Friday, October 28, 2016

Guus Janssen - 1980 - On The Line

Guus Janssen 
On The Line 

01. Zwart Wit 3:44
02. 6 Ft 2 4:45
03. Saartje 8:17
04. Brake 4:00
05. Kinheim 4:47
06. Fifth's Avenue 5:13
07. Metro Oom 3:34
08. Soft Pillow 4:32
09. Inflation 4:35

Guus Janssen (1951) studied piano and composition at the Sweelinck Academy of Music in Amsterdam. His music is difficult to categorize. It can be a composed improvisation (Brake for pianosolo) or an improvised composition (parts from his Violin Concerto or his opera Noach). Music is like life itself, sometimes it asks for fast decisions and sometimes it needs to be thought over a lot.

As a pianist and harpsichordist he performed in various groupings with musicians from John Zorn to Gidon Kremer. Since the early 1980’s he has led his own ensembles, ranging from pianotrios to 11 piece band and opera orchestra.

As a soloist, playing mainly his own compositions and improvisations, he has appeared at a lot of international festivals. In addition he has performed with many of the leading Dutch ensembles and orchestras.

Janssen’s achievements in the field of jazz and improvised music have been widely acclaimed. It was for them that he received the Boy Edgar Award, 1981.

His compositions, quite apart from the pieces written for the Janssen ensembles, range from piano music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely played by, amongst others, the Kronos Quartet, the Schönberg Ensemble, the Ebony Band and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.

In recognition of his standing and quality as a composer, Janssen won the Matthijs Vermeulen Award, 1984.

So far Janssen has composed four opera’ s in collaboration with Friso Haverkamp: ‘Faust’s Licht’ (1988/1993), ‘Noach’ (1994), ‘Hier' (2000) and 'Blue, a Pinnocchio in reverse' (2010). ‘Noach’ has been staged again in Amsterdam by Dutch National Opera in January 1999.

In february 2008 his work 'Verstelwerk' had its wildly acclaimed New York premiere in Zankell Hall performed by the Riverside Orchestra.

In 2008 his new pianosolo cd was released by GeestgrondenCd under the title 'Out of frame'. It was received very enthusiastic by the dutch press.

His pianoconcerto 'Vrije Tijd' (2011) is nominated for the dutch 'Toonzettersprijs 2012'.
In 2013 the Radio Kamer Filharmonie played his piece 'Ballroom Rithmix' with the composer at the electric organ in one of her last projects.

Recently Janssen was honoured with the prestigious Johan Wagenaar Award for his whole oeuvre.

Guus Janssen (Heiloo, 1951) is a Dutch composer and pianist. He is a somewhat lesser known figure coming from the Dutch free improvisation and jazz scene. Janssen is known to approach music in a very open way and to blur the borders of  musical genres like classical, jazz, impro or popular music. He is a frequent member of the famous Dutch impro-jazz ICP Orchestra. Since the early seventies he has been collaborating with most of the renowned Dutch improvisation musicians like Harry Sparnaay, Theo Loevendie, Han Bennink, Ab Baars and others. Nowadays Janssen is still involved in many musical projects.

On this album Janssen displays his solo piano improvisation efforts. There are lots of unexpected piano movements and manoeuvres present combined with pieces written by himself. On The Line came out on the great Dutch record label of improvised music Claxon which featured a.o. records by Michel Waisvisz, Maarten Altena and Moniek Toebosch. All of that stuff is really worth it to check out and a must for fans of Dutch impro music.

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