vrijdag 28 december 2007

Scientist and author Lewis Thomas once suggested how the people of Ear...

Scientist and author Lewis Thomas once suggested how the people of Earth should communicate with the universe: "I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later."

maandag 24 december 2007

Someone once asked Jean Cocteau, "Suppose your house were on fire...

Someone once asked Jean Cocteau, "Suppose your house were on fire and you could remove only one thing. What would you take?"

Cocteau considered, then said, "I would take the fire."

zondag 23 december 2007

This poem was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hos...

This poem was written by a terminally
ill young girl in a New York Hospital.
It was sent by a doctor -
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic
flight? Or gazed at the sun into
the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say hi
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your
day, It is like an unopened
gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

From: http://fairfieldsbooks.com/2007/12/22/slow-dance/

http://www

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1SVBQaoCM

vrijdag 21 december 2007

donderdag 20 december 2007

After some days of lots of stuff to do, especially conservatorywise I ...

After some days of lots of stuff to do, especially conservatorywise I am free to study for my recital.
This afternoon rehearsal with my pianist (not Wijnand due to his injury, but Hans Eijsackers).
Sunday we will have a small christmas party and tomorrow studying and market to buy some food for the party. We asked everyone to bring some food so we will have a tapas-like buffet.
Listening organ synmphony (no 3) by Saint-Saens now on last fm. Last fm is a revolution for me. I am discovering lots of new music (well, new to me!) on it. Now I am listening the Haydn similar artists channel (haven't heard any Haydn yet though!).
Speaking about Haydn. My quartet had a lesson with Metz again yesterday which was great fun. He has the ability to not listen to the instrument but only to the music, which can be confronting at times. Register changes can be heard as accents still sometimes which is something we need to be aware of aparantly still!
It feels so great to be playing Haydn with my quartet. I met Louis Andriessen yesterday and he said it takes courage to do that. Maybe, but I feel we have to do it, and I think the other boys feel the same way. It is music that we have to do right now. And we try to do it with care. We are studying it now and performing it next season (08-09) so we have some time to get it right!

vrijdag 14 december 2007

ReligiousShit Taoist - Shit happens

Religious Shit

Taoist - Shit happens.

Buddhist - Shit happening is an illusion.

Hindu - This shit has happened before.

Moslem - It is the will of Allah that Shit happens.

Confucian - Confucius say, “Shit happens.”

Zen - What is the sound of shit happening?

Catholic - If shit happens, you deserve it.

Jew - Why does this shit always happen to us?

Protestant - Let shit happen to someone else.

Atheist - Shit happens for no reason.

Agnostic - Maybe shit happens, maybe it doesn’t.

Baptists - Once you’re saved, shit doesn’t happen unless you backslide.

Jehovah’s Witnesses - Let us in and we’ll tell you why shit happens.

Rastafarian - Let’s smoke that shit.

donderdag 13 december 2007

Yesterday was the first night of our new concert series in the Ysbreke...

Yesterday was the first night of our new concert series in the Ysbreker at the Amstel in Amsterdam. We had a great night and the audience seemed very enthusiastic as well. Our intent was to create a less formal and more relaxed concert series with good music and good musicians. Not necessarily new music, or being hip, but just good music, whatever music, music that we feel strongly about.
We hope to reach people in their thirties and we hope to be competition for a night's out. Hence the concert space with a bar in the same building. And it worked, most people stayed until late.
I did another version of Berio VIIb... which was ok, anyway better than last week. It's a difficult piece. I think I did better after the session with Anner Bylsma and Vera Beths. I tried to make more characters (a word very often used by the soprano player of my quartet' He thinks a lot of times in characters and he's right!) in stead of focusing on the text solely. I tried to read more between the notes...

Oh and, check it out: lastfm

Oh and, check it out: lastfm.com Lots of free streaming music internet radio. You can decide what you listen to! Great stuff, very addictive!

maandag 10 december 2007

Two nights of average 10 hours of sleep and I feel more rested

Two nights of average 10 hours of sleep and I feel more rested. I guess I demand a lot and that tires me out. I should take care. I keep reinventing the wheel apparantly.
Yesterday on tv this quote: "Creativity is an act of rebellion". I think that is very true and that is something I want to work with. To try other things, to keep searching. My teaching is big help with this. I experiment with my students and keep trying out things that might work. Instead of being a "schoolmaster" and prescribing how things should be done. (Thank you Anner Bylsma!)

zondag 9 december 2007

December: Sinterklaas, Christman and of course my recital in the Conce...

December: Sinterklaas, Christman and of course my recital in the Concertgebouw (of you wanna be there: hurry it might be already sold out...).
Today a day off, studying, relaxing, reading in Anner;s book about the cello suites (Bach). Great stuff, check it otu: Bach, the Fencing Master. Although it's quite hard reading if you don't know the man and how he speaks.
I transposed three movements of the third cello suite one half step higher (Dd sounding) so it fits my alto. I don't to do it on bari because I want to be able to play it anywhere. Besides, studying more bari will cost me my back for sure...
I have been a bit sick the past ten days. But still working, so it was something that kept on going and never really stopped. I never got a chance to go to the gym because of that, afraid of getting too sick. But today I feel better!
Wednesday I have a small interview in NRC Next and maybe NRC Handelsblad

zaterdag 24 november 2007

Bert vd Brink's podcast is great: http://www

Bert vd Brink's podcast is great: http://www.concertzender.nl/podcast.php?cast=4.
Especially his rendition of Mercy Mercy is fantastic!
Paste this url in itunes.

A good quote I found and something I am working on: Aristotle consider...

A good quote I found and something I am working on:
Aristotle considered metaphor a sign of genius, and believed that the individual who had the capacity to perceive resemblances between two separate areas of existence and link them together was a person of special gifts.

woensdag 14 november 2007

Playing The Old Castle with Residentie Orchestra this week

Playing The Old Castle with Residentie Orchestra this week. I am experimenten with how to play the piece. I am trying not play too sostenuto but to make the notes rounder, to have more development on the individual notes. To be more flexible.
The problem is that we tend to play music like we have always heard it. The Old Castle is always played very tenuto and legato. Usually there's a reason for why we play things we play, but it can be good to sometimes doubt that way. And I must say, I like it in this case. It makes the melody more fun to play and it's more relaxing for me as well. The timing is more fluent in my case and I don't have to worry so much about whether I am in the right time and even about the sound!
The complete piece accompanies a children's performance which is absolutely great! Check it out this weekend on Sunday in the Hague. It's great fun!

zaterdag 10 november 2007

In Luxembourg right now

In Luxembourg right now. I was a judge for a European competition here and I heard some great musicans passing through. Every candidate had 20 minutes and we listened to about 14. There also was a obligatory work which was not so good in my opinion and that made it hard to listen to it14 times. Of course all the candidates played much better in their composition of choice.
I am waiting for my ride now to take me back to the Netherlands, fortunately I found someone to take me because I would have been stuck in the train for almost 7 hours!

dinsdag 6 november 2007

All up and running again

All up and running again. Studying teaching performing and feeling pretty well rested. Today I have a whole day off to do whatever I want. My Powerbook crashed last week but it is back and running again, I have to pick it up today, probably without any data loss.
I composed some notes again yesterday which feels pretty good. I will need probably like a year to finish the piece if I ever finish it but it feels good to create some notes every now and then. I took the decision to try it because of so many bad contemporary notes I have to play being a saxophone player. But I have to admit, it is quite hard :-)

Sunday I played with Clazz, a small big band consisting of jazz and classical players. It was a lot of fun and very inspiring. I discovered a composer who wrote a great piece: Eyes to Wonder by Ilja Reijngoud. I just wrote him an email to check if he wants to write something for me (www.iljareijngoud.com). He is a jazz trombone player who also composes. I found out that jazz players and composers are sometimes more educated in writing harmony and melody and rhtythm... which is still what I am looking for in music...

woensdag 31 oktober 2007

Life has started again

Life has started again. I was sick and feel better now. We had a lesson with Stefan Metz of the former Orlando Quartet today. The lesson was 3 hours and it was great! We played a Haydn string quartet. Weird on saxophone probably. But it worked quite well, Metz thought so as well!
This afternoon is for study. Berio Sequenza and more Bach. My students are studyin Bach as well, so I have to keep up with them. It's quite interesting to hear them play Bach in completely different ways. I learn a lot as well!

vrijdag 26 oktober 2007

Well, back from tour, but I got sick

Well, back from tour, but I got sick... I am writing this in bed on the laptop... Flue or something. I guess it all demanded more from me than I thought... nothing much else to write. Except actually that I went to see Victor Wooten in the Melweg which was great. I was still ok then...

Exploring the internet in bed

Exploring the internet in bed...
nothing else to do...
Time to remind everyone who reads that this is one of the most beautiful pieces in the world!!!:

zaterdag 20 oktober 2007

Yesterday we had a great concert in NY state

Yesterday we had a great concert in NY state. Can't remember the name of the city but it was the Saint Bonaventure University. We played great. I wish we had a recording running along. All of us just knew that every note was in its place. These moments are so rare. We had a good crowd as well. 300 People, full house!

Today we did a children's concert. Tomorrow a concert in Long Island and Monday three children's concerts again. Then Monday night we go back home. It's a great tour so far. Things start getting musically interesting when you do it really often. You can start to play around and let go more. You lose track of time. All that matters is the music, during the day, but also of course in the concert itself. A great feeling!

donderdag 18 oktober 2007

With Amstel Quartet in Buffalo now

With Amstel Quartet in Buffalo now. We're about to give a concert at the Bonaventure University tonight. THere's gonna be a big crowd as I understand which is great. They already sold a lot of tickets. We did a workshop this morning which was a lot of fun as well. Tomorrow a children's concert in Connecticut again. And I think Sunday our last adult concert on Long Island in Patchogue Theatre. We are having fun and the people are very nice.

 I am listening a lot of Brahms on my iPod again and I am working myself slowly through Karen Armstrong's A history of God which is even in Dutch quite hard reading.

I am doing yoga and my fysiotherapy exercises every day. Although I havent worked out in the gym last week, but yesterday and the day before I got a weeks trial pass to a gym in Cromwell and I worked out two days, now I am sore!

dinsdag 16 oktober 2007

In Connecticut now, we just arrived

In Connecticut now, we just arrived. A long day of flying and driving from LA California.
We had some great concerts with very enthusiatic reactions. Like a very nice concert in the Onion, a church in California:
 /><br /><br /><div align=We also played two sets in the Jazz Bakery in LA. we played a programme with chamber music that has a connection with jazz music, like Andriessen's Facing Death, Bach (of course!), Germanavicius, Wilson and more.
The tour is going well, it's heavy, hard work. I took some other music to study but that was too optimistic. I need the time to find good reeds and mainly to relax...!

zaterdag 13 oktober 2007

In Hollywood/LA now

In Hollywood/LA now. I am at the hotel to do some studying. The other boys went into the city. I was here last year with some friends so it's all still quite fresh. Yesterday we had a very heavy day. Three concerts in one day and some travelling. The evening concert was ok, but I think we were all very tired after doing two children's presentations, of which one was one hours drive from the hall that was our base that day. But we handled things ok. The kids seemed to love it, but they suck up all of our energy!

Tomorrow one concert in which we play the Facing Death by Andriessen, which is what I need to study after I write this :-)

donderdag 11 oktober 2007

In Lancaster California

In Lancaster California. I always tell the boys in the quartet that the food in the US is so good, but we've had nothing but bad food this trip.

Tomorrow three concerts, two for children and an evening concert.... So off to bed!

zondag 7 oktober 2007

About to go off to Los Angeles and New York

About to go off to Los Angeles and New York.
Our first two weeks tour to the US. Very exciting stuff.
We released our new CD a couple of days ago. It was a heavy delivery. I have the feeling everyone was very tired.
I didn't get much chance to work on the things for Netherlands Music Prize. Also in the States I am playing bari of course. I was thinking about taking my soprano to study the Berio a bit. But it's too much to carry I think...

dinsdag 2 oktober 2007

Sometimes I underestimate myself

Sometimes I underestimate myself. I told a student yesterday that I used to study 2-4 hours at the conservatory. But it's not true. When Ilooked back I found out that I studied from 2-6 hours per day. 4-5 hours being the average  I think I always thought (and think) that I study too little, and that that makes memories different. But I did study quite some hours when looking back in my digital agenda from that time.

zondag 30 september 2007

Saxophone, blessing or curse?

Sometimes I feel I am cursed being a saxophonist. I can never get it right. My core repertoire traditionally consists mainly of French music by composers who never quite made it to the bigger audiences. And for a reason. Although my former teacher Arno Bornkamp used to say that as a rule the a-pieces in our repertoire are often written by b-composers.

The Creston Sonata for example. Creston is a reasonably good composer but his Sonata is a diamond in our repertoire. The same goes for the Denisow Sonata, which I consider one of the best pieces for saxophone. Oddly enough, a-composers often wrote b-pieces for saxophone. Debussy wrote a great Rapsody for us, but it cannot be compared to the clarinet Rapsody or the string quartet. Although the Glazounow Concerto is interesting music for many reasons, the formal experiments he conducted when he started to write for saxophone didn’t turn out to be among his best pieces. In the end, the Desenclos’, Bozza’s, Maurice’s etcetera are not quite as fulfilling when played by itself as the more important violin sonatas by Brahms or the piano music by Ravel.
That’s why I and my musical companions are always on the look out for new repertoire, in whatever form it may come: new music, undiscovered music, infrequently played compositions and pieces that could be adapted for any formation with saxophone (in my case saxophone solo, saxophone and piano and saxophone quartet) and of course I try to find interesting composers who might be willing to write for me.
By doing this I put myself at risk. A violinist can almost never get it wrong. He/She could even play relatively unknown pieces by composers like or his sons and still play great music. I could play the same pieces, leaving out some double-stops and changing a few minor things and be subject to a lot of criticism. Although a lot of colleagues don’t mind there is of course some truth to the criticism. Instrumentation is a part of the composition and many times the instrument for which the piece was written is too important to leave out of the interpretation. But sometimes a new instrumentation can shine a new light on the notes. Furthermore, as an artist I feel the need to play more music from different style periods and moreover, to play excellent notes. Some will say that I shouldn’t have chosen the saxophone because of this. But I feel in love with the instrument hearing and playing original pieces and transcriptions and arrangements. It’s in my system. By choosing the pieces I adapt carefully by really trying to understand the notes, what they mean on saxophone and by making clever adaptations of the notes to suit the instrument I try to show respect to the music and its composer.
I like to play new music as well. I especially like to find interesting composers and ask them to write notes for me. By doing this I actually feel I am creating something myself, not only repertoire, but I am shaping the contemporary music culture by giving attention to composers who I think are or could be important. Again, this puts myself at risk. I might pick composers that do not fit in the current style of contemporary music or composers that only I like, the audience might not be used to these kinds of notes yet. Also chances are that I will not get a piece with the quality of Brahms or Bach. But that’s not what it’s about in this case. I want to play music that I feel strongly about for some reason. I have that connection with some composers around me. I don’t think about whether their music will stand the test of time. It is great to play notes that that have a direct meaning because people that I know wrote them in this time. Notes that can have a connection with the world around us.
I also try to be aware that a concert is a composition in itself, with a structure and rhythm. Compositions can comment on each other in a concert, they can have influence on each other, on how the audience experiences the music. That also changes the context of pieces, it changes them. This can give extra meaning to all music, traditional music, adaptations or new music.
I think that in many ways the fact that I play the saxophone is an artistic blessing. I have to explore, look around me, think about programs, take risks. That is the challenge that saxophonists face.

(copyright 2007, Ties Mellema)

zaterdag 29 september 2007

Yesterday we worked with Henk Schut, theatre director

Yesterday we worked with Henk Schut, theatre director. We are going to make a theatre piece with him. We are very excited about. We are not expecting concrete results anywhere soon, but the beginning has been made. Yesterday at the Dogtroep Studio's and the NDSM artists village we did exercises and played in the most weird locations and positions. We got to know more of each other in a completely different way!

donderdag 27 september 2007

Yesterday William was buried

Yesterday William was buried. I saw a lot colleagues again. Everyone was shocked of course. It was a catholic funeral. A bit impersonal to be honest. But we all had the chance to say goodbye to William.

Today I will play with the Radio Chamber Orchestra, Berio Chemins II with David Kweksilber, bass clarinet.

zondag 23 september 2007

Last week William Raaijman died of heart failure caused by an epilecti...

Last week William Raaijman died of heart failure caused by an epilectic attack. He was my friend and an extraordinary musician.
He died at age 35. Much too young.
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donderdag 20 september 2007

Sometimes you have to look for magic, or even better, you accidentily ...

Sometimes you have to look for magic, or even better, you accidentily pass it by. Today Wijnand and I went to a cocnert by his former teacher, Willem Brons. It was a magical night. He played the compelte forst book of the well tempered klavier! We had a great time. He played so many colours with so much fantasy. Mr. Brons is not really famous. He missed some notes, is not really steady in his tempi. But he's not looking for perfection. You get so much back for it. It was very expressive and adventurous. Strange that so many famous ppianists play perfect but never reach this poetic expression...

woensdag 12 september 2007

Yesterday I was in the Media building in Hilversum where Wijnand and I...

Yesterday I was in the Media building in Hilversum where Wijnand and I saw lots of old television fragments from the 40's until now! I finally say a 1984 show called 'Op Zoek naar Yolanda again'. Hilarious!

maandag 10 september 2007

Not much going on

Not much going on...
I went to the fysiotherapist this morning. After several people in my surroundings falling apart because of injuries I decided it was time to really start working on my chronic back pain. I have been having this since I was 16 at least, and probably before. It's overdeveoped muscles most likely. So nothing new for me, but I got some exercises I can do.

Tomorrow will be a fun day.
In the morning yago, then with Wijnand off to Hilversum to see the media building and visit Arno for lunch.
In the evening we'll see a movie, probably Harry Potter (Wijnand likes that!)

zaterdag 8 september 2007

A quote from an interview with Marcel Mule in 1994: &quot;The [Marcel ...

A quote from an interview with Marcel Mule in 1994:

"The [Marcel Mule] Quartet has rendered enormous service to the saxophone. When we dared to play a quartet of Mozart, for example the 'dissonances quartet' it was rather crazy but we had so little to play. And we were judged throught hat! Afterwards we obtained some repertoire but we had more succes playing Mozart.
We played everywhere in Italy. Evidently we had no repertoire, only the Glazounow, it was no fun. But we managed.  We acquired a few little pieces from Pierne, Absil, Jean Rivier, Pierre Vollones and others: there was only a limited repertoire.
In those times, there were still good compsoers, real good musicians and they wrote really well. We could play them and they were accepted by he public.. As for now..."

More on Marcel Mule here: http://www.clarinet-saxophone.asn.au/downloadabledocs/interview%20with%20Marcel%20Mule.pdf
and here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Mule

Mule used to be one of my main inspirations. Nowadays of course I look more for my own voice. But trying to get started today with working I was browsing through the internet and found some information on Mule which made me read up on him.

New article in 'on music and saxophone'; 'Saxophone, blessing or curse?', by Ties Mellema

zondag 2 september 2007

Not much news, well actually, I am a bit tired and don't really feel l...

Not much news, well actually,
I am a bit tired and don't really feel like writing. But it's been a while since my last post.
I taught again today for the first time since the end of last season. It was great fun and everybody was full with good energy. I am teaching only one day this year which is great because two days was a bit much in the end for me, like last season.
Now I am waiting for Ailed to come home and to go to sleep.
Wijnand is injured, his hand hurts again. So tomorrow no rehearsal.

dinsdag 28 augustus 2007

My good friend Niels Bijl just opened his website: www

My good friend Niels Bijl just opened his website: www.nielsbijl.nl
He also released his first CD, Chant du Saxophone Tenor. Niels is one of the best tenor players I know so this CD should be a treat for the lovers of the mellow tenor saxophone.

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zondag 26 augustus 2007

Yesterday Wijnand and me played two concerts on one day: de Amsterdam ...

Yesterday Wijnand and me played two concerts on one day: de Amsterdam Uitmarkt and the birthday concert for Willem Brons in the Bachzaal, Amsterdam as well.
Both concerts were a lot of fun. And like I said in my last blog, the Bach is magical. I feel good about that music as well, I love to play it. The music has a flow with which you have to go, it is like it connects to the deepest part of your soul... Beautiful!
I spend today making the edit lists for two new CD's by Wijnand and me and the quartet. I am especially enthusiastic about the Mendelssohn Sonata with Wijnand. You can really hear the work we put into it. It has some fantastic moments if I might say so myself  src=.

I feel good about the year that is about to come. I feel comfortable with my set up, I have some great gigs coming up and I have a great mentor for the Netherlands Music Prize who is showing me some great things to work with. And of course Wijnand and me have some great repertoire planned like the sonatas for violin and harpsichord (of course in my case for soprano sax and piano).

This week I am still more or less free. Today I spend editing CD's (tonight actually in the studio with the engineer) and this week is for studying, relaxing, sports, friends...

vrijdag 24 augustus 2007

Yesterday and today rehearsals with Wijnand for the Uitmarkt

Yesterday and today rehearsals with Wijnand for the Uitmarkt. Yesterday we listened to the first edit of the Mendelssohn Sonata and we like it very much, the sound is great and it is very musical. We were very happy. Also we had a spiritual experience yesterday playing Wijnand's Bach arrangement of three Symphonias (with intermezzos by himself). What a beautiful music. Although it is dodgy to recommend my own CD, I think that you should have this one, at least for the Bach, it is enchanting, magic!

woensdag 22 augustus 2007

Rectification: The Uitmarkt 2007 concert by Ties Mellema and Wijnand Van Klaveren is not on Saturday 25, but on Sunday 26 August at the same time (17:30) at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.

maandag 20 augustus 2007

Me, Liza, Wilmar and Wolfram with Hampson, rehearsing the morning befo...

Me, Liza, Wilmar and Wolfram with Hampson, rehearsing the morning before the concert:

zaterdag 18 augustus 2007

Yesterday I played with Wilmar and Liza together with Thomas Hampson i...

Yesterday I played with Wilmar and Liza together with Thomas Hampson in the Prinsengrachtconcert. That was quite an experience. Hampson was very nice and a great stage personality. I also loved to play with Liza and Wilmar. They're great musicians and it was a privelege to work with them. The concert was broadcast for Dutch national television, the AVRO.

Tomorrow I will have another session with Anner Bijlsma. I will do the Bach Flute Partitia, which I might perform this week in stead of works by ter Veldhuis. Although I know the Bach might not be as effective as the Ter Veldhuis I have the feeling I can do this.

donderdag 16 augustus 2007

Long time no write

Long time no write.
Some people have started complaining, so this one is for them.
Wednesday I won the Grachtenfestival Award: A concert in St Petersburg in the Hermitage with Wijnand. A great prize, that will take place in 2009.
Saturday I will play with Thomas Hampson in the Prinsengrachtconcert. This afternoon we have rehearsal. We are playing Cole Porter songs with an ensemble put together by Wijnand: Liza Ferschtman, Wilmar de Visser and me. Wijnand made the arrangements which are great. The players are amazing!
Exciting times again!
I hope that I can be a bit quieter this year. I will start teaching just one day so I will have time to practice one day more, that will give me some rest.
Also I will get more into the Nederlandse Muziekprijs. I will do bach, Hindemith and Schmitt with Anner Bijlsma. The flute Partita by Bach is particulary challenging because the first movement does not really allow space for breathing. And I don't want to do circular breathing, because I think this music needs to breath, so I will have to find a musical reason.
I have wanted to play Schmitt for a long time and now the time is right. Although we first have to prepare for the CD recording in October: Martin Fondse's piece is finished and had become great! An 8 movement Suite for sax and piano and of course Wijnand's arrangement of and comment on three Bach Symphonias.
Enough to look forward to this year!

Wijnand send me this link, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR9ZM6rI7DY
Ties Mellema wins first Grachtenfestivalprijs (Canal Festival Prize).
This prize was awarded for the first time in the Passenger Terminal in Amsterdam. The award is meant for musicians who have played an important role in the festival in the past years.
Mellema was selected by audience votes from 20 nominees. He wins a concert in the concertseries by the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

This Saturday (18 August) Mellema will play with Thomas Hampson during the Prinsengrachtconcert in Amsterdam on the ponton in front of Hotel Pulitzer.

Dutch version

woensdag 8 augustus 2007

Back from NY with the quartet

Back from NY with the quartet. Unforgettable moment, after playing the Adagio by Barber as an encore in Willamstown Massachusets an older lady came up to me with tears in her eyes thanking me for playing it in that concert. American audience is great to play for, I have the feeling I can reach them, emotionally.

I found this great video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oxTy7KIAaA

woensdag 1 augustus 2007

Routine has started this week

Routine has started this week. Although it will be finished soon, Saturday I will leave to NY for concerts. Every morning quartet rehearsal. Great fun again! Especially to play pieces like Bach and Glazounow. I enjoy it so much after burying myself in the Ter Veldhuis which is great as well, but completely different!

I am working a bit ont he Bach FLute Partita now. To play for Anner Bylsma in the end of August. A problematic work because it is not originally for wind instruments. But it's a great challenge, although it is not Bach's greatest work...

dinsdag 31 juli 2007

Ties Mellema's set-up


soprano saxophone:

Yanagisawa, s991, bent neck
mouthpiece: Selmer S-80, D
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3,5
ligature: Rovner Dark

alto saxophone:

Selmer Reference
mouthpiece: Vandoren Optimum, AL3
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3
ligature: Vandoren Master's ligature

Buescher, Tru Tone, 1922, silver plated
mouthpiece: Sigurd Rascher
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3,5
ligature: Selmer traditional

Selmer, Super Action (1952)
mouthpiece: Selmer soloist, E or Selmer metal (classical), E
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3
ligature: Selmer

tenor saxophone:

Selmer, SII
mouthpiece: Selmer S-80, C* or Vandoren T35
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3,5 or Vandoren V16, 3,5
ligature: Selmer traditional

Conn, New Wonder ('Chu Berry') (1920)
mouthpiece: Otto-Link, 7*
reeds: Vandoren V16, 3-3,5
ligature: Otto-Link

baritone saxophone:

Selmer, SII
mouthpiece: Selmer S80, C*
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 4
ligature: Vandoren Optimum

zondag 29 juli 2007

Back from Chili

Back from Chili. I had a great time. The concerts were great and I felt very comfortable. The audience seemed to like it very much, both my performance and the piece by Jacob Ter Veldhuis. Also the orchestra liked the piece and that was hearable!

Now I am at home, just a few hours back and tired from the flight (18 hours travelling or so). Wednesday the quartet rehearsals for NY will start. After that another week holidays on Vlieland.

Oh, and don't forget to vote on www.grachtenfestival.nl!

vrijdag 27 juli 2007

In Chili now

In Chili now. The last day. I have had a great week. The people are really nice, Santiago is nice to walk around. Yesterday was the first concert I played the Ter Veldhuis Tallahatchie Concerto with the Santiago Orchestra and Rene Gullikers. I was happy, but I still want to do some things better tonight. The people were really enthusiastic, they let me come back 5 times!
I am doing yoga and meditation every day here and pracxticing enough on my new horn (Reference). It seems to work!

Tomorrow I´ll fly back to Amsterdam, for a few days there and then to NY for concerts with the quartet.

vrijdag 20 juli 2007

Ties Mellema is nominated for the Grachtenfestival Prize 2007. The winner is determined by the number of votes on the internet.
The Grachtenfestival (the Amsterdam Canal Festival) Award is a price for musicians that have played an important role in the Grachtenfestival over the past ten years. These musicians have developed considerable careers over the years and have build up a special connection with the Festival and its audience.

You can vote here: www.grachtenfestival.nl

maandag 9 juli 2007

A short note from Galicia in Spain

A short note from Galicia in Spain. Ailed and me are on holidays! We´re having a great time here at the atlantic coast. The weather is great and we´re spending a lot of time at the beach and walking around in the region.  We´re staying at a camping near Porto do Son. The camping is very quiet and justr 1oo mtrs from the beach. What else could we want?!

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I am getting all the rest that i needed from my music. Sometimes you need to let things go to get inspiration.

zondag 1 juli 2007

Glenn Gould and Berg opus 1, on the same CD as his arrangement of La V...

Glenn Gould and Berg opus 1, on the same CD as his arrangement of La Valse, check it out!

A lot of performances this past week. Last week we went to Tineke Veenhof and Fie Schouten. They did a dance performance in a cellar in the Baarsjes (for The Baarsjes Kunstmaand) which was great. Fie played great and a beautiful piece as well. The choreography was nice and the setting great.

Then Friday we went to the opening of Aqua Musica in het Muziekgebouw. Before the break was Min Tanaka, the founder of the Bodyweather school of dance. He was accompanied by tape, a distorted guitar which sounded more or less the same the whole 40 minutes. I think he was a good dancer, but the music destroyed the imagery, unfortunately. After the break there were two guys juggling and playing old music. It was a great show! Very ingenious and with good music: Compagnie Chant de Balles.

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Yesterday Ailed had a surprise for me. We both loved the movie De-Lovely, about the life of Cole Porter. Yesterday there was a musical-esque performance in the Odeon Theater with music by Cole Porter. It was a good night, a good band and good singers. They tried to create a night club athmosphere. So you were allowed to smoke during the performance. Also the reception was a bit strange and not too polite, we had to wait for fifteen minuted in the hall before we could go in, then there was another line. Everyone had to be seated individually by a gerand who introduced himself to everyone. That was nice. We had a great night!
Today some more lessons to give, some appointments, and tomorrow as well, and then holidays!

vrijdag 29 juni 2007

Top 5 best pieces for saxophone, in no particular order: -Edison Denis...

Top 5 best pieces for saxophone, in no particular order:

-Edison Denisow Sonata for alto saxophone and piano. One of the most impressive pieces I have ever heard for saxophone. I never got around to playing it when I was in school, I guess I was looking up to it.
-Prelude Fugue et Variation, Cesar Franck arr. Remco Jak. The best piece on the Amstel repertoire. We haven't played it for a while but next season we're starting it again. Can't wait :-)
-Florent Schmitt, Legende. I am listening to it now, in Delangle's new version, recorded on BIS. Beautiful music, I will start it this coming season.
-Hindemith Sonata, actually for horn, but also for saxophone. Very good music, Hindemith in general.
-... hm, maybe Creston Sonata. B composers tend to write A-pieces for saxophone, and A-composers B pieces (like Glazounow...)

donderdag 28 juni 2007

I have been practicing on my new horn, the Reference, I bought it, I d...

I have been practicing on my new horn, the Reference, I bought it, I decided yesterday. It has a fat sound, maybe too fat for now, but I think I can shape it when I practice more.

Wijnand had a great idea: Bach violin Sonatas for soprano saxophone and piano! I want to play more Bach.

Yesterday Wijnand and me recorded the Mendelssohn Cello Sonata for our new CD 'Roots' (presentation on December 30th in the Concertgebouw. I guess it went alright. It was hard though. I always get insecure about reeds, sound, intonation. But we tried our best. We worked with a different recording guy for the first time. It was very different. He let us play longer stretches of music... I am very curious for the result!
This was the last big thing before the holidays, I have some other appointments but now I can prepare for the holidays. And I am ready for them! I am very tired and I did a lot of things...

zondag 24 juni 2007

Yesterday me and Wijnand played our own 'Concert in the Park', Vondelp...

Yesterday me and Wijnand played our own 'Concert in the Park', Vondelpark Open Air Theater. The circumstances were not ideal, for one, it was raining, and second, we had to play amplified, and third, well, that's been my leitmotiv this past couple of months, I am not sure about my alto. I asked some colleagues who came to listen yesterday and they confirmed that the intonation of the alto can be strange: too low! The day before I found maybe my new alto: a Reference. At Matthews in Edam. I tried many and I felt immeddiately right about this one. Today I am still good on the horn and I have been practicing on it. It is still an option and tonight I will have a colleague listen to it for a second opinion. So I hope this will be it. I am glad I didn't rush my decision last month when I had two other References as an option. They didn't feel good, and this one does. That would mean I can really start working again on a set up that I am happy with. It took some effort and some concerts that I wasn't too sure about but I am about to be all set again!

vrijdag 22 juni 2007

Another session with Anner Bijlsma today

Another session with Anner Bijlsma today. We played Mendelssohn again, we worked on the flow of the second movement. Very educational :-) ! We also played Wijnand's Bach arrangement which he loved. As a Bach connaisseur I thought he would have a lot to say but he loved it. Which was great because as a saxophpnist we dont play so much Bach but he he said I had a connection with the music. So that was a great compliment. I invited him for a masterclass next year in Tilburg. That should be great for our students.

woensdag 20 juni 2007

My top 5 deserted island list: (in no particular order) -Heavy Metal B...

My top 5 deserted island list: (in no particular order)
-Heavy Metal Bebop Brecker Brothers
-Brahms Clarinet Quintet (with Boeykens please!)
-Michel Camilo One More Once
-Creation du Monde (Milhaud conducting!)
-Gould and Bach
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The holidays are coming

The holidays are coming. I am so ready for them. We still need to book something. BUt there isn't enough time. Always too little. I have my solo CD recording next week (Thirsday and Friday) and I am getting ready for them. Very exciting. We are recording the Mendelssohn Cello Sonata in Bb. There will be criticism of course for doing this, but what can you do? We want to play this music and feel strongly about it. It works in the instrument with some adaptations. We had the last quartet activity yesterday. A workshop by the Delta Saxophone Quartet, educaiton. I think we learned something. We don't really have educaitonal projects coming up but they can come in the further future. Anyway we had a good time.

zaterdag 16 juni 2007

The Hague was looking for a new festival after the North Sea Jazz left...

The Hague was looking for a new festival after the North Sea Jazz left the city. idtv (de Winter) came up with Festival Classique. 150 concert in all of the Hague. We played a concert for the festival today in the Theater aan 't Spui. The festival is a great idea. But I heard that the audience is not coming as much as they expected.We only had about 60 audience in the hall, which was disappointing. Then again, I heard that we are not prominently mentioned in the programme book. The whole presentation of the festival was somewhat old fashioned although the festival was organised by an organisation that had no previous experience with classical music. This can and should be an advantage, but apparantly it wasn't. It was the first edition, next year should be better. It is can be a wonderfull that is great for classical music in the Netherlands. So much good music in so little time in the whole of the Hague.
We played a good concert. It was the last concert of the season with the quartet. We can be proud of it. The audience liked it as well I think. We played a very diverse programme with different styles and we played well!

vrijdag 15 juni 2007

Yesterday during the concert in Luxemburg we played Sweelinck again

Yesterday during the concert in Luxemburg we played Sweelinck again. I just love that piece, the chromatic fantasy, originally for keyboard. Bass arranged. But I must admit, I was very tired (see below!). Although we played a good concert (it was a concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BeNeLux parliament in Luxemburg) I forget to enter in my part. I missed the first note. I was dreaming away. I wasn't especially nervous, although the Grand Duke was in the hall (we had to play the Luxemburg Wilherlmus when he entered, along with the anthems of the BeNeLux contries, and the European anthem (being the famous Beethoven mvt, I did not know that!). But I did miss that note. I had a minor black out and I was too tired to worry about that. I guess that was good, because after that I played ok. I felt good and the notes came out like they should. It was strange to play a normal concert again. We have been doing Dogtroep performances for a long time now (well, two weeks...) and yesterday it was all about us again!

We came back from Luxemburg last night at 400 in the morning. Woke up quite late today. Tonight last Dogtroep show, then tomorrow the last 4tet concert of the season in the Hague (Festival Classique). We'll play Glazounow, Vrolijk and Sweelinck. We have a small rehearsal right before the show tonight.
I'll be glad when the season ends, although I have some concerts in Chili in the middle of my holidays.
The Thuiskopiefonds decides to support Ties Mellema's newest CD project: 'Roots' with new works by Wijnand Van Klaveren and Martin Fondse, and older work by Johann Sebastian Bach (arr. Van Klaveren) and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Earlier the Maurits Van Kattendijke Stichting also decided to support this project. The presentation of the CD will be on December 30th 2007 in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (Serie Sundaymorning Concerts).

zondag 10 juni 2007

Monday today

Monday today. Doing dishes and almost off to Wijnand's. I overslept today. Always back late from Dogtroep performances. My parents were there yesterday and they liked it a lot.
It's very busy now. I really have to find some time to do my own things. Yesterday I went biking with Dickie for a couple of hours. That was fun. I need some time to do these things. I cannot plan my whole life ahead!
The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds decided to support Ties Mellema's new saxophone out of the Henny de Vries Fonds for Cultural scholarships. The presentation of the scholarship will be on June 28th on 16:00 at Podium Mozaiek in Amsterdam.

vrijdag 8 juni 2007

First week of Dogtroep performances

First week of Dogtroep performances. One week to go. It's great fun. Hard work though. Hardly any time to work by myself. Yesterday we played a special performance for the Dutch queen. She opened the new theater in Almere where we're playing with Dogtroep.
Yesterday the second half of the show was cancelled because of lightning danger.

This past week I had to turn down some applicants for the conservatori...

This past week I had to turn down some applicants for the conservatories I am teaching at. Some of them I have been teaching in the preparation year, so I have a connection with them. I didn't accept them last year for the first year because the committee was not sure if they had the skills to get ready for endexam in four years. It was very hard to do but some of them did not develop well enough in the past year. I had a good relation with them, but in some cases I had to keep saying the same things over and over again. It might be the chemistry between teacher and student. Maybe my words did not come over clear enough for some reason. I don't know. But in the end the commission can decide that there was enough development in the last year. It happens. The music world is hard, but in these cases also fair. It is not to say that they have no future in music. This year was just not the best year. Maybe a bump in the way can help their ideas cristallize more.

zaterdag 2 juni 2007

Blog time

Blog time! We just played at the award ceremony for the Mees Pierson Award. We did not win. This prize is handed to one concert of the three Young Dutchmen Concerts in the Concertgebouw. Each concert is a half recital for a Dutch musician or an ensemble. Wijnand and me shared this concert the Amstel Quartet (in which I am the baritone player). We played a programme with some risks involved. With Wijnand we played a piece by Louis Van Dijk, which is very typical for his music and for us it was a tribute. Unfortunately the jury did not appreciate this work. They said our talent is not supported by this piece. Which can be true in some way but I love this work and the man who wrote it... It is something we need to play! Also they said there are beter compositions for saxophone than Wijnand Poulenc's tribute. I do not agree again, in that sense that Wijnand's music is music that should be heard and played. It is great music, genius, filled with melodies and harmonies that come out of his heart. It is worth playing! Also they commented on my AZIZ shirt.... What can you do :-) One jury member said that I should be aware that it is not what the people expect. After the break they said that Amstel Quartet draws young audience which is good and that could be one of our roles in chamber music. Also there were some doubts about our arrangements.... Why did we not play more modern music? Well, because we don;t feel the need. There's a lot of music to discover, even for saxophone. Luckily Roland Kieft stood up for us and said that maybe it might seem that nothing is sacred to us, but in the end, he said that all music is sacred to us because of the way we handle it.
So there was a lot to discuss, which is always good.
Oh, and Lavinia and Tjeerd won, what a great musicians, BRAVO and congrats!

woensdag 30 mei 2007

Almost off to Dogtroep general rehearsal

Almost off to Dogtroep general rehearsal. Before that I have to fix our rental baritone sax. We have rented cheaper horns to be able to play in the rain.
The performances will be a lot of fun. If you can, check them out!

vrijdag 25 mei 2007

Amstel Quartet in Festival Crosslinx, read an article in Tubantia newspaper here (Dutch only)

zondag 20 mei 2007

Two interesting articles in NRC next today

Two interesting articles in NRC next today. One is the feature article about that the government Balkenende IV folloows the media path of Clinton and Bush by using tax money to set out a PR path that informs the public first and when the topic is more or less 'dead' the parliament starts its discussion about it.

The other one is about Risotto rice. Apparantly there's a scientific base to it that the rice tastes different (better) if you add the bouillon spoon by spoon while stirring in the mean time!

zaterdag 19 mei 2007

http://www

http://www.cello.org/Newsletter/Articles/bylsma.htm
Good stuff! An interview with Anner Bijlsma from '98

Some highlights:
To illustrate this, I used to give my students an example: you never read in the newspaper that, when Father came home, he lit his pipe, put on his slippers, and opened the paper. But you will read, when Father came home, he put on his slippers, opened the paper, lit his pipe, and the house blew up, because, unknown to him, there was a gas leak in the house. See what I mean? The dissonance creates the interest, not the consonance.

AB: It depends, of course, but let’s say “true” playing is the way that Bach would have liked it. This will cover many approaches. I wouldn’t want us all to play exactly the same way.

AB: I’m not against all pianists and conductors, but I do feel that we string players have been abused by witless conductors and insensitive pianists, who force us to play louder and louder, whether the music calls for it or not. Often, all I hear is percussion and brass when I attend an orchestral concert.

Vibrato
AB: No. Joachim, the legendary violinist and beloved friend of Brahms, used vibrato very sparingly. There is a famous description by someone who attended a concert of the Joachim String Quartet. The person, describing a moment in the middle of a Beethoven Quartet, wrote something like, “Then something happened very strange, very moving, and very unexpected. They all suddenly vibrated.” I have a feeling I would have enjoyed Joachim’s playing very much.

AB: Yes, in Bach's time, equal temperament was not the last word, especially with string players. When we play with equal tempered intonation, like we have on the piano, we don't sound as beautiful. We should stop trying to emulate the piano, another weapon of uniformity, and take advantage of the inherent beauties of our string instruments.

AB: The concept of flowing lines is not appropriate for eighteenth century music, it belongs to the nineteenth century. Music became more chromatic and more overtly emotional in the nineteenth century, which resulted in long flowing lines. In Bach's time too, chromatic passages may have been played more sustained than diatonic ones -- just try it. But we shouldn't impose nineteenth century principles on Bach.

By the way, I love Bruckner too, but, for my taste, too many big lines are played in his music, as well as in Brahms and other nineteenth century composers. Maybe it's easier to conduct a long line when moving one's arms about with that painfully imperfect instrument, the "baton," an instrument which is unfit for showing more than one motive per minute. We shouldn't let the limitations of the baton get in our way to "true" music making. We need to take a fresh look at how we play all music, not just Baroque music.

vrijdag 18 mei 2007

Lesson with Anner Bijlsma today again

Lesson with Anner Bijlsma today again. I am about to go practice/warm up now. Mendelssohn and Reger. Reger has some trcky high notes. Anner might want to put them lower but for me it's the challenge to make it sound 'natural'.
Teh Dogtroep Porject is getting its final shape. A lot of stress together with it. The Dogtroep way of working is something we have to get used to and of course they have get used to our way of working as well. But it will be fun: "Komt dat Zien!!!"

Great day today

Great day today. First practice in the morning and some administration and then rehearsal with Wijnand and Maritn Fondse who is writing a piece for us for our new Cd Roots (presentation in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 30 December 2007).
Then a lesson with Anner Bijlsma which was great again! Very inspiring once again. We played the Mendelssohn Bb Sonata and Reger Romanza which worked excellent. At first we didn't really understand the piece but today it worked!
Check Anner Bijlsma out here

maandag 14 mei 2007

Two more Bolero's today

Two more Bolero's today. This morning for mentally handicapped children (in the Concertgebouw) and tonight a 'normal' concert. I need to find a new reed for today I think, the reed I have been using the past weekend is getting bad.

vrijdag 11 mei 2007

I had my first practice session after the Bylsma lesson

I had my first practice session after the Bylsma lesson. I have new inspiration to do things different. It was a very relaxed session with Anner nut I did pick up a lot. The man has very positive energy and I can take that with me to the practice room.

Yesterday I had my first playing session with Anner Bylsma (my mentor for the Netherlands Music Prize). That was a lot of fun. Wijnand like it as well. He has great metaphores and his approach is very positive. I think I can learn a lot from this man.
Now I am of to a Bolero rehearsal with NedPho. What a great piece, everytime I play it I realize this again!

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woensdag 9 mei 2007

Busy times for me now

Busy times for me now. The Dogtroep rehearsals consume time and effort. But it's gonna be a good show. It's very exciting for us to work with them and work with our music and our instruments in a completely different way.
Now I am off the Alexander lesson and then I can pick up my baritone saxophone from a revision at Saxomania. Tomorrow is my lesson with Anner Bijlsma. Wijnand and I will play the Mendelssohn cello sonata. He recorded this piece so I think he will have some things to tell us!

maandag 7 mei 2007

Just ordered zwei akte by Kagel for harp sax and a stripper (which sta...

Just ordered zwei akte by Kagel for harp sax and a stripper (which starts out nude and dresses during the piece). Let's see if we can get this programmed anywhere!

zondag 6 mei 2007

I'll return the references to Bakker

I'll return the references to Bakker. They are not the thing I am looking for. I'll keep playing the SIII with Mark VI neck for now. I have all the time!

I am studying two Reger Romanzas now, the one for clarinet and one for cello. Anner Bijlsma suggested them. They are beautiful pieces. Wednesday I'll rehearse them with Wijnand for the first time.

Max Reger  src=

zaterdag 5 mei 2007

I have two reference altos in my house right now

I have two reference altos in my house right now. Let's see if I will keep one of them. I am eager to have a new horn. These two I selected from 9 at Harry Bakker's in Muiderberg. That should be enough choice. But all the saxes are so different!

donderdag 3 mei 2007

Today we had the first Dogtroep rehearsal with the quartet on locaiton...

Today we had the first Dogtroep rehearsal with the quartet on locaiton (Almere). People are writing music now and we got to know the locaction. It will be very exciting and a very impressive production with lots of machinery and wild fantasies. Go check it out in June in Almere (www.dogtroep.nl)

maandag 30 april 2007

Yesterday was Koninginnedag (Queens day) in the Netherlands; The queen...

Yesterday was Koninginnedag (Queens day) in the Netherlands; The queen's birthday. Although I am a republican 'in heart and kidneys' I have to admit that it was a lot of fun. One of my friends who I didn' see for some years was there as well. We had some drinks, listened some music and went home at 20:00. It was great. And beautiful weather.
 /><br /><br /><div align=The day before we played in The Hague during Koninginnenach. The night preceding Koninginnedag. The Hague is famous for its party the night before. It was very crowded and we just got out of there after we played on a little square behind the Nieuwe Kerk at the Spui.

vrijdag 27 april 2007

Yesterday Wijnand and I played intermezzo's during the award ceremony ...

Yesterday Wijnand and I played intermezzo's during the award ceremony of the VSP Poetry Prize. We had a great time. I played Philip Glass Melodies (three of them, from my solo CD Grab it!) and together we played Scaramouche. I think we did ok. I am really ready for a new saxophone. Preferably a Reference. I have been trying my students' References and they play great. Very souple and flexible. And good intonation. But maybe I am making this too big in my head...? Well, I think I am right. I will still have to resolve instrumental problems but I know that!
Today I am going to go make a bike ride with Ailed to Broek in Waterland for a couple of hours. Finally some recreation other than tv or reading in the train (which is great too BTW).

donderdag 26 april 2007

Friday afternoon

Friday afternoon. It's been hot the last couple of days, close to 30 C. Strange for this time of year. Tonight I am playing Glass and Scaramouche during the VSB Poezie Prijs ceremony in the Rode Hoed in AMsterdam. Yesterday I met with Anner Bylsma. He will be my Netherlands Music Prize mentor. I think he is a very inspiring person. He is of course famou for his Bach interpretation. So I will do some Bach with him. But he also recorded the Bb Cellosonata by Mendelssohn, which I will record with Wijnand in the end of June. That should be interesting. Next week my quartet is recordning the Glazounow quartet. On eof the most important saxophone quartets. We studied very hard to get it right. It is a hard piece to find a comfortable way of playing for. Bu twe have something now I think. I must say: to play the piece by heart helped a great deal. Glazunow overnotated his saxophone quartet and playing b y heart is one way of detaching from the written notes.

vrijdag 20 april 2007

Back from US

Back from US. As well as my parents. We picked them up today from the airport, they went to visit me and see us in Carnegie.
I had a great time. I love the US and especially NY. And I discovered Brooklyn. What a shame I couldn't be there more. In August we'll be back.
Tomorrow I have a concert with Wijnand: Brahms, Bach and Mendelssohn. A programme with only great composers! Wijnand finished his Bach commentary and it's wonderful!
Today I was going to try out new saxophones at Harry Bakker, but they haven't gotten a new batch so they only have a few today. So I will go later.

 /><br /><div align=
Louis Van Dijk talked about Grab it! in an interview in Elegance, a music magazine. He recommended my Cd and said that I was a jazz musician  /></div></div>
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woensdag 18 april 2007

Amstel Quartet back from their US debut tour
This 17th of April, the Amstel Quartet gave a phenomenal US debut Recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City , with works by Sweelinck, Glazunov, Torke, Wilson (US premier) and Nyman.
Within a week, the quartet gave 6 concerts throughout New York City, amongst others at Trinity Church on Wall Street (click here to see the concert as a webcast or download it as a podcast), and at the famous musicbar Barbes in Brooklyn (read review here).
They gave a multimedia performance with The Public Dance Theater and visuals by Bushwick at Monkeytown, including a world premier by dutch composer Renske Vrolijk, and performed at a benefit evening for Darfur organised by the Clinton Global Initiative , with Robert de Niro, Meryl Streep and Matt Damon on the guestlist. Aziz exlusively designed new costumes for this US tour.
The quartet will be back in the US in August. Highlights of that tour will include a concert at the well-known festival River to River in New York City.
Please also visit the website of Concert Artists Guild, the quartet's management based in New York City.

maandag 16 april 2007

Last evening before Carnegie

Last evening before Carnegie. Tomorrow is the day. Reeds are still bad, I might play 3,5's tomorrow in stead of the 4's. They are just too bad in this climate. All iof us are having this problem.
Ian arrived today to hear his piece. He was happy. It's a beatiful piece!

zondag 15 april 2007

Last days in NY

Last days in NY. Tomorrow is Carnegie Debut for Amstel Quartet. We did 5 concerts so far. The last days there was so much rain. We are having some reed problems due to the climate here. It is too dry (in spite of the rain!). I am experimenting now with soaking the reeds in water and then letting them dry. I hope this will work. All of our reeds are collapsing during our concerts. It still sounds ok I guess, but the feeling is no comfortable.

Friday I spend the morning and lunch with Paquito D'Rivera, That was very inspiring. He's a great guy. I asked what his one tip would be for musicians: Sound, beauty of sound and make sure you surround yourself with beauty...

zondag 8 april 2007

While listening to Brahms' first pianoconcerto I am packing my suitcas...

While listening to Brahms' first pianoconcerto I am packing my suitcase. If I find some time I should go to the repairman to have a little thing fixed on my baritone. Otherwhise I need to find one in NY.
Yesterday we had one of the first spring picnics in the Erasmuspark. We prepared some pasta, salad and tapas. It did get a bit cold in the end, but summer is coming. Can't wait to get the first bbq out!
Tonight a last rehearsal before leavind for the VSB poetry prize. A small ensemble. Presentation is the 24th of April in De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam.

zaterdag 7 april 2007

The last pieces of lead weigh the most we say in Dutch

The last pieces of lead weigh the most we say in Dutch. I am arranging everything now for our NY tour and it looks like it's going well. We still have to schedule some rehearsals there, but everything seems to be arranged! I also have a meeting with Paquito d'Rivera, I can't wait to meet him. He's a great musician and I admire him greatly. He is also a wonderful composer. Just maybe...?

donderdag 5 april 2007

We just came back from our Latvia tour in Riga and outside

We just came back from our Latvia tour in Riga and outside. Two concerts during the 'Restarting Bach' Festival, we played works by Bach (what a great composer, he lifsts the quartet right to heaven when we play!), Sweelinck, Buxtehude and Indra Rise (she got us invited). Riga is a beautiful town and we had almost a day to walk around there. I like it much better than Vilnius, but then again, we didn't really get to see Vilnius last year. We played good I think. In spite of us having to spend a lot of focus on getting our visa stuff arranged for next week (New York). We landed at 14:35 yesterday and we had an emergency appointment at the American consulate in Amsterdam at 16:00. We made it. I was there at 15:30 even! My father was waiting for us to take care of our luggage and he had enveloped prepared to send the visa in but they gave them with us right on the spot after just less than an hours wait, so we were really happy. Although Remco and I made mistake on his form so he had to get a new one, but even that turned out great! So we are off to New York. Very exciting stuff. I live the city of New York, especially Manhattan of course. I love to walk around, talk to the people, listen to jazz, read books, sit at Starbucks and eat burgers (not MacDonalds, please!).
Off to quartet rehearsal now!

dinsdag 27 maart 2007

Back from our tour with Merlijn Twaalfhoven

Back from our tour with Merlijn Twaalfhoven. Monday and Tuesday I taught already and next we'll be in Latvia. The week after in NY for concerts in Carnegie Hall, Trinity Church and other locations. Also, I will have a meeting with Paquito d'Rivera, whose book I am reading now, and the quartet will have a coaching session with the Emerson Quartet (the day before our Carnegie Debut...).
Exciting times.
Off to study the music now!

woensdag 21 maart 2007

In Qatar now, the residency of the Dutch ambassador

In Qatar now, the residency of the Dutch ambassador. with the Amstel Quartet. We are staying there until tomorrow morning early (we leave for Dubai again). Tonight we have a concert here.
The tour so far has been great, the crowds have been enthusiastic and a lot of people have been showing up! The weather is nice of course, especially this time of the year. Especially in Dubai everything is big and costly. Lots of expensive futuristic buildings and this year the highest sky scraper in the world will be build there. We visited the gold market in Dubai and went in the Mall of the Emirates which has a huge ski piste, with real snow.

dinsdag 13 maart 2007

An unexpected quasi free day today

An unexpected quasi free day today. Lots of administration, especially because we are going to Dubai the coming week. Lots of stuff to do and to prepare.
It looks more and more like I will buy a new instrument. I need something else. Don't know what yet. The reference neck works kind of but the low notes give me too much trouble. Mark VI necks work but the sound is maybe not completely compatible with the horn itself. Maybe a good Mark VI or a reference with working low notes (do they exist?).

zaterdag 10 maart 2007

This weekend performances at our house in the Pieter vd Doesstraat 98-...

This weekend performances at our house in the Pieter vd Doesstraat 98-II with Bodyweather Amsterdam in Something Here that is not There. I am playing saxophone. We organised two of six for the neighbours. I hope they will show today. It is really nice weather this weekend. Sunny and fresh.

I just heard the Syrene Saxophone Quartet on the radio (Speigelzaal), they did very well. Excellend playing and clear musical decisions with a lot of ambition and dedication. I hope they will go on and profile themselves more so that there will be more saxophone quartets. They don't even have site yet so I can't link them... But check them out next weekend in the Oosterkerk with some excellently played French repertoire!

donderdag 8 maart 2007

Preparing for the Arabic Emirates tour with Merlijn Twaalfhoven

Preparing for the Arabic Emirates tour with Merlijn Twaalfhoven. We're having a lot of fun and I think the concerts together with him wil be interesting. I think it is really the quartet and him together, we seem to really match in ideas and the result is a pleasant mix, at least during the rehearsal!

He has a great new peice which is originally for string quartet but he made a version for us which we want to program in our regular concerts: La vie est belle...

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dinsdag 6 maart 2007

Wednesday night

Wednesday night. Monday Wijnand and I had a lesson from Brian Pollard again. It was great fun. I did better than last time and I am really trying to incorporate his 'things' in my playing of the Brahms Sonata. I even got him to try different vibratos on my horn. Diaphragm vibrato only gave the volume effect, not pitch indeed, like I thought and investigated before. Throat vibrato though sounded wonderful. I must learn this. I think I do it sometimes, but it comes mostly from the jaw. Which is nice as well of course.
Tomorrow I have the day off to do some studying, reading and yoga. These days off really give me peace and quiet, which I do need in this time!

vrijdag 2 maart 2007

Today Amstel Quartet played in the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam

Today Amstel Quartet played in the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam. We did a good job I think. First performance of the 40 voiced choir piece by Thomas Tallis, with Cd. The speakers were in the top of the church so that gave an almost 'heavenly' effect.

dinsdag 27 februari 2007

Yesterday was my birthday and Ailed invited some friends without me kn...

Yesterday was my birthday and Ailed invited some friends without me knowing it. We had a great time, talked, listened to music and of course I got gifts: Jazz DVD's (Armstrong, Parker), Stevie Wonder DVD, Songs in the Key of Life, some books (humour in ancient Greece), magazines, Dickie gave my wine and Nesquick (?).
Now I have some domestic and administrative chores to do.
Oh, Griff my good friend from 92-92, Charlotte NC will be over this weekend!

vrijdag 23 februari 2007

Right, with the right material (well, other material) I can finallly s...

Right, with the right material (well, other material) I can finallly start to study again like I should. I practiced this morning and it's ok. I got myself a Reference neck and I am continuing on the Vandoren AL3 like I wanted. The Reference is very much in tune, but hte low notes don't speak so well. Apparantly that's a typical Reference problem. Since my students who play Reference don't have real problems with the low notes I should be able to resolve this as well!

Yesterday I went to the Concertgebouw with Evert. We went to hear the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Ivan Fischer playing Haydn (88), Mozart and Beethoven (4). I love the Haydn and especially the Beethoven. The orchestra played great. Lots of risk taking involved. I did not get bored, it was an adventure to listen to. A real story. For a saxophpnist it is almost provocative to visit a concert like this: good composers, a good orchestra, a great hall, great conductor... Nothing experimental in the form. But the music spoke!
I want to visit more concerts. I have some time now, still for a week or more... So let's what else is coming to Amsterdam.

woensdag 21 februari 2007

One blog entry just before I am going to yoga

One blog entry just before I am going to yoga. After yoga I am off with my mom to try some saxophones (alto). The whole mouthpiece question has evovled into the saxophone question. What can I do?
I had a long talk with Arno about ti yesterday and all the probles seem familiar. Although he adviced me to go on with what I have. I am not sure... I want to try other saxophones. The intonation is the biggest problem. I want to continue with the Vandoren mouthpiece but it makes my SIII out of tune. It works great on a Reference I found out. So maybe I should switch... Otherwhise I cannot play a Vanodren mouthpiece and I have to continue on a C*, and that is a big problem. Since I cannot find a decent C*. I have heard from many people that the production of S80 mouthpieces changed dramatically over the years. So I guess that's why I couldn't find a good mouthpiece....
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zaterdag 17 februari 2007

What a healthy Sunday morning: running in the park with Beethoven 6 (B...

What a healthy Sunday morning: running in the park with Beethoven 6 (Barenboim) on my iPod and then a Vrije Geluiden episode with Gino Vanelli and Michiel Borstlap on tv.
Now a bit of studying and then a meeting at Bagels and Beans. Tonight Ailed will dance at the Balie at the 8mm film festival.

A good Sunday! Relaxed and I am not just doing nothing! Some yoga and meditation in between....

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Now watching the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet playing Mozart string quartet on a former Vrije Geluiden episode on the internet. (here it is) Strange, Mozart on saxophone. But they play well, with a lot of initiative and flexible tempo, that is something I am looking for myself, also in the quartet. Of course there some problems, but as Niels explains, the quartet tries to make beautiful music together and give their own vision on the piece. Also they claim that classical music in major is not suited for saxophone quartet. Hm, I don't know. They give an example. It has something with the specific Aurelia sound as well: fat and heavy. My Amstel Quartet tried to play classical music as well and that seemed to work, but we played a minor piece too. Major might work with the Amstel Quartet, since we have a somewhat lighter sound than the Aurelias, keep your eyes and ears open.

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vrijdag 16 februari 2007

Today at Matthew's in Edam I tried all of their C* mouthpieces and too...

Today at Matthew's in Edam I tried all of their C* mouthpieces and took one home. I hope I wil stil like it tomorrow. I have gotten used to the Vandoren sound though. I might go and look for an A17 Tuesday at Bakker. If that doesn't work out I'll call it 'a day', or 'a mouthpiece'.
Matthew's never had the inquiry before to rtry more than 3 mouthpieces of the same type. Which is strange. Maybe they don't deal with professionals so often. I don't know. I am glad I found something though. I'm going to rule out the A17 as an option (it is nice and dark like the AL3 but a bit stuffy). We'll see again!

woensdag 14 februari 2007

Right ,the AL3 mouthpiece definately does not work

Right ,the AL3 mouthpiece definately does not work! It plays out of tune with piano and I can't correct it. Playing ease, sound, all that doesn't matter when I can't play in tune. When I play with a tuning machine it's ok, but with the piano it's awful...

In the mean I am trying to do some meditations. Werner's and a book I got '3 minute meditations'. They seem to work.

I just came back from a rehearsal with Wijnand which I enjoyed but because I played so much out of tune with that new mouthpiece it was too frustrating. I cancelled some work tomorrow to go mouthpuece hunting. I hope I will find one soon. Maybe a normal C* again....
We'll see...
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vrijdag 9 februari 2007

Yesterday we played at Gert-Jan's party with the quartet in Overtoom 3...

Yesterday we played at Gert-Jan's party with the quartet in Overtoom 301. It was a great night. What a shame I had to leave early because today we recorded all 40 voices for Tallis' Spem in Allium in an arrangement for saxophones.
GJ's party was in Overtoom 301, a small theater in Amsterdam West. We performed Glazounow for the first time by heart. That was very exciting. Even more so because the crowd came to party and before us played our firends, the Boogie Tree: smooth acoustic pop music. We played hard core romantic chamber music repertoire. But we did good I think. We got through it and the piece is falling together.
After all the acts at the party the crowd seemed very happy, Wouter de Moor gives a textual and graphic impression of this evening: http://wozo66.spaces.live.com/

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Check them out!

As I said, today we recorded Spem in Allium for forty saxophones, played by ourselves. We will perform that last four voices live. Witness this experiment live in the Noorderkerk on March 3rd!

donderdag 8 februari 2007

Yesterday night I studied for the first time trying to use Werner's me...

Yesterday night I studied for the first time trying to use Werner's method of detachment. It's almost like meditating! It is hard. I have to eliminate thought in my playing (not in my technical practicing as far as I understand). And that is difficult. My mind keeps wondering off... But it feels good when it happens. I have to some 'reprogramming'. Also Mr. Werner wants the musician to think that every note he plays is the most beautiful he has ever heard. That gives comfort and ease. It makes the musician an objective listener while the notes actually come from 'within', wherever that may be :-)

dinsdag 6 februari 2007

Kenny Werner's book is a revelation for me

Kenny Werner's book is a revelation for me! I recognize so many things. Let's see what I'll get from it. I am ready for some new insights. Werner focusses on liberation: Moksha. No more focussing on the 'valid' rules on making music. Of course I never tried to do that. But I feel there's more music in me than there's coming out.
Now listening to Harry Connick Jr's new album: very good. I love his big band stuff.

 /><br /><br />Earlier today:</div>Started reading Kenny Werner's 'Effortless' Mastery' yesterday. Already the preface seems like it was written for me... I think this book might be able to get me further in my (musical) life. I'll post my progress with it on this blog.<br />Other than that, I finally found a DVD of the Gadd Gang, with Ronnie Cuber (Barisax), Cornell Dupree (guitar), Richard Tee (keys) and of course Gadd himself. Great DVD with instrumental souls classics. I remeber seeing this band on tv when I was in middle school. They had also Nick Brignola on bari then.<br /><div align= src=

zondag 4 februari 2007

Writing this message at the Artez Conservatory

Writing this message at the Artez Conservatory. I always come a bit earlier to do some studying. This is my coffee and internet break. I am playing the AL3 now, with a clarinet rope, it sounds nice, dark and smooth. Claude Delangle plays with a rope too, but I never tried it before.

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donderdag 1 februari 2007

Sometimes there are more prozaic things to do

Sometimes there are more prozaic things to do. This morning I closed off a life-annuity. Since I am a free-lance musician and my work in Arnhem Tilburg does not provide enough pension I had to start some day with saving a bit of extra money for my old age.
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Ties Mellema and his music

Being a classical saxophonist, influences come from all directions. Mellema's most important influence was the French saxophonist Marcel Mule. Hearing a recording of him playing la Création du Monde was one of the most important reasons to start studying saxophone and trying to imitate that sound. Michael Brecker was another important influence, Brecker is one the greatest virtuosos of the saxophone, he demonstrates that everything can be done on the saxophone and that you can truly sing on the instrument.

Next to this, there was always music sounding in Mellema' parental home, music from all styles. He was confronted at an early age with all sorts of music, ranging from the genius pianist Horowitz (who Mellema still has a great admiration for), composers like Bach and Händel to singer/songwriter Randy Newman and contemporary composers like Arvo Pärt and Louis Andriessen. Also, when choosing his instrument, he was proposed different wind instruments (Mellema had asthma, hence his parents proposed a wind instrument, this could help his illness) and in the end the choice was between clarinet and saxophone. In practice the meant choosing between a Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman album: the choice was easily made: Bird won! Mellema owned his first saxophone one month later.
Mellema's first teacher was René de Jong in the south of the Netherlands. De Jong was a very enthusiatic teacher who at that time had a exceptional number of very talented students in his class. They joined in saxophone orchestra, saxophone quartets and the big band. Ensemble playing really stimulated Mellema's love for music. He loved (and still does!) to interact with his colleagues and talk about music and saxophone playing.
When it was time to choose a school to learn how to play saxophone professionally, Mellema did not choose the school that his teacher at that time graduated from, the Tilburg conservatory. Mellema chose Amsterdam, to study with the young up and coming saxophonist Arno Bornkamp, who just won the Netherlands Music Award. Mellema also wanted to be in a major European city. Amsterdam was the place for him to discover al sorts of music and go hear the Concertgebouw Orchestra, see museums, visit underground performances. The Amsterdam Conservatory and the city itself shaped Mellema's musical background further.
Mellema's conservatory teacher was the one who taught him to combine the saxophonistic details and big form: Arno Bornkamp. He was the first generation that can really say that classical saxophone is to be taken seriously and that has a general level of playing that is comparable to that of other classical instruments, like violin, oboe, clarinet, etcetera. Bornkamp showed him how to blow through the instrument, how to make different colours, the possibilities of phrasing. Having lessons from Bornkamp and him playing for Mellema, many times was an 'aha erlebnis'; "of course it should be played like that, why didn't I think of that!".
Swedish saxophonist Christer Johnsson was Mellema's teacher during his time in Sweden. Johnsson showed him that making music is flexible and ever changing. A whole new door towards thinking about music, which in the end led to the same goal as Bornkamp.
Mellema is always looking for recordings that can inspire him. Ma, Maisky, Argerich, Heifetz, Tiempo are among his favourtie classical musicians right now. Especially freedom in making music is something that he is looking for now. To have the feeling that you are improvising, even when playing a piece that he has been playing 15 years.
"Making music is something that is very abstract, something that you cannot grab a hold of. Once you've played a note, it is gone, forever. The next time you play it it will be different, sometimes completely different. Cd recordings help to conserve the style of a plyer, but his true soul can only be heard during a live performance. That is the beauty of music. The audience always hears a concert that is especially for them. That is the only time they will hear these notes played like this. That is extraordinary. In my playing and preparation I always want be aware of this. I want to feel the notes and phrases like they are made of elastic: they keep their basic form but I can stretch them as much as I like."

woensdag 31 januari 2007

Many things to think about

Many things to think about. How to make my music better, how to deal with the busy time that will come up in March (untill June) with all of the concerts? I enjoy my profession, but there's a lot to do. I especially look forward to the quartet tours to the States (Carnegie Debute!), Latvia and the Untied Arabic Emirates and my study for the Netherlands Music Prize... Exciting stuff!
Ties Mellema was admitted to the study trajectory of the Netherlands Music Prize.
Mellema gets the possibility to follow a study programme with expert advice by the NMP committee about the contents of the programme. This will be financially supported. In this period, Mellema gets the oppurtunity to broaden his musical horizon for example by taking lessons and masterclasses over the whole world, having conversations with international top musicians or by focusing on new possibilities in his own field of expertise.

maandag 29 januari 2007

Tuesday evening

Tuesday evening. My two teaching days are over for this week. I enjoy them, it's inspiring. Yesterday I had the lesson with Brian Pollard which was very interesting as well. A lot about story telling through your instrument. Which is a lesson I have heard many times before of course. But this time Pollard had some very concrete tips. I hope I can inegrate his tips into my playing. Already I am experimenting with more types of vibrato.

Oh ad I am back ideed to the A3 mouthpiece. It worked well during the lesso with Mr. Pollard. I oticed today that there are two damages on the tip. It plays well, eve when comparing to the one of one of my students.

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zondag 28 januari 2007

Now off to Arnhem to teach and then I have a lesson from Brian Pollard...

Now off to Arnhem to teach and then I have a lesson from Brian Pollard in the evening at his house. I had a lesson with him ten years ago. At that time I didn't get too much from it but now I hope to be able to translate his things better. 10 years ago I was just starting and drowning myself in Arno's lessons.
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zaterdag 27 januari 2007

Tired

Tired! Yesterday Michiel gave a party and apparently I stayed untill 3:00! The next morning we moved Jurgen and Kim to Westerpark at 10:00. Now I am tired :-)
I practiced a bit today, again on the AL3, the new necks I will send back. The AL3 might not sound the best, but it is easier to do things on that I am learning right now. Can't exactly explain. It has to do with clearity of the vibrato, legato and phrasing.

vrijdag 26 januari 2007

Good rehearsal with Wijnand today

Good rehearsal with Wijnand today. I tried out some new necks but it was heavily out of tune. That was a shame. Other that we worked on Brahms clarinet sonata and Mendelssohn cello sonata. That was good work! We tried to really get into the notes. We try to play the Brahms light in stead of heavy sostenuto like you normally hear it. Maybe we'll change but it's a nice experiment!
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