“The perfect man climbs the wind and the clouds, he rides the sun and moon, and wanders beyond the confines of the Universe”
Zhuang Zou 369-286 BC
I was looking for this beautiful text on a moment when I normally would have been playing a matinee in the orchestra pit of the Muziektheater in Amsterdam. The series of lockdowns have changed our lives; new forces emerged and old ones stayed the same. In a season that would have been my 30th anniversary as a full time freelancer I have noticed once more that my greatest loves still haven’t really changed: playing in orchestras, making chamber music, develop my skills as an improvisor, looking for inspiring texts for my trio Rara Avis, arranging violin parts for special projects and looking for suitable and special places to give concerts. Days were long and empty like a floating spacecraft, and filled with what was practically possible. Loads of new plans were conjured up, looking past Zhuang Zou’s sun and moon at the future around the corner. Luckily by now a lot of restrictions have been lifted, and society is opening up again.
My work largely consists of playing in classical orchestras and ensembles, and since about twenty years I have been developing improvising skills as well. Since autumn 2017 Jodi Gilbert , Albert van Veenendaal and I form a trio named Rara Avis. The music on the album “How Do I Listen” (named after a poem from Hafez) is totally improvised and we find inspiration in many different texts from e.g. Hafez, Yosa Buson, F Scott Fitzgerald, a rose catalogue, a newspaper headline and Jodi Gilbert’s texts. We are very proud that our debut album has recently been released on the Donemus Crossover label.
Future plans consist of playing for orchestras, booking concerts for Rara Avis, keeping on developing plans for my “violin duo on the go” with Tinta von Altenstadt, setting up improvisation workshops for classically trained musicians (all levels), and broadening the horizon of text inspired music making with a range of musicians. I love to improvise using the classical idiom in a free setting, and as this offers a great amount of flexibility it also opens a world of possibilities in the field of education and audience participation, especially combined with the use of text.
The beautiful image on this homepage has been designed by Edwin van Munster. It is in fact a remastered photo of the violin that I have had on loan from the Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Foundation since 1990. This picture expresses my love for this violin, my gratitude to the Foundation, and the interest I have for combining old and new worlds. Edwin designed the contemporary translation of the beauty of the wood into a digital image and also designed the beautiful cover of our album “How do I listen”. His work can be found on Flickr and on Whatyouseeiswhatyouget, and he is part of Crashlog, an electronic music collaboration with the artist Arnout Killian.