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“Onze kut-subcultuur-shit-muziek”: Dutch improvised music and the politics of (self-)representation

Colloquium Muziekwetenschap
MA Loes Rusch

December 12, 15:30-17:00
Universiteitstheater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, zaal 3.01

During the 1960s a group of jazz musicians emerged in the Netherlands that distanced themselves from American models of jazz performance. Rather, these self-acclaimed improvising musicians (Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Willem Breuker, among others) sought for their own musical identity by challenging existing boundaries in terms of performance, musical genre, and artistic discipline. In this process they not only committed themselves to the renewal of musical life in the Netherlands, but also to more socially engaged forms of music making.

This talk addresses ways in which media representation has shaped the establishment of Dutch improvised music as a distinctively Dutch form of art. By taking a closer look at fascinating examples of improvised music (Breuker’s “Litany for the 14th of June, 1966,” Leo Cuyper’s Zeeland Suite) I will further demonstrate how improvising musicians strategically – and most intriguingly - deployed the media in their attempts to gain governmental support.