About me

Welcome to my website!

I am a professional musician based in Utrecht (NL). Trained as a modern harpist (with Erika Waardenburg) in what feels like a former life, and on the viola da gamba (with Anneke Pols) subsequently, I dedicate myself to historically informed performance practice (HIP for short) on instruments of both the harp and viola da gamba families. At the Conservatorium van Amsterdam I am a HIP harp teacher.

Why HIP? Because I am a curious person...

As a child, there were things I did not want to become: mother, school teacher, nurse, pop star.

Among the many things I did at some point want to become are: luthier, musician, dancer, composer,  florist, astronaut, philosopher. At the age of twelve, after seeing mummified cats (oooh, those pointed little ears!) at the National Museum of Antiquities, I was certain that I would become an archaeologist. Looking back, I think I became all of these things I wanted (bar the florist), to a greater or lesser extent.

For me, playing music which was composed before the era of recordings is a form of archaeology. I like, no -  need - to try and find out how a piece of music might have sounded when it was contemporary, in a world so far removed from our 21st C. reality that it might as well be planet Mars. Not because I am particularly interested in how the composer intended it to sound (for who am I to pretend to know Master Bach's intentions?) but because it makes sense. It makes sense in the same way that playing Chopin on a harpsichord does not. Or not very much... Also, I recall working with composers - way back when I still played the modern harp - and how they might be enthused by a player's unexpected view of their work.

Music needs performance in order to come alive. I might delight in reading a piece of music, hearing it in my mind's ear. But that is like reading a recipe: it does not nourish, nor does it surprise or satisfy the senses beyond the reader's imagination.

To stay with the culinary analogy: to cook a dish, you need the right ingredients. You might veganize a cheese burger (and for very good reasons too!), the result might even taste good, but is it still a cheese burger? If it needs to be altered in order to be acceptable, is the original concept at all worthwile?

Thus, HIP musicking demands the right ingredients and the knowledge to use them.

On the 'Harps' and 'Viola da gamba & Lirone pages', I will elaborate a bit on some very important ingredients: the instruments. In order not to leave things entirely to your imagination, both these and the 'Projects & Programmes' pages have links to videos of (some) instruments.

O, and I am also a ferpectionist...

A ferpectionist manifesto

Axiom: Any live performance which sounds as flawless as a commercial studio recording is likely to sound boring to the extent in which the said recording is edited (i.e. heavily).

The music which I play was composed for ears who could not hear it reproduced again and again. In order to experience the music, it had to be performed, per-fomed, meaning: formed again, formed better, possibly, but in any case: formed anew. In our times, recordings have given us the mixed blessing of being able to hear a piece of music identically again and again. This brought about the necessity to edit out any blemish or accident which in a live performance would be forgotten the next moment, but which would become irksome upon frequent hearing, as a pebble in your shoe becomes more irritating with each step.

 

I am not interested in flawless musicking. This doesn't mean that I don't strive for it. I do, but not at all costs, not at the cost of expression or liveliness. What moves and touches me in a performance,  in a person, is vulnerability, not glib impeccability. For this reason, I might never record a solo album in this life. But then, who knows?

 

All videos on this site are made, and the music played, by myself. They are live recordings in the sense that the musicking has not been edited; what you hear was recorded as one take. However, the videos are edited (within the limits of my small but growing editing skills) to show that I do care about presentation. If you enjoy them - and I hope you do - in stead of listening to them repeatedly, go and experience a live performance if you can, any live performance.

 

(Disclaimer: this was written before an evil little virus made live concerts practically impossible. But I still mean it and I hope you will go and hear live concerts as soon as it will be possible again.)