Thomas Zwijsen

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Thomas Zwijsen
Thomas Zwijsen guitarist.jpg
Background information
Birth nameThomas Zwijsen
Born (1988-04-25) April 25, 1988 (age 31)
Antwerp, Belgium
Genres Classical, Flamenco, Heavy metal, instrumental rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion
Instruments Classical Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Years active2007–present
LabelsBlacklake, Yellowdog, King records
Associated acts Blaze Bayley Derek Sherinian Kee Marcello David Readman Damian Wilson
Members(Studio & Live bands vary according to project)
  • Nathanael Taekema (Drums)
  • Anne Bakker (Violin)
  • Anton Zwijsen (Bodhran, Bass)
  • Rosie Taekema (Cello)
  • Raoul Soentken (Percussion)

Thomas Zwijsen is a Dutch/Belgian (Flemish) classical acoustic and Heavy Metal guitarist. He is known for his arrangements of Iron Maiden (and a selection of other artists') songs for classical guitar both on YouTube since 2007 and with his 2013 and 2014 albums "Nylon Maiden", "Nylonized" and "Nylon Maiden II". Since 2011, he has worked closely with ex Iron Maiden & Wolfsbane frontman Blaze Bayley, co-composing Bayley's 2012 album The King of Metal and 2013 released Russian Holiday E.P. In 2015 he released an album in Flamenco/fusion style consisting entirely of his own compositions, entitled "Divide & Unite".

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, sometimes informally called Holland, is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low German is also spoken.

The Flemish or Flemings are a Germanic ethnic group native to Flanders, in modern Belgium, who speak Flemish Dutch. They are one of two principal ethnic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons. Flemish people make up the majority of the Belgian population. Historically, all inhabitants of the medieval County of Flanders were referred to as "Flemings", irrespective of the language spoken. The contemporary region of Flanders comprises a part of this historical county, as well as parts of the medieval duchy of Brabant and the medieval county of Loon.

Iron Maiden English heavy metal band

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-nine albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.


He has toured extensively both with Blaze, as a solo performer and since 2013 with the Master Guitar Tour, [1] bringing him across Europe, South America and to Dubai. Thomas is particularly popular on YouTube, having reached more than 17 million views and 70.000+ subscribers as of 2017. This is a significant amount of traffic, considering his genre.


Thomas Zwijsen started taking music lessons at age 9. During his teens he studied Classical Guitar at several conservatories in Belgium and the Netherlands. He also played in a local band called Sarcadia. [2]

From 2007, Zwijsen began creating YouTube videos. [3] His main focus was making arrangements of Iron Maiden songs for classical guitar. He also made arrangements of Dream Theater and Deep Purple songs, to name a few. These videos gained in popularity, leading to over 6 million hits and 27,000 subscribers as of March 2015.

YouTube Video-sharing service owned by Google

YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.

Dream Theater American progressive metal band

Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John Petrucci, John Myung and Mike Portnoy while they attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. They subsequently dropped out of their studies to concentrate further on the band that would ultimately become Dream Theater. Though a number of lineup changes followed, the three original members remained together until September 8, 2010, when Portnoy left the band. Mike Mangini was announced as the new permanent drummer on April 29, 2011.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.

Due to his online popularity, Thomas was inspired to create a solo album with 11 of his Iron Maiden arrangements, called Nylon Maiden. He collaborated closely with drummer Nathanael Taekema and Edgetip Studio in Arnhem, Netherlands. Later, he attracted interest from former Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane frontman Blaze Bayley, who performed guest vocals on "The Clansman". This co-operation led to Thomas joining Blaze during his composition and production process for the 2012 album The King of Metal , and its subsequent tour. [4] Additional musicians on the Nylon Maiden album were Anne Bakker (violin), Nathanael Taekema (drums) and Tony Newton (Voodoo Six, bass).

Arnhem City and municipality in Gelderland, Netherlands

Arnhem is a city and municipality situated in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of Gelderland and located on both banks of the rivers Nederrijn and Sint-Jansbeek, which was the source of the city's development. Arnhem had a population of 156,600 in 2017 and is one of the larger cities of the Netherlands. The municipality is part of the Arnhem–Nijmegen metropolitan area which has a combined 736,500 inhabitants.

Blaze Bayley English singer, lyricist, and songwriter

Blaze Bayley is an English singer, musician, songwriter, and lyricist. He was the lead singer of Wolfsbane from 1984 to 1994, and currently from 2010 following reunions in 2007 and 2009. Bayley was also the lead singer for Iron Maiden from 1994 to 1999. Since then, he has embarked on a solo career.

<i>The King of Metal</i> 2012 studio album by Blaze Bayley

The King of Metal is the sixth studio album by English heavy metal vocalist Blaze Bayley, released in 2012. This is the first album that Blaze recorded where he considers himself a "Solo Artist", having parted ways with the Blaze Bayley band that recorded The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror.

The King of Metal tour with Blaze Bayley took him across Europe and further cemented an ongoing musical relationship with the singer. This led to a subsequent European acoustic tour featuring only Blaze and Thomas, later developing into a world tour for 2013 in which Zwijsen would open with a Nylon Maiden set list, followed by a full acoustic Blaze show afterwards. Anne Bakker (violinist) was also present for the Brazilian [5] leg of the tour.

Supporting his 2012/2013 album release, Zwijsen also toured with Maiden uniteD, the all-acoustic Maiden tribute project featuring singer Damian Wilson (Threshold) and guitarist Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), on most of their European dates in November and December 2012. [6]

During 2013, Thomas Zwijsen continued his world tour with Blaze, taking him to South America, Europe and Dubai. In spring 2013, his Nylon Maiden album was released in Japan [7] including 3 bonus tracks under the Japanese record label King Records. [8]

Spring 2013 also saw the release of a collaborative E.P. by Blaze Bayley & Thomas Zwijsen, called Russian Holiday . [9]

In early 2014, Zwijsen released Nylonized, a 12 track album featuring an eclectic mix of song arrangements (ranging from The Who to Adele), original compositions and guest artists. Among the twelve guest musicians on the album are: Kee Marcello (Europe - guitar), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion - piano), David Readman (Pink Cream 69 - vocals), Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace – vocals), and Blaze Bayley (Iron Maiden – vocals). 3 original compositions are featured on the album, co-written with drummer Nathanael Taekema, including a 9minute flamenco-metal opera called "Perfect Storm". [10]

In 2014, Thomas Zwijsen released Nylon Maiden II, the sequel to his first album. Featuring a new selection of popular Iron Maiden songs (and "Doctor Doctor" by UFO) arranged for classical guitar, he also showcased a couple of original compositions: "Nylon Madness" and "The Dream Is True". [11]

Zwijsen released his first album entirely of original work on October 3, 2015. [12] Divide & Unite contains 11 original compositions in a flamenco fusion style, supported on Drums and co-composed by Nathanael Taekema for six of the tracks. Other musicians appearing on the album are Anne Bakker (Violin, Viola), Rosie Taekema (Cello), Raoul Soentken (Percussion, mixing and mastering) and a guest appearance by American flamenco guitarist (and Master Guitar tour co-artist) Ben Woods. The songs display Thomas' classical background, as well as subtle influences of (progressive) rock and metal. An Extended Production by the name of "Treasure Island" was released simultaneously containing 4 tracks plus hidden bonus of various rock arrangements for classical guitar and trio.

Guitar Technique

Thomas studied classical and flamenco guitar at music conservatoire. This has influenced his playing style, which is a unique mix of classical elements and his Heavy/Progressive Metal roots. Thomas' technique reflects an interesting and often technical fusion between these influences.


Thomas Zwijsen is currently (2013) endorsed by: Ortega Guitars, The Guitar Villa and Griffin Allstar. [13]


Studio albums

With Blaze Bayley
2012 The King of Metal Co-composed with Blaze
2013Russian Holiday E.P.Co-composed with Blaze
2016 Infinite Entanglement Acoustic Guitar on "What Will Come"
2018December Wind
Solo Albums
2013Nylon MaidenClassical guitar arrangements of Iron Maiden hits
2014NylonizedArrangements from several artists and original compositions ft. special guests
2014Nylon Maiden IIClassical guitar arrangements of Iron Maiden hits & original compositions
2015Divide & Unite11 original virtuosic compositions in flamenco/fusion style
2015Treasure Island E.P.4 arranged rock songs (Iron Maiden, Queen, KISS, Judas Priest) plus a secret track
2016Preserved in TimeDouble CD Nylon Maiden album with special guest Blaze Bayley
2018Nylon MetalDouble CD with acoustic arrangements of various Iron Maiden, KISS, Metallica, Deep Purple, Helloween, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater songs

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  1. "Master Guitar Tour homepage".
  2. "Thomas Zwijsen official website bio".
  3. "Thomas Zwijsen's youtube channel".
  4. "Blabbermouth excerpts from an interview with Blaze mentioning Thomas as co-composer". Archived from the original on February 21, 2013.
  5. "Tour news article on bravewords metal ezine".
  6. "Yellowdog label news regarding support of Maiden UniteD".
  7. "Blabbermouth article tour tribute to Clive Burr and Japan release".
  8. "Nylon Maiden signed to King Records Japan".
  9. "Blaze Bayley official website".
  10. "Nylonized album release".
  11. "Nylon Maiden 2 album".
  12. "Divide & Unite album release".
  13. "official homepage Thomas Zwijsen".