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Born in South Africa 1988, Attie Hamer-Esterhuizen started writing music at the age of 6, and now, at the age of 28, his works have been performed by influential orchestras such as the Brussels Philharmonic, World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de Bordeaux, to name a few. By the age of 23 he founded AttieStudio, which has since produced two Operas in Paris and an Animation Musical, Lady of the Night, bringing together an international team of approximately 150 people. The animation musical, released in 2014 has been awarded or nominated for 56 awards and is still being screened at film festivals across the world. Attie completed his formal music training at the age 17 at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan USA. There he met and worked with a lot of young musicians, visual artists, actors and dancers whom have since become some of the best known artists in their fields. This is where Attie’s first orchestral pieces were premiered with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. At Interlochen Arts Academy, Attie became friends with the singer and actor Nora Menken. Through her he met the composer he now considers his mentor, Alan Menken who has 8 Oscars, 14 Grammies and one Tony to his name. Attie believes that the success of his first animation music, Lady of the Night, is in part due to the fact that Menken spent endless hours in emails, phone calls and lessons, but mostly guided him through the challenges that arose. The film Stars Adam Pascal who stared in the cult film RENT. Following his studies at Interlochen Arts Academy at age 18, he moved to Boston MA to study at the prestigious Longy School of Music where he fine tuned his technique in Classical music composition. During this time, Attie started writing for orchestras and soon grabbed the opportunity to have his piece Le Depart d’une Amie recorded by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

He moved to France in 2009 where he studied with profesors at the The National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris. Attie’s career matured while he was emerced in the Parisian joie de vivre. It was in Paris that he started receiving his major commissions. The first being a commission from concert master Matthieu Arama and the Nationale Orchestre de Bordeaux for an orchestration of Sarasate Habanear and a work for Damien Pass entitled Boys of The Marsh for a concert at the Opera Bastille. Le Balcon, the contemporary ensemble overseen by Pierre Boulez and conducted by Maxime Pascale, where he was asked to write a work for Soprano and the Ensemble entitled Lady of the Night which then later evolved into the idea for the film Attie would eventually produce 4 years later. Alan Menken introduced Attie to the leading French lyricist Nicolas Nebot who has worked with Attie on several pop songs for French artists. The Singers of the Opera en Pleine Air decided to record Attie’s choir piece for male singers. His piano duet, Woe the Lovers, was also performed at the historic Salle Cortot. Attie later received a commission from the Timeless Ballet Company for a ballet for full orchestra (Le Spectre) based on Puccini’s Madame butterfly, starring Iranian dancer Sohrab Chitan. Two works for musical theatre were recorded by The Orchestre de Salle de Colonne. The orchestra was recorded in Paris while the singers were recording their parts in New York at the same time. Attie founded AttieStudio when he turned 23 after falling in love with modern opera and produced the Operas Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss and Pierrot Lunaire by Schoenberg. When Attie produced and wrote the music to his animation film Lady of the Night, he was fortunate enough to have the music performed by the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra. At the same time Attie attended film school at the International School of Cinema and Directing, EICAR, majoring in script writing and directing. In 2014 Attie was accepted, out of 2000 applicants, to the Musical Theatre Workshop of BMI, the leading global music rights organization in New York. There he was part of a group of twenty composers and lyricists who for three years study the compositional forms and techniques of the traditional broadway musical. Attie is now married to the South African lyricist Télan Hamer-Esterhuizen and they are currently in pre-production with their first stage musical. Attie writes the music and Télan the lyrics and text. They are having a wonderful time living in Cape Town, South Africa while Télan writes the text and lyrics and Attie writes the music.


Lady of the night

(Adam Pascal and the Brussels Philharmonic)

“It’s sort of like a Disney film…if the princes were wearing evening gowns” broadway.com Lady of the Night

The plot is described by broadway.com as “A closeted gay man who – on the anniversary of his partner’s death – dons a dress, heels and a wig to cope with his solitude and pay tribute to his lost love”. I have always been fascinated by Drag queen culture. In this film I see men in women’s clothing as a metaphor for people hiding something from the world -something which stays with you throughout your life. Wagner talks about a High Art in his Operas which calls for complexity and intensity in the music itself, as well as text and book. I decided to incorporate this style into Lady of the Night as its intensity will try to elucidate. The music is very heavy and the text is very poetic. The film stars Adam Pascal, the lead actor of the cult film RENT. This film has won over 50 awards world wide. This is the shortened version of the film..


(Corey Cott and full orchestra)

After reading Catcher in the Rye I became heavily intriguedbyJ.D. Salinger’s book. This song was originally titled Catch You in The Rye, for the project, The girl in Dior. This is the love song the lead male character would sing to the female lead.


(Ballet for Full Orchestra)

Approached by Timeless Ballet Company founded by the dancer SohrabChitan. It is a ballet compiled of works by different composers. The story is the first ballet version of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and this version was premiered in Paris with resounding applause.

Le depart d’un Ami

(RinetteBouwer and full orchestra)

My first major recording was with the Johannesburg Philharmonic in South Africa. This work portrays the discovery of grief and the thoughts and emotions that are involved therein. Shortly after the recording a close family friend, and South African artist, Cornelius Bosch, was murdered on his farm. This piece is dedicated to him..

When Your Night Starts at Dawn

(Nora Menken and the Orchestre de Salle de Colonne)

A subject that is close to my heart is the subject of mental health. In this piece, the singer, Nora Menken, is singing to her spouse that has retreated to his room and isolated himself from her, due to his severe depression. She is singing a song of comfort, telling him not to despair as she will always be there to help him.

This Beloved Land

(Piano and the World Youth Symphony Orchestra)

In 2004 when I moved to Michigan to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy it was required to write an orchestral piece every year. This is my first. Often I would miss South Africa and the best way to handle the homesickness was to translate it into music.

My Dior

(Orchestra and Soprano)

This song was recorded in New York by the Grammy nominated producer Tor Hyams. At its core, this is simply a song that many women wish to sing to themselves. It glorifies femininity in our current society using the dress as a metaphor for what it is to be feminine..

Dear Mr. Obama

(Janet Krupin and Piano)

This is the piece that was considered during my application to BMI. The task was to provide them with a comedy song and this is the result.


(Damien Pass and Piano)

Performed at the Petit Palais at the Opera Bastille in Paris, I started writing this piece when I was approached by Damien Pass and asked to write a piece for him. The whole concert was programmed with works dedicated to gay life. Boys of the Marsh is an English translation from the French, Gars du Marais. This old Marsh is now where the Parisian gay nightlife blooms and in this piece I give voice to the insecurities that gay men have while trying to figure out how they fit into the scene.

She’s just a child

(Corey Cott, Nora Menken and the Orchestre de Salle Colonne)

I developed an idea for a smaller project that speaks about the length to which high school students would go to afford a college education. A group of five girls offer babysitting services, later realising that there is more money to be made in offering additional sexual services.In this song one of the girls is confessing her love to the father that she works for.The father expresses anguish at the fact that he is in love with girl but is torn between her and his wife.