Jozef van Wissem (born 1962 in Maastricht) is a Dutch minimalist composer and lute player.
He is renowned for his unusual approach of the Renaissance and Baroque lute, probably the most unlikely instruments in the world of contemporary music. Although he uses subtle electronic sound manipulation, van Wissem 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 composed 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 not so much demands concentrated listening, as it will bring the listener in a state of concentrated listening.
Van Wissem runs the Incunabulum label, and performs extensively around the world. He also works with M.B. / Maurizio Bianchi, James Blackshaw, Tetuzi Akiyama and Gary Lucas. With Blackshaw he formed the duo “ Brethren of the Free Spirit’ which has two releases on Important records. Wire Magazine called his solo lute cd “ Stations of the Cross “ a small masterpiece. . He has lectured a.o. at Wesleyan University, Mills College and Cambridge University on ‘the liberation of the lute”. Van Wissem has received numerous commissions and grants, most recently from National Gallery, London . He performs about 80 concerts per year around the world His most recent solo Cd " It is all that is made" was released on Important Records in 2009. Van Wissem was commissioned by National Gallery of London to compose a sound response to Hans Holbein's painting The Ambassadors. (via Wikipedia 1/29/2010 [read more])
» READ MORE