James McVinnie plays on the Maarschalkerweerd organ in Het Concertgebouw

Holland Festival Proms - Organ Prom

Tom Jenkinson, James McVinnie

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Tom Jenkinson is famous as Squarepusher for his rapid and unsettling beats. He is also a phenomenal bass player and has been fascinated by the organ from an early age. In this concert, he shares the stage with James McVinnie, who was an organist at Westminster Abbey, and is also a virtuoso performer of contemporary music. McVinnie has worked with composers like Nico Muhly and Oneohtrix Point Never (Holland Festival, 2014). The programme includes an earlier organ work Jenkinson wrote for McVinnie, as well as a piece written especially for this Proms concert: a duet for organ and bass guitar, in which Jenkinson is also playing. McVinnie also performs a rarely heard organ work by Philip Glass and an early work by organ giant Olivier Messiaen. 


Tom Jenkinson (1975)
selection from: Solo Electric Bass 1

Tom Jenkinson (1975)
Space Frame Suite (2016)

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Le banquet céleste (1928)

Philip Glass (1937)
Mad Rush (1979)

Tom Jenkinson (1975)
new work (2017)
for electric bass and organ
worls premiere

Holland Festival Proms

For a whole day, from noon until late at night, there will be a vibrant mini-festival in The Concertgebouw. The Holland Festival Proms consists of five concerts and an installation. From a concert with virtual reality to the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and the swinging music of The Nile Project

From the brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen playing Karlheinz Stockhausen to an opera-installation by the Indonesian artist Jompet Kuswidananto. The day is being hosted by comedian and television presenter Klaas van der Eerden. In the intermissions there will be performances by conservatory students, as well as short introductions to the concerts. For only ten euros per concert – or less for those who buy a day pass – you can hear the latest and most adventurous music from around the world. There’s an afterparty that night for everyone who can’t get enough of it.


Background information

Over the last hundred years, avant-garde composers have been rediscovering the organ. In this concert, organist James McVinnie will be performing compositions by Olivier Messiaen, Philip Glass and Tom Jenkinson, the electronic dance pioneer more commonly known as Squarepusher.

Two of Jenkinson's pieces will be performed in this concert. As a child, Jenkinson was fascinated by the organ, which he saw as a type of precursor to the synthesizer. He also believes that the physical impact of organ music has a great deal in common with the physical nature of dance music. Jenkinson often seeks inspiration from avant-garde composers for his experimental dance projects. This influence is reflected in these pieces for organ. Space Frame Suite (2016) comprises eight parts, in which the fast and complex rhythms that characterise Jenkinson's dance music are alternated with more static passages. Jenkinson mainly explores the organ's flute register. The concert will be concluded with the world premiere of a new work by Jenkinson for bass guitar and organ. It will be performed by McVinnie and  the composer, who has impressed audiences with  his bass guitar skills during performances as Squarepusher and in his band Shobaleader One.    


McVinnie and Jenkinson will also be performing Le banquet celeste (1928) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). Messiaen is one of the most important organ composers of the last century. The French composer, who was the organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris for 61 years, was one of the most important teachers of post-war avant-garde music. Although Le banquet celeste is one of his earliest works, the main features of Messiaen's style are already noticeable. The extremely slow tempo and the static, impressionist chords are used to express the sublime experience of the Divine. Also on the programme is the work from another pioneer of twentieth-century music, Mad Rush (1973) by Philip Glass (1937). Glass, together with colleagues such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich, is considered one of the founders of minimal music. Just like in the rest of his oeuvre, repetitive structures also play an important role in Mad Rush.



Organist James McVinnie’s boundless approach to music has lead him to collaborations with some of the world’s leading composers, producers and performers. Nico Muhly, Tom Jenkinson/Squarepusher, artist Martin Creed, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, Shara Nova, David Lang and Bryce Dessner (amongst many others) have written works for him. 

James McVinnie was Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey between 2008 and 2011, where he played for regular services and directed the Abbey's world-famous choir. He also played at many state occasions and special services of national importance, including the 2011 Royal Wedding. Prior to this appointment, he held similar positions at St Paul’s Cathedral, St Albans Cathedral, and Clare College, Cambridge. His teachers were Sarah Baldock, Thomas Trotter and Hans Fagius. He made his debut at London’s Royal Festival Hall in March 2014, giving one of the six reopening recitals on the refurbished iconic 1954 Harrison & Harrison organ. He made his solo debut in the Salzburg Festival at age 26 performing with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under Ivor Bolton. James McVinnie is a member of Icelandic record label Bedroom Community. ‘Cycles’, his debut release of music written for him by Nico Muhly was released on this label in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. In 2014, he was a guest at the Holland Festival and performed work by the composers Nico Muhly and David T. Little in two separate concerts. Other 2017 season highlights include performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Reykjavík Festival, at London’s Barbican Centre, at the Paris Philharmonie and a collaboration with the electronic music duo Darkstar.


Tom Jenkinson (Chelmsford, Sussex, 1975), more commonly known as Squarepusher, is a pioneer in the British electronic dance music scene. As the son of a jazz musician, he became fascinated with experimental jazz at a young age. Another source of inspiration was the organ music that he became acquainted with at Chelmsford Cathedral. In the mid-1990s, Jenkinson made his breakthrough as Squarepusher and went on to become of the most important representatives of drum and bass, breakbeat, acid house, IDM and now jazz. Squarepusher's music is characterised by the combination of electronics and live elements, such as Jenkinson's bass guitar parts and his spectacular live shows. The fast beats and darks, psychedelic soundscapes that he creates characterise his music.  

In previous albums such as Feed me Weird Things (1996), Hard Normal Daddy (1997) and Music is Rotted one Note (1998), the influence of free jazz and fusion jazz has a strong presence. From Go Plastic (2001) onwards, self-designed software, synthesizers, electronic media and robotic instrumentalists on albums such as Do You Know Squarepusher (2002), Ultravisitor (2004), Ufabulum (2012) and Music for Robots (2014)become increasingly important, and Squarepusher is inspired by avant-garde composers such as Stockhausen and Ligeti. In addition, he works together with classical musicians and ensembles. In 2003, he went on tour with the London Sinfonietta. In 2015, he toured with the Metropole Orkest. In 2016, Jenkinson wrote the Space Frame Suite for organ, performed by James McVinnie, in which the organ is presented as the precursor to the synthesizer. Jenkinson is currently touring with the band Shobaleader One, with whom he recorded an album in 2010.



Philip Glass, Tom Jenkinson, Olivier Messiaen
music performed by
James McVinnie, Tom Jenkinson

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