About Marcus Hikren

Banner artwork Marcus Hikren door Reamon van der Horst OPZNKOPS

About Marcus Hikren

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Marcus Hikren is an initiative of Erik Schurman and Simone van der Vorst. It is an anagram of Erik Schurman and a virtual character designed by Reamon van der Horst. Erik Schurman is the composer of the piano pieces. He has a versatile career in the music industry as a successful producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, piano tuner and sound engineer. 

Erik wants to show from his personal background that music can help keep the brain stimulated. Erik, who has only known he has Tourette’s since the age of 46, is a living example of how “other” brain paths can lead to a content own life path.

Erik and Simone hope to break the stigma that unfortunately still rests on mental illness. They are convinced that both individuals and society as a whole benefit from each unique brain being optimally utilized, recognized and acknowledged.

Photo Erik Schurman - Composer Marcus Hikren

Erik is the face of the Tourettes Awareness Campaign “being slightly different is completely normal”.

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Bio Erik Schurman

At an early age, Erik is trained as a classical and flamenco guitarist. He starts on a recorder and has been playing piano ever since he can remember. As a child, he feels really different. He endures painful physical tics and a disrupted sleep pattern. His guitar becomes his anchor and escape from the outside world. He has little affiliation with the school system. Yet, without the required preparatory education, he was admitted to the Jazz Guitar course at the Rotterdam Conservatory (now known as Codards). He also leaves that school system prematurely.

He sets his own pace and his own vision of life as he wants to live it. He dives into the music scene of The Hague and earns money playing in bars. In this city’s nightlife nightly encounters lead to collaborations with well-known musicians from The Hague such as Hans van den Burg (Gruppo Sportivo), Nico Christiaanse (Livin’ Blues) and Mariska Veres (Shocking Blue). The meeting with Marcel Cuypers (Snake Charming) leads to particularly obscure and experimental musical nights on the stage ‘Het Syndicaat’.

During the day, Erik immerses himself in recording techniques and electronics and creates soundscapes for animations for art school. This gets him a job at the Bob Kommer studios. Projects come and go. It doesn’t take long before one of the projects forged in a night in The Hague lands Erik his first record deal with Sony with the band Tuesday Child.

Projects continue to come and go. Erik struggles with choices about his future and his career. He is indecisive and suffers from many nervous tics, of which he is unaware at that time is Tourette’s syndrome. 1999 is the year Erik decides never to commit himself solely as a musician, composer, producer or technician. Whether behind the mixing desk, in the theater or in the studio, behind the scenes at concerts, in front of the microphone or behind the microphone, Erik can be found in every corner of the music industry since then. He works at pop venues and theaters throughout the Netherlands and for the publishing company GMR in London. He produces from highly experimental bands from France, via ska/punkrock band Jaya the Cat to Guus Meeuwis. He builds sets for the Nationale Reisopera at the Lucent Dans Theater and in the meantime learns how things work behind the scenes of major live performances, radio & TV.

In 2010, Erik gains a new family. The Handsome Poets. All obstacles in the music industry that he himself had stumbled over before, he now manages to tackle as composer, lyricist, producer and manager of the band. The band becomes a success. They score multiple hits and the number one hit “Sky on Fire”, the anthem of the 2012 Olympics, even makes it to Hollywood as the title track of the movie The Edge of Seventeen. The collaboration yields all the awards and adventures possible for a Dutch band. Their friendship continues to this day and is the subject of their theater tour Lieve Schatten, with which they will return to theaters in 2022 after a Covid19 stop.

In 2017, Erik wins an Edison in the Jazzism category with the band Barrelhouse for the album Almost There. Together with the overwhelming success of the Handsome Poets, music thereby finally brings him the recognition that the school system did not bring him. When in that same period he recognizes Giles de La Tourette’s syndrome in himself, a lot falls into place.

At the same time, a new brain path opens up to the piano, his old love. Both the sound and mechanics of pianos and grand pianos have always intrigued Erik. Out of curiosity for the mechanics he takes lessons, goes through internships and becomes a piano tuner for theaters and concert halls. During Covid 19, when work in theaters and pop venues completely stops, he tunes in people’s homes. Erik’s brain is used to its fullest: tuning piano in an elderly home in the morning, recording drums in the studio in the afternoon, working on classical piano pieces in the evening and making big plans at night.

From 2002 to 2022 Erik worked at the Anton Philipszaal and Lucent Danstheater (currently known as Amare). He is increasingly fascinated by classical music and (modern) dance. He works with international companies such as NDT (Nederlands Dans Theater), Batsheva Dance Company, the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble and the Residentie Orkest. It eventually takes until the spring of 2020 before Erik ventures into his first classical piano compositions. It turns out to be a golden match. The piano proves to have all the notes, tones and dynamics to express all his bouncing thoughts. As in his daily life, something always has to happen in his pieces. It is not known whether Gilles de La Tourette’s disease influences the capriciousness of his compositions. Erik’s music, like his life, does not babble. That will eventually become characteristic of all his compositions.

Gilles de La Tourette

Gilles de la Tourette is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by tics.

It is often mistakenly associated with swearing alone. The disorder involves swearing in only a small percentage. Erik does not swear, at least not out of the blue and always with a reason, and has primarily motor tics. Tourette’s is often accompanied by additional features including difficulty regulating attention or hyperfocus and sensitivity to stimuli. It often happens that people with Tourette’s are (wrongly) diagnosed with a related disorder, such as ADHD, OCD or autism. They then do not receive a Tourette’s diagnosis, even though they do have Tourette’s. Acknowledgement starts with recognition. Want to learn more or connect with fellow sufferers? Go to:

Erik now knows which paths he wants to take and is completely content with them. What applies to Erik with Tourette’s, applies to anyone with a brain that functions supposedly differently. People with a ‘different’ brain are not always seen as full-fledged by either themselves or others. There are billions of different brains with many different brain pathways, leading to many different school and life paths. But what is different? And what is normal? Labeling a brain, a life path, a school career as normal has the effect of making it a norm that you can or cannot meet.

With Marcus Hikren, Erik and Simone want to make a valuable contribution to a society in which every brain matters. To this end, they enter into partnerships with foundations, primary schools and different art disciplines. You can read all about it in The Right Track.

Writing about Marcus Hikren in the media? Marcus understands that it’s nice not having to piece everything together yourself. That way you keep your brain paths free for the real thing.