Daan Manneke was born on November 7, 1939 in Kruiningen (The Netherlands).
Daan Manneke received his first music lessons from Adriaan Kousemaker, music teacher and publisher in the town of Goes. In 1959, he began his studies at the Brabant Conservatory in Tilburg with Jan van Dijk (composition) and Huub Houët and Louis Toebosch (organ). He later studied with Kamiel D’Hooghe in Bruges and Brussels.
His life and compositions took on a definitive form through his friendship with Ton de Leeuw, with whom he studied beginning in 1966 and who proved to be an lifelong source of inspiration. For many years, De Leeuw was the Netherlands’ sole advocate of, and expert in, non-Western music. Ton de Leeuw in turn brought Manneke into contact with Olivier Messiaen, with whom he also took a number of lessons.
After many years as an organist Daan Manneke was appointed professor at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam in 1972, teaching 20th-century musical analysis, and in 1986 he was made professor of composition. Over the years he has tutored a great number of young composers.
Furthermore, Daan Maaneke is the founder of the chamber choir Cappella Breda (founded in 1976), a choir with which he presents a wide variety of concerts that reflect his own musical style. Programmes range from Venetian multichoral works to compositions by Bruckner, Arvo Pärt and unknown Renaissance composers. In 1977, he published a workbook for contemporary improvisation ‘Omgaan met muziek’. This book has become a popular asset in the training of young musicians. That same enthusiasm greeted the ‘Signalen van veraf en dichtbij’ (1981), a series of some forty short pieces for small ensembles.
Daan Manneke’s oeuvre has grown to more than 300 works. His music, written largely on commission, consists mostly of sacred and chamber music. “An essential part of Daan Manneke's musical thinking is his great interest in improvisation, the other side of the often organically grown, strict form. Action versus reflection, intuition versus balanced form.” (Gerard van der Leeuw)
Manneke's main sources of inspiration are, in his own words “the 12th-century Notre Dame School of composers, the Renaissance, particularly Josquin, the Venetian school (Willaert, the Gabrielis, Monteverdi, and Heinrich Schütz), Bach, and Bach again, Bruckner; Scelsi, (late) Stravinsky, (all of) Messiaen, Xenakis, and time and again folk music from wherever”. He takes pride in the compliment he received from the music magazine Luister: “Daan Manneke is the Sweelinck of the 20th century”