CHRISTIAAN  DE  JONG

 

short CV

composer  

flutist/guitarist

teaching

 

press

works  

recordings CD/MP3

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improviser (Rotterdam, Holland 1960)

currently lives and works in Barcelona and Amsterdam

Christiaan de Jong played with   Mike Svoboda, Michael Benedik, Robert Dick, Jorrit Dijkstra, Javier Olondo, Michael Babbinchack, Wiek Hijmans, Markus Stockhausen and Tara Bouman, Oene van Geel, Paul Stouthamer, Corrado Canonnici, Riccardo Massari Spiritini, Frances Marie Uitti, Harry Sparnaay, Josep María Balanyà, Xu Fengxia, Ernesto Briceno, Eric Vloeimans, Wu Wei, Wolter Wierbos, Ere Lievonen, Felicity Provan, Garth Knox and many others.

"When improvising I feel like a painter of sounds and sound structures, the nice thing is that it's even possible to paint with many musicians at the same time in the same room and not only communicate with them, but also with an audience."

 

These days I concentrate mainly on playing my own music on the emplified classical guitar, solo and various duos and small ensembles.

 

examples of different kind of improvisation in mp3:

free improvisation:

Two versions of an improvisation:

conceptual improvisation (semi composed) :

improvisation with a composed theme:

  • Are you Shure? (C. de Jong flute and guitar and Toni Meler drums, 2001)
  • Green and Red mp (C. de Jong flute and guitar and Toni Meler drums, 2001)
  • Canción Propulir mp3 (Néstor Eidler: violin ...completely written out, C. de Jong   guitar and Toni Meler drums.... improvised, 2001)
  • Onweer en Klaprozen mp3 (Christiaan de Jong: emplified classical guitar with pitchswift, half written out score and some electronic playback) 2007

directed improvisation:

 

History.......

Since ever I' have improvised music, as a kid on the recorder and I remember while going to school I was singing on the bycicle all kinds of invented melodies. In my classical guitar lessons it was not really an important part of the education, so as a youngster I did not take my improvising so serious untill I started to play in jazz jam sessions. I did not really like the kind of standard jazz, so it took me some years to find out the way I wanted to improvise and I started to improvise seriously as a professional musician quitte late. The jazz I listened to as a 18 years old  was the jazz which my painting father (www.leodejong.nl)  used to listen to: mostly Anthony Braxton and Willem Breuker and alike. But for a classical trained guitarist that did not work. Then I listened to Ralph Towner and the group Oregon, and that influenced me in a way and also studying pieces by the composer Leo Brouwer pushed me in a freeer way of improvising on the guitar. While studying composition in Paris I took up the flute and from the beginning I started to learn improvising along with playing the standard classical pieces, which one plays in the beginning. Then I traveled for two years through Europe busking and learning to play the flute on my own way, playing with al kinds of musicians on my way, improvising with the gipsies, jazz/blues players, singers. I even played  in some rock festivals on the flute in that period. When I was 22 I thought it was a good idea to take lessons, so I settled down in Amsterdam and took first a year classical flute lessons with Roel Stern and Derek Moore , from whom I learned a good classical flute tecnique. In that time I went to jam sessions in the Amsterdam jazz scene and played also salsa.   I took lessons in indian music and also in baroque transverse flute and authentique baroque interpretation. I went to as many as possible masterclasses from famous musicians from all over the world and went to at least 4 contemporay music concerts a week (including jazz/free impro)
 

I got more and more involved with classical contemporary music, while continuing improvising, mainly on the flute. At some point I started to compose as well and formed a duo with classical guitarist and great improviser Michael Benedik. We played classical concerts, mostly baroque music, but also contemporary composers and we used to play improvisations in many situations.   I started to form my first groups (+/-1990), playing my own music, mixing a sort of free jazz, flamenco, tango, indian music, contemporary composed music. Playing Tierkreis by K. Stockhausen with electric  guitarist Wiek Hijmans had for a while quitte an influence on my composing and improvising.
By that time I was also teaching a lot both classical guitar and flute, privately and at the Amsterdam Music School, and I took lessons in counterpoint and harmony, analysis, twelvetone composition, etc. from great theory teacher Menno Dekker, who heared me improvise and convinced me that in order to compose better I should  work on some leacks in my knowlodge.
That and much more  made me into the composer and improviser/interpreter, who I am know. I moved to Barcelona, where I had met my wife and now from abroad I realised how rich the improvisation and new music scene was in Holland and started to invite great musicians from Holand to play in a concert series  which I founded (PIIM CONCERTS, www.arquired.es/users/piim). I sometimes played with them as well and soon also with other players from other parts of the world. At the same time I founded some groups in Barcelona, like Trío Sekwenza, Ensemble Barcelona Nova Música, Intelligent Sound Ensemble, Globus, and kept composing and improvising.

In 1998 I started to play the electric guitar. This gave me much inspiration and since 2002 I use the instrument in many concerts.
Now I feel  I have reached a ballance between all the styles I have been playing and between my levels of (electric) guitar and 1/4 tone flute. Sometimes I focus more on being a composer and sometimes on being a performer. Improvising is very important to me both as a method to get new ideas for composition as a goal in it self.
 

I like to improvise very free, but also feel the urge to bring in structures or rules, especially when improvising with groups. Sometimes this organizing can be a simple jazz chord structure, and sometimes a grafical score or a general concept.
I learned quitte a lot participating in a project with Butch Morris in Barcelona, who's concepts of directing improvisation I adapted in my way and use since then often. I used this system even bringing together jazz musicians and specialists in old music.
I also like to use improvisation in the context of live electronics or with prepared "tape". I sometimes record  improvisations and manupulate them with some computer programmes and use them again as bases for then more limited improvisations,. in that way I can even play electric guitar and flute at the same time.
 

Ofcourse I use all this material also in my teaching (click here x for   teacher ) and I love to teach masterclasses to classical musicians and free them from too strict only playing from scores and make them invent their own music and discover their own sound. Also I like to teach masterclasses to jazz musicians and have them brake a way from their  bebop limitations and open up to be freeer and learn concepts from contemporay compsed music.
To be continued.....................
 
CD's with improvisation involved: "Simple and Complex" with Trio Sekwenza(1997), "Ferias", two   conductions in the style of Butch Morris played by Barcelona Nova Música(1998), "JAAAA-ZZZ" with Christiaan de Jong Ensemble(2'001), "Fuel y Agua", flute solo with electronics

Demos are availble with improvisaton involved, playing with Michael Benedik, Harry Sparnaay playing an improvised introduction of "Vooruit" for bass clarinet and tape, two pieces playing with the Big Band of the Taller de Musics, conducted by Butch Morris, recordings with "Intelligent Sound Ensemble" with electric guitar and live electronics and turntables, played by Riccardo Massari Spiritini,  and live recordings of various concerts.

masterclasses

I tought masterclasses and gave conferences about improvised music and the relation to contemporary composed music  in the universities of Barcelona, Valencia, Granada and Sevilla, Time of Music Festival in Finland, different academies in Belgium and  coached some ensembles in Holland. I directed many ensembles in Spain and I give monthly masterclasses and teach in my studio in Barcelona and Weesp (near Amsterdam).

I am very open to teach masterclasses or work with orchestras wherever (universities, conservatories, music schools, amateur ensembles, teambuilding for non-musicians,....)

(See teaching and http://www.christiaandejong.com/workshop-improvisatie.htm )

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