Performance and Talk at Emily Harvey Foundation
7 PM - Saturday, May 23, 2009
537 Broadway (ring buzzer #2) - $6

Van Wissem Myspace Page

On Saturday, May 23rd, the Emily Harvey Foundation will host a performance and talk by Dutch composer-lutenist, Jozef Van Wissem. Van Wissem is renowned for his unusual approach of the Renaissance and Baroque lute. He cuts and pastes classical pieces, reverses melodies, adds electronics and processed field recordings made at airport lounges and train stations. The unusual wedlock of composition and improvisation creates an unheard amalgam of contemporary folk and late Renaissance music. He has accomplished the strange feat of bridging the idiom of seventeenth century lute literature and twenty-first century composition. Although Van Wissem uses subtle electronic sound manipulation, he has largely stayed faithful to the particular timbre, resonance and playing technique of the lute. Van Wissem first came to be noticed a few years ago because of his radical conceptual approach to Renaissance lute music: he deconstructed existing compositions, for instance by playing them backwards. He also composes his own pieces for lute, using palindromes and mirrored structures. His music therefore does not have a traditional linear progression, nor leads to a climax, it rather stays on the same level of intensity. His music is quiet and not so much demands concentrated listening, as it will bring the listener in a state of concentrated listening. Van Wissem runs the Incunabulum record label, and performs extensively around the world. He has worked with Tetuzi Akiyama, Maurizio Bianchi and James Blackshaw. With Blackshaw he has formed Brethren of the Free Spirit ( Important Records) He also lectures on idiomatic lute composition and improvisation and the next solo CD/LP entitled "It is all that is made" will be released by Important Records in March 2009

"In The Mirror of Eternal Light, the Dutch lutist Jozef van Wissem catches his own reflection in tender, minimalist picking and gold-spray overdubs." - ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE


"Jozef van Wissem has been slowly reinventing the lute for the last three decades. Among the slew of fast-picking, fancy-fretting guitar players so prevalent today, his lute’s voice is a quiet oasis, and 'Stations of the Cross' a small masterpiece." - The WIRE

"The way Van Wissem traces and retraces denying the listener any resolution or catharsis, is also pretty contemporary in its attitude of refusal; has there ever been a time besides now when more musicians refuted the expectations of audiences and authorities? The lack of pay-off makes the music potentially maddening; it actually stymies linear thought on an even more symbolic level, by constructing pieces that begin where they end and are therefore potentially endless, he subverts the march of time" - DUSTED MAGAZINE