Relaxing things a bit… soon


Manon Nicou w/ the SoulFlip Orchestra @ Esplanade de Montbenon


enjoying open air music

After a full on exam season (by my students) things will be relaxing a bit, quite soon. It’s my favourite season surely. Air. Light. The sun. Open skies. Water. Warmth. Space to listen, and time to get back to a serious practice.

The fall will be very full again. My longtime musical partner and friend, German clarinet player Christof May (we studied, together with Wolfert Brederode as well, at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague – same year, same class) will release a record on the Dutch label Challenge Records, and I am happy to be – courtesy of ECM Records – a part of it. The record is about an hour of purely improvised music, and it features the singular voice of Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvaer. My contribution is spoken word (in my own way, of course, so not quite sure if the term is appropriate – it’s somewhere in between rap, sing-speak and language in music), poems by Emily Brontë. 

Also happy about the upcoming edition of “die horen” (a fantastic German periodical founded by Friedrich Schiller in 1795). The edition, due in fall and curated by Dr. Ulrich Steinmetzger, Benedikt Viertelhaus and Dr. Jürgen Krätzer, is exploring the possible relationships between literature and music. I was invited to write about my ways of composing for words and poetry. The company I’m in is incredible: Wolf Kampmann, Wilhelm Bartsch, Baby Sommer, Bert Noglik, Ketil Bjornstad, Balts Nill, Sven Regener, Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Rolf Schneider, Peter Haertling and Christoph Hein. 

Summer will have me travel to Berlin with Sarah Buechi to mix her thrilling new record “Shadow Garden”, due in fall, as well. 

Right now, I am still in the middle of interviews for my research project on perfect pitch in jazz improvisation. Great musicians – students and professors – are donating their time and insight to help me answer questions. 

But soon, I will be relaxing things a bit… with music like the one I heard this week in Lausanne, open air.