“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

At the end of my thirtythird season as a freelance violinist I am looking back at a creative and diverse period filled with orchestra work, chamber music, improvisation, quests for suitable texts for the trio Rara Avis, making arrangements for crossover projects, searching for original stages and developing programmes with the great violinist Tinta von Altenstadt. Riding Zhuang Zhou’s sun and moon with an open mind.

To go back a bit further: 2022-2023 started with the rehearsals for the production Shadows from The National Ballet, after which I took part in the production ‘7 Deaths of Maria Callas’ with the  LUDWIG Orchestra and Marina Abramovic in Carré Amsterdam. I participated in the opera ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ at the Dutch National Opera, and in the meantime developing literary concerts in libraries in Amsterdam with Tinta and the actor Sander Commandeur. We put together concerts with texts of contemporary Dutch writers intertwined with all shapes and forms of suitable music.

Season 2023-204 was filled with productions for the National Ballet and improvised concerts with Rara Avis (Roode bioscoop and Ramses Shaffy Huis). Currently I’m setting up a practice as a teacher and also getting a series of literary concerts ready for performances at secondary schools. I also play chamber music regularly with colleagues. On June the 22th I shall partake in a jury for a friendly competition for youth orchestras, de Nationale Orkestspelen.

Next season is filling up with several productions with the Ballet Orchestra for the National Ballet and Nederlands Danstheater, teaching, chamber music and improvisation. I have developed my own idiom in improvisation, based on twentieth century composers such as Alban Berg, Bela Bartók mixed with all the music and sounds I have ever heard. I strongly believe we all have our own soundtrack somewhere in our souls. The point is to get that personal story out.

So, my work mainly consists of playing in classical orchestras and ensembles, and since about twenty years I have been developing free improvising skills as well (see: impro). Since autumn 2017 Jodi Gilbert , Albert van Veenendaal and I form the trio 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 been released on the Donemus Crossover label as well as Bandcamp and all major streamers. The CD release was in april 2023 on minimal damage recordings and we are very happy that Edwin van Munster has once again produced an eye-catching  CD cover.

We have received some great reviews, for example  from the German audiomagazine Bad Alchemy: “Jodi Gilbert transforms the whole material into something like art pop, something quite different from artificially dumbed-down or tirillized art songs. Violin and piano are on the move in a modernist way, with enough know-how and esprit to shake the right thing out of their sleeves, from bitterly tremolated emotional tremors and shimmering wisping to the most pointed i-fiddles, with a thoughtfully applied hand, small hatchings on the piano wire or cross-keys to plonking grips or tonal preperation. Just great. [BA 119 rbd]


BIMHUIS concert

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How Do I Listen

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Bach waits for Tom

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And also…

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.