News

 

2018

In 2018 Bank writes A Waltz for Wim for trumpet and organ in memory of the composer Wim de Ruiter (1943-2017).
The first performance is on 30-11-2018 in the St-Gertrudis Cathedral in Utrecht by Piet van der Steen (organ) and Peter van Dinther (trumpet).
During the same concert Bank’s composition Fifths for solo trumpet will be premiered by Peter van Dinther.

For the 24Preludia-project of the pianist Frederique Lucanet Bank writes Prelude for piano solo based on the g-minor prelude from the Wohl Temperierte Klavier part 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The first performance is in the Mozes en Aaronkerk in Amsterdam on 27-6-2018 by Frederique Lucanet.

On 17-7-2018 Noortje Bank (mezzo-soprano) and Brook Cuden (piano) perform for the first time Druppels op Wangen (Drops on Cheeks), a song-cycle on words by Maaike Klaster. The concert takes place in the Vinventiuskerk in Amsterdam.
During the same concert three parts from Bank’s Monsieur Racine mène la danse for piano solo are also given the first performance by the pianist Brook Cuden.

 


orgelpark

2017

On 28 May 2017 the first performance of Moya’s Song takes place during the Composers’ Portrait Jacques Bank in the Orgelpark in Amsterdam.

The other compositions of his performed during this concert are: Purcelliana (organ, 4 hands/4feet), A frozen trumpet in Helsinki (piccolo trumpet and mixed choir), The End (baritone solo), Vier Lieder ohne Worte (string quartet) and Felix und Clara (string quartet and mixed choir).

The performers are the chamber choir Ad Parnassum conducted by Anthony Zielhorst, Jelena Bazova, Toon IJzerman and Panos Iliopoulos (organ), Erwin ter Bogt (piccolo trumpet), Berend Eijkhout (baritone) and the Matangi String Quartet.

 


Moya Howlett

2016

In April 2016 Bank finishes Moya’s Song, a composition for mixed chorus and organ. It is based on the poem Deaf Poets from the collection of poems Us by the English author Moya Howlett.


2015

On the 15th of November Diptych nr. 2, consisting of A Tough Winter and Finally Arrived in the version for mezzo-soprano, accordion and violoncello, was premiered by Trio Vernice in Haus Ruschhaus in Münster (Germany).

Trio Vernice consists of Heide Bertram (mezzo-soprano), Marieke Kroes (accordion) and Cecilia Rubio Zamora (violoncello).

 

On the 2nd of May 2015 Bank’s thoroughly revised version of his
Die Pfeiferstube
 was performed for the first time by the David Kweksilber Big Band in the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne.

The composition is based on the short novel Die Pfeiferstube by the German author Paul Alverdes. This true story serves as a kind of screenplay for the composition.

During the First World War three German soldiers are severely wounded at the throat. They are in danger of suffocating. To prevent this, silver tubes are inserted in their throats by way of windpipe. That’s why a whistling sound can be heard when breathing and speaking. Hence they are called ‘Pfeifer’ (whistlers) and their hospital ward, Die Pfeiferstube (the whistlers’ room).

They are joined by an English prisoner of war with the same handicap. The initial mutual hostility is great. However, it disappears when they begin to realize they are all in the same boat.

Much to their surprise they find out that both their national hymns (God save the King and Heil dir im Siegerkranz) have different words, but the same melody. Humming together this melody enhances considerably their sense of comradeship.


2014

Jacques Bank’s new composition The Jazzman, his Wife and the Persian Poet was premiered in the Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, on 8 November 2014. The day after a second performance took place in the Church of St. Luke in the Fields also in New York City. The piece was commissioned by the New York chorus CANTORI NEW YORK (conductor Mark Shapiro). The commission was made possible by the financial support of the ANN STOOKEY FUND for NEW MUSIC (www.annstookeyfund.org).

The performers were: Maryann Plunkett (narrator), Cantori New York (mixed chorus), Thomas Bergeron en Paul Murphy (trumpet), Kris Saebo (double bass), Jared Soldiviero (percussion), Jason Wirth (piano). The conductor was Mark Shapiro.

From 1950 until his death in 1955 the legendary jazz musician, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker lived together with Beverly Dolores Berg, better known as Chan Parker, in New York. Although not legally married, he always thought of Chan as his wife.
In a number of interviews and in her autobiography, MY LIFE IN E-FLAT, Chan Parker has drawn a frank and vivid picture of the turbulent, complex but above all loving relationship with Bird. Verbatim quotes from these sources form the text of the narrator, who plays the role of Chan Parker.
The text of the chorus comes from the RUBAIYAT, a volume of poems by the Persian poet, Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), in a translation by Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883). Allegedly, Bird’s favourite poem was a quatrain (‘Bird of Time’) from this collection. Hence the role of Omar Khayyam as Bird’s alter ego.
The chorus plays the same role as the chorus in a Greek drama. It acts as commentator, putting Bird’s moods and emotions, described in Chan Parker’s story, in a wider perspective; the down-to-earth words of Chan Parker annotated by the elevated reflections of Omar Khayyam.
There are no references to Charlie Parker’s music. Instead, the composition zooms in on the man himself, his character and the relationship he had with the woman he so dearly loved. Consequently there is no saxophone in the instrumental line-up.
The composition is divided into 12 parts which are bound together by the instrumental ensemble.

 


2013

On Friday June 7, 2013 Marieke Vos performed for the first time the composition The Major speaks to Kees for clarinet solo during her final exam concert in the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam.
The composition is based on Jacques Bank’s opera: Major Taylor, the fastest bicycle rider in the world.

 


2012

On the 3rd of November 2012 Bank’s composition Felix und Clara for mixed choir and string quartet will be performed by the American choir CANTORI NEW YORK conducted by Mark Shapiro. The concert will take place in the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York.

Subject of the composition is the tense relationship between Clara Schumann and her youngest son Felix. Felix (1854-1879) played the violin and wrote poetry. Clara (1819-1896) took the view that he lacked the talent and the character to fulfil his artistic aspirations. In partly ruthless, partly loving and caring letters she confronted him with her opinion. The composition consists of 10 parts with no breaks. Both protagonists have the floor in turns, Felix with a number of unpublished poems (family friend Brahms has set a few of them to music) and Clara with fragments from her letters to Felix and others, spoken by a solo voice.

On Sunday the 16th of September a CD, called “BETWEEN TWO WORLDS” dedicated to compositions by Jacques Bank, will be released via the website of VISISONOR (www.visisonor.org).

On it are three works: John Clare, Fred Walking Badger and Aaron Rivers are missing and Gebroken Sprookjes (Broken Fairy-tales) performed by the BASHO ensemble (conductor Jurrien Sligter) and the singers Marcel Beekman and Lieuwe Visser.

From October 2011 till February 2012 Jacques Bank has been ‘composer in residence’ at the Utrecht Conservatory.
During this period he coached ten composition students. They were supposed to write a short piece for a small ensemble based on a text.

The ten pieces were performed during concerts on the 3rd and 4th
of February in Utrecht. Also on the programme was Jacques Bank’s Fred Walking Badger and Aaron Rivers are missing for speaking voice and 13 instruments.


2011
On the 24th of June 2011 Egbert Spelde, senior teacher of the accordion at the ArTEZ Conservatory in Enschede, takes his formal leave. Especially for his farewell concert Bank writes Also sprach Egbert, a composition for speaking voice, 5 accordions (Netherlands Accordion Ensemble) and violoncello. It is based on comments on music made by Egbert Spelde in interviews, lessons and articles.In July Minutes of Lives is put on YouTube in its entirety. The beautiful images are by the video artist Kees Vos. The performers are Djoke Winkler Prins and the Netherlands Clarinet Quartet.

On the 26th of September 2011 Die Pfeiferstube is performed for the first time by the David Kweksilber Big Band in the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. The composition is based on the short novel Die Pfeiferstube by the German author Paul Alverdes. This true story serves as a kind of screenplay for the composition. During the First World War three German soldiers are severely wounded at the throat. They are in danger of suffocating. To prevent this, silver tubes are inserted in their throats by way of windpipe. That’s why a whistling sound can be heard when breathing and speaking. Hence they are called ‘Pfeifer’ (whistlers) and their hospital ward ‘Die Pfeiferstube’ (the whistlers’ room). They are joined by an English prisoner of war with the same handicap. The initial mutual hostility is great. However, it disappears when they begin to realize they are all in the same boat. Much to their surprise they find out that both their national hymns (God save the King and Heil dir im Siegenkranz) have different words, but the same melody. Humming together this melody enhances considerably their sense of comradeship.

On the 16th of October 2011 Journey out of Essex, written in 2002, is performed again by Huib Ramaer (speaking voice) and members of HET Ensemble. It is part of the series of concerts Young Professionals in Music in the Bethaniënklooster in Amsterdam. The composition is based on a text by the 19th century, English author John Clare. It is an account of his flight from the psychiatric hospital and the four days’, homeward journey on foot. Journey out of Essex is the middle part of the John Clare Triptych.

On the same day From Beginning to End is performed by the bass clarinet player Henri Bok in the Gemeente Museum in The Hague.

In the coming months November, December and January, Jacques Bank is ‘Composer in Residence’ at the Utrecht Conservatory. He coaches 10 composition students who make a piece for an ensemble consisting of 10 conservatory students. The compositions must be based on a text. The results will be performed during two concerts on the 4th of February 2012 in the Utrecht Conservatory. Compositions by Bank himself will also be on the programme.

 


2010

In January 2010 King of the Dutch Blues, homage to André Hazes, a composition for piano, was finished.
Eenzaam zonder jou (Lonely without you), one of the big hits of André Hazes, the one and only, real blues singer of Holland, has been a source of inspiration.
It has been written by request of the pianist Marcel Worms, as part of his ‘blues project’, consisting of an already impressive number of piano pieces inspired by the blues.
The first performance will take place in Theater Kikker in Utrecht on April 6th 2010.


2009

In 2009 the opera Major Taylor, the fastest Bicycle Rider in the World for clarinet solo, actress, soprano, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra will be finished.
It is written by request of the clarinettist David Kweksilber and the Orkest de Volharding.

The opera  is based on the life story of Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor, born in 1878, son of a poor farmhand in the south of the United States.

He is a black man living in a time when segregation of black and white is dominating society.
As it happens, he has one outstanding talent: he can ride the bicycle (of which the technical development is booming at that time) faster than anyone else. A splendid career in track race cycling lies ahead. A perfect chance to escape from the misery of his social class.
With great determination and discipline he develops his talent and, in spite of massive, openly racist opposition, he succeeds in reaching the top of his sport in America, Australia and Europe.
But, the higher his star rises, the more isolated he becomes. He is never fully accepted by the white upper class and when he stops racing, he is completely alienated from the black lower class to which he was born. Attempts to find a new living after his racing career fail. His wife Daisy and daughter Sydney leave him.
At last he desperately tries to conjure up his successful cycling life by writing his autobiography. Nobody is interested. He is forgotten.
On Tuesday 21 June 1932 Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor dies in Cook County Hospital in Chicago. No one is present. He is buried in the grave of the poor.

It is the intention to stage this opera in 2010/11.

Also in 2009 two pieces, commissioned by the Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten, will be written, one for 3 flutes and bigband for the clarinet player David Kweksilber and another one for piano, inspired by blues music, for pianist Marcel Worms.


2008

The theme of 2008 was the remarkable ‘resuscitation’ of the Requiem for a living One.
In 1989 was the first performance in Paradiso in Amsterdam. In spite of its big success (a.o. it was awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize) a deafening silence fell around this substantial composition.
The unusual instrumentation (speaking voice, large mixed choir, 10 accordions, 4 saxophones, 3 double basses and much percussion) and the very difficult choir part obstructed a second performance time and again.
However, Egbert Spelde, the accordion teacher at the Enschede Conservatory and leader of the Nederlands Accordeon Ensemble, succeeded, thanks to his enthusiasm and perseverance, to raise a motivated and professional group of musicians to perform the Requiem for a second and third time  18(!) years  after the première.
Requiem for a living One was performed in the Broederenkerk in Deventer on February 10th and in the Grote Kerk in Enschede on November 24th by the speaking voice Lodewijk Meeuwsen, the choir Consensus Vocalis, the Nederlands Accordeon Ensemble and teachers and students of the Enschede Conservatory conducted by Klaas Stok. Again, it was a big success!

The NSKK (Nederlands Studenten Kamer Koor) performed 8 times in places all over The Netherlands Een bevroren Trompet in Helsinki (A frozen Trumpet in Helsinki). The piccolo trumpet part was played by Sjoerd Pauw and Maria van Nieukerken was the conductor.


2007

Invitation to Eternity was performed for the first time in the Music Gallery of Toronto on October 26th by the Canadian ensemble Continuum, consisting of Max Christie (clarinet), Paul Widner (cello) and Laurent Philippe (piano), with the addition of the soprano Xin Wang.
The piece was selected by a jury from the 450 compositions that were sent to the biennial  ‘Call for Scores’ of the ensemble Continuum.
It was enthusiastically received and, by special request of the musicians themselves, performed for a second time in the Royal Ontario Museum.
Invitation to Eternity is the first part of the John Clare Triptych, consisting also of Journey out of Essex and John Clare. The triptych is based on words by the 19th century English author John Clare.
Now the three different parts have all been performed, seperately from each other. The next step is a performance of the three of them in the right order one after the other…

 

Felix und Clara and Vier lieder ohne Worte were performed for the first time in the Pieterskerk in utrecht on April 20th by the chamber choir Ad Parnassum and the Nieuw Haags Strijkkwartet, consisting of Lucia Siwy Capilla, Ben Mathot, Frank Zielhorst and David Faber.
The conductor was Anthony Zielhorst. The words come from unpublished poems by Felix Schumann (1854-1879), the youngest son of Robert and Clara Schumann. Some fragments from letters by Clara Schumann about the character and career of her son are added.
This new composition was surrounded in the programme by works for choir by Robert and Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Clara’s secret admirer and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
The Romantic choir music was interrupted by another new composition by Jacques Bank, called Vier Lieder ohne Worte with a wink at Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.