and versatile Dutch accordionist, composer, arranger, band leader, educator, curator, producer and researcher. With a broad education and knowledge of jazz, latin, tango and classical music, Rik is always looking for new possibilities, new sounds and new ideas.


Rik knows how to create a beautiful musical sound regardless of tempi, dynamics and range…a wonderful, exiting, intense and creative musician!” (Joan Sommers)


Rik Cornelissen effortlessly knows how to manipulate the great dynamic and tonal possibilities of his instrument. ” (rakenDra Smit, Muziekwereld)


He collaborated with Bert van den Brink, Ramon Valle, Juan Pablo Dobal, Oene van Geel, Izaline Calister, Ben van den Dungen, Rob van Kreeveld, Teus Nobel, Egon Kracht, Angelo Verploegen, Jan Menu, Miranda van Kralingen, Francis van Broekhuizen, Vincent Houdijk, Enrique Firpi, Maciej Domaradzki, Claudio Jacomucci en Tuur Florizoone amongs others and participated in various projects for YoOpera, Opera Minora and Opera Zuid and worked as session musician in Zwartboek (Paul Verhoeven), Van Gogh: een huis voor Vincent (Pim Hoeve) and Theatershow NU! (Mini & Maxi).


Rik studied Classical Music and Argentinian Tango (BA, Codarts, Rotterdam 2006), Jazz & Pop (MA, ArtEZ University of Arts, Arnhem 2009) and Advanced Accordion Performance and Alexander Techniek (Accademia Fisarmonicista Italiana, Urbino (I) 2011) with Claudio Jacomucci. Currently Rik is a PhD-kandidaat at the KU Leuven (B) and student in the docARTES-programm at the Orpheus Instituut in Gent (B) as an artistic researcher. The focus of his PhD-research is to (re-)position the role of the accordion within jazz music.


Since 2013 Rik is a professor and lecturer at ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem (The Netherlands) for Accordion Jazz & Pop (BA & MA), band coaching and as a research supervisor. ArtEZ is one of the few Universities in the world to study Jazz accordion. One of the few Universities in the world to study Jazz accordion.

Rik’s debut album Traveller (2014) received critical acclaim and was a personal search for new possibilities and sounds on accordion within the jazz and Latin-jazz; focusing on and comparing with the richness of the piano tradition he managed to cross musical boundaries and combine classical techniques with improvisation and groove.


As a bandleader of his group Tocar, Rik collaborated with the Radio Filharmonic String Quartet (now: Carezza String Quartet) and recorded the album ‘Birds of Paradise’ in 2016. Beautiful compositions, a marvelous group sound, interesting solos, an amazing balance between brain and heart!” (Gustavo Beytelmann)


In 2018 Rik released the album ‘Dreamscape’ with his new group Trifid. A collaboration with the talented Dutch vibraphone player Vincent Houdijk and bass player Maciej Domaradzki. Some quotes: New sonic territory explorations, transcending stylist boundaries, sheer magic!” (Harold van Grinsven, JIN JAZZ) and “Dreamscape’s title certainly suits the album, as the theme holding its songs together acts like some sort of extraterrestrial glue, creating a heavily, ethereal atmosphere. The accordion, vibraphone, and double bass are a trio about as rare as Halley’s Comet, and arouse an equal amount of curiosity.” (Peter Hoetjes, All About Jazz)


The album Sounds of Interstellar Space (2021), featuring the eponymous 30-minute composition based on sonications of space objects, has just been released. The composition, granted by the Dutch Performing Arts Fund (FPK) and the Prins Bernard Culture Fund, was written by Rik for the concert series Sounds of Interstellar Space (2019-2020), in which Trifid collaborated with astronomers from the European Space Agency (ESA), the Radboud University and the University of Amsterdam amongs others. They performed in observatories, Universities and musea around the Netherlands.


As a sideman Rik is involved in various groups, bands and projects, such as Egon Kracht’s New World Quartet, Jeen Rabs’ Catch my Kitsch, Ruud Houweling, I Compani, Tango Extremo and others.


Rik often composes for the groups in which he himself works, although he also performs commissioned work. His compositions are often inspired by his travels and fascination with nature and the universe and navigate between jazz, classical music, Brazilian, Argentinian and other styles.