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Five top Dutch musicians get together for a special collaboration, featuring the famous bassoon player and Save the Bassoon standard bearer Bram van Sambeek. The young quintet make their festival debut, performing a concert of improvisations on a selection of ‘backbones’, very basic compositions which fit on a single A4 page. The pieces are written by the musicians themselves and by guest composers who like to cross musical boundaries. They include jazz pianist Nik Bärtsch, indie classical composer Judd Greenstein and pop musicians Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Shara Nova (previously Worden) (My Brightest Diamond). It promises to be an exciting evening of extremes, ranging from electronic explosions to delicate chamber music, with a starring role for the bassoon.
Save the bassoon
Save the Bassoon will have its roaring finale this June. The campaign was launched during the 2015 Holland Festival to save the bassoon from decline and stimulate children to pick up a classical instrument. Thanks to all our partners, the initiative has been a great success throughout the country.
World-class bassoonists Pascal Gallois and Bram van Sambeek will give concerts at this year’s festival. Merlijn Twaalfhoven will write a new composition for more than one hundred bassoonists of all abilities, and everyone is invited to join in. There will also be a number of ancillary activities. You can take part in our bassoon course for absolute beginners and there’s a masterclass by Pascal Gallois for bassoon students. After all the media attention at the launch of Save the Bassoon last year, this will be a fitting finale to a successful campaign.
Marlies van Gangelen (oboe), Bram van Sambeek (bassoon) and Aart Strootman (guitar) have teamed up with Ernst Glerum (double bass) and Akim Moiseenkov (live electronics) to form the ensemble Perforator. At the 2016 Holland Festival, this quintet will make their stage debut with Backbone, a special concert crossing the boundaries between a range of genres and blurring the lines between composition and improvisation.
Perforator's members have asked six composers to each write a succinct musical idea which can serve as a backbone for their improvisations. This can be a groove, a melody, a chord progression or a set of improvisation rules – anything goes, as long as it fits on a single A4 page. Van Gangelen: 'Backbone is an attempt to work according to a new kind of creative process, in which the boundaries between composer and performer are not as strictly defined and where the end product is the resounding result of a co-creative process. It's also an attempt to bring together a range of very different sound worlds.'
Take musical omnivore Greg Saunier for instance. With his band Deerhoof, which he formed in 1994, he has to date produced thirteen albums which hop from style to style – from The Man, The King, The Girl's improvised noise punk to the orchestral synth arrangements on Green Cosmos and their latest release La Isla Bonita, with gritty grunge seamlessly turning into poppy electro beats and atmospheric soundscapes. Classically trained American singer Shara Nova (previously Worden) is equally versatile. Under the stage name My Brightest Diamond, she has made a significant impact as a singer-songwriter who can turn her hand to a range of different musical styles, as evidenced on her debut album Bring Me The Workhorse, on which she combines rock grooves with classical string arrangements and chamber music instrumentations. Julia Holter studied classical composition at the CalArts Conservatory in Los Angeles, yet on her debut album Tragedy she emerged as a writer of experimental dreamy pop songs in the spirit of Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush and Julianne Barwick. Her latest release Have You In My Wilderness marked her international breakthrough in 2014.
New York composer Judd Greenstein grew up listening to hip hop beats before he entered the Yale School of Music to focus on writing classical music. But pop has remained an important presence in his work, evidenced by the infectious pulse of his scores. Parisian Daniel Wohl now lives in New York as well, where he, in his own words, pursues his 'vision of new music which connects the endless sonic possibilities of today's world with [his] classical compositional background.' Wohl blurs the lines between electronic and acoustic instrumentation, blending both elements into a greater organic whole. Nicknamed 'the scientist of groove', Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch creates unparallelled Zen-funk with his Ronin ensemble layered, funky grooves with minimalist use of meditative repetition.
As Marlies van Gangelen says: 'I believe that a new musical genre is emerging, blending acoustic sounds with electronics and connecting contemporary composed music with indie, avant-garde rock and various electronica styles. It's a belief which is reflected in the music of the composers we have asked to contribute to Backbone.'
Marlies van Gangelen (1988) is founder of the Dutch Perforator ensemble as well as oboist with The Kyteman Orchestra and the Berlin ensemble stargaze. As part of the latter ensemble, she has signed a record deal with Transgressive Records and performed with the likes of Terry Riley, Bill Frisell, Nils Frahm and Julia Holter.
She has played with the London Improvisers Orchestra and collaborated with Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) as part of the Africa Express collective. After receiving her Bachelor's in Classical Oboe, Van Gangelen moved to London to follow a two-year Master's in Leadership at the Guildhall School for Music and Drama. This master's programme focuses on research of creative and artistic processes in various contexts. She graduated in the summer of 2014 on a score for 'deconstructed oboe', praised as 'an exceptionally beautiful idea' by the examination board. This marked the start of her international career as an experimental, improvising oboist. Using unconventional playing techniques and electronics, Van Gangelen strives to produce a broad palette of new musical forms of expression. Supported by a development grant awarded by the Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst (Amsterdam Art Fund) she currently takes composition lessons with Martin Fondse and improvisation lessons with Markus Stockhausen.
When he was still a student, bassoonist Bram van Sambeek (1980) won first prize at the Prinses Christina Councours and the national final of the Stichting Jong Muziektalent Nederland's music competition. In 2009 he was the first bassoonist to receive the Nederlandse Muziekprijs, the most prestigious honour in Dutch music. From 2002 to 2011, Van Sambeek was Principal Bassoonist at the Rotterdam Philharmonic. In this period he also gave frequent guest performances with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Since 2011, he has focused on a career as a soloist and chamber musician. He regularly plays with the Prazak Quartet and the Matangi Quartet, as well as being a member of the Schulhoff Trio and the Orlando Quintet. As a soloist Van Sambeek recorded Bassoon Concertos (2009) and Bassoon-Kaleidoscope (2012) on Brilliant Classics. He's also planning to record bassoon concertos by the Finnish composers Sebastian Fagerlund and Kalevi Aho on the BIS label. Van Sambeek covers a broad repertoire and with his exceptional technique and appealing stage presence attracts a wide audience. This is why he was asked to be ambassador of the Save the Bassoon Campaign, which was co-launched by the Holland Festival in 2015. Van Sambeek is also artistic director of the 2017 Liquid Music Festival in Amsterdam.
Aart Strootman (1987) is joint artistic leader of Dutch ensemble F.C. Jongbloed, along with percussionist Arnold Marinissen. F.C. Jongbloed is an ensemble for contemporary music premiering work by Dutch composition students as well as performing modern contemporary repertoire. With Bram Stadhouders, he forms Strootman / Stadhouders., a guitar duo who blend improvised and minimal music. In 2012. he formed the minimal chamber metal band TEMKO. He also regularly performs with stargaze, Lunatree and Ensemble Klang. In 2012, Strootman was awarded the Brandstof Talent Award by Brabants Kenniscentrum Kunst en Cultuur (Brabant Province Centre for Arts and Culture) and in 2014 he received a grant from the Nederlands Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten (Dutch Performing Arts Fund) to take part in composition masterclasses by Nik Bärtsch in Zurich, Steven Mackey at Princeton University and Georg Friedrich Haas at Columbia University. Strootman has performed as a soloist with Britten Sinfonia, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of the German federal state of Hesse's broadcasting corporation (Hessischer Rundfunk) and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Strootman is a composer with the EELT theatre collective. He's also written music for the F.C. Jongbloed ensemble, the DissonArt ensemble, TEMKO and several soloists.
Ernst Glerum (1955) studied double bass with Henk Guldemond at the Sweelinck Conservatory. He played with the ASKO Ensemble as well as several improvised music ensembles, including those of J.C. Tans, Sean Bergin, Nedly Elstak, Hans Dulfer, Theo Loevendie and Curtis Clark. He's also played with the likes of Art Hodes, Teddy Edwards, Bud Shank, Benny Maupin, Jimmy Knepper, Uri Caine, Don Byron, Henry Threadgill, John Zorn and George Lewis - often joined by Han Bennink. In the 1990's, Glerum joined Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink's Instant Composers Pool. He's been in bands with pianist Guus Janssen, saxophonist Paul Termos, pianist Michiel Borstlap and Available Jelly. Recently he performed in projects by Benjamin Herman, Ruben Hein, Fabrizio Puglisi and Paul van Kemenade's International Quintet. As a composer, Glerum has written for J.C.Tans & The Rockets, the Amsterdam String Trio, the Ebony String Quartet and for several of his own projects, such as Glerum Omnibus. He's also composed music for a number of films and TV productions, including Robin van Erven Dorens' Lagonda and Annegien Haselager and Niki Boomken's Stad aan de haven. Glerum teaches double bass at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 2009 he received the prestigious VPRO/Boy Edgar Award. That same year his trio with Bennink and Borstlap received an Edison for their CD Monk.
Akim Moiseenkov studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory's Pop Department before joining artrock band Stopcontact as a singer and keyboard player in 2011. Moiseenkov played Hammond on Dutch singer Herman van Veen's album Vandaag. He's one half of Switchboard, an electropop duo who play on self-built synthesisers. As a composer, Moiseenkov has specialised in electronic music as well as writing film, theatre and dance music. He has worked with choreographer Audrey Apers, composed for theatre ensembles RAST and #BAM, made documentary music for the Dutch Children's Books Museum in the Hague and has written music for Russian TV series Fit4All and Sacha Zhiv. Since 2013, Moiseenkov is a teacher at the Dutch School of Popular Music.
- Nik Bärtsch,
Marlies van Gangelen,
Bram van Sambeek,
Shara Nova (previously Worden)
- performed by
- Perforator Ensemble:
Marlies van Gangelen (oboe/alt oboe, delta harp, effects)
Bram van Sambeek (bassoon, effects)
Aart Strootman (electric guitar, effects)
Ernst Glerum (double bass)
Akim Moiseenkov (joystick and other electronics)