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
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
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
donderdag 27 september 2007
Yesterday William was buried
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...
donderdag 20 september 2007
Sometimes you have to look for magic, or even better, you accidentily ...
zondag 16 september 2007
woensdag 12 september 2007
Yesterday I was in the Media building in Hilversum where Wijnand and I...
maandag 10 september 2007
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: "The [Marcel ...
"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..."
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.
zondag 2 september 2007
Not much news, well actually, I am a bit tired and don't really feel l...
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
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.
zondag 26 augustus 2007
Yesterday Wijnand and me played two concerts on one day: de Amsterdam ...
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 .
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
woensdag 22 augustus 2007
maandag 20 augustus 2007
Me, Liza, Wilmar and Wolfram with Hampson, rehearsing the morning befo...
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
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
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.
woensdag 8 augustus 2007
Back from NY with the quartet
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
Yanagisawa, s991, bent neck
mouthpiece: Selmer S-80, D
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 3,5
ligature: Rovner Dark
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
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
mouthpiece: Selmer S80, C*
reeds: Vandoren Classic, 4
ligature: Vandoren Optimum
zondag 29 juli 2007
Back from Chili
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
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
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?!
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...
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.
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...
-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...
vrijdag 22 juni 2007
Another session with Anner Bijlsma today
woensdag 20 juni 2007
My top 5 deserted island list: (in no particular order) -Heavy Metal B...
The holidays are coming
zaterdag 16 juni 2007
The Hague was looking for a new festival after the North Sea Jazz left...
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
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.
zondag 10 juni 2007
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!
vrijdag 8 juni 2007
First week of Dogtroep performances
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...
zaterdag 2 juni 2007
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
The performances will be a lot of fun. If you can, check them out!
vrijdag 25 mei 2007
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
Good stuff! An interview with Anner Bijlsma from '98
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.
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
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
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
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!
woensdag 9 mei 2007
Busy times for me now
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!
dinsdag 8 mei 2007
Wijnand Van Klaveren's site is online: www
maandag 7 mei 2007
Just ordered zwei akte by Kagel for harp sax and a stripper (which sta...
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.
zaterdag 5 mei 2007
I have two reference altos in my house right now
donderdag 3 mei 2007
Today we had the first Dogtroep rehearsal with the quartet on locaiton...
maandag 30 april 2007
Yesterday was Koninginnedag (Queens day) in the Netherlands; The queen...
vrijdag 27 april 2007
Yesterday Wijnand and I played intermezzo's during the award ceremony ...
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. 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
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.
woensdag 18 april 2007
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
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...
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
donderdag 5 april 2007
We just came back from our Latvia tour in Riga and outside
Off to quartet rehearsal now!
donderdag 29 maart 2007
Check this out and be amazed: http://www
Check this out and be amazed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUYtlMuN_V4 !!!
dinsdag 27 maart 2007
Back from our tour with Merlijn Twaalfhoven
Off to study the music now!
woensdag 21 maart 2007
In Qatar now, the residency of the Dutch ambassador
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
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-...
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...
dinsdag 6 maart 2007
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
dinsdag 27 februari 2007
Yesterday was my birthday and Ailed invited some friends without me kn...
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!
zaterdag 24 februari 2007
Browsing though Richard Dawkins' website (http://richarddawkins
vrijdag 23 februari 2007
Right, with the right material (well, other material) I can finallly s...
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
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....
zaterdag 17 februari 2007
What a healthy Sunday morning: running in the park with Beethoven 6 (B...
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....
vrijdag 16 februari 2007
Today at Matthew's in Edam I tried all of their C* mouthpieces and too...
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!