Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!
Hi Nevis! I’m Jurjen, 24, a double bass player who’s currently living in Utrecht, the Netherlands. When I was 8 years old I started playing the cello, and later, around 14, I added the guitar and bass guitar. I played in a youth orchestra, in a couple bands at school, and I was playing more and more, however never thinking about maybe studying music. Until I met the double bass. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful instrument! Then I quickly decided I wanted to go to the conservatory, and after a couple months and some lessons I was accepted in Utrecht.
Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?
I like a lot of different kinds of music. Since I study classical music that’s what I mostly play. I like to play in ensembles and small orchestra’s, with late romantic and modern pieces. But I also won’t say no to a Mahler symphony of Bach cantate. I have an ensemble with saxophone, flute, clarinet and Tessa van Genderen on trumpet. It’s a very unusual setting, so we have to arrange all the music ourselves. Which is great, because we get to pick the pieces that we like most and think would sound nice in our ensemble.
Some of my favorite pieces are Farewell to St Petersburg by Gavin Bryars, a double bass concerto unlike any other that I know where the double bass mixes beautifully with the orchestra and choir in a low register, and Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss, where every string player has his own part. But I also love to listen to music by Nick Cave, Tom waits or Roger Waters.
What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?
One thing I love about music, amongst many other, is that it can bring you in touch with so many people from all over the world. For example, I’ve played at an international music festival in Algiers, I’ve given lessons and masterclasses at Projeto Guri in São Paulo, but even without traveling far myself I can meet and play with people from Italy, Greece, Hong Kong, or any other place, just by walking into the conservatory in Utrecht. And now we go on tour in Scotland! It’s amazing many people you can meet when you play music.
What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?
I expect the Nevis tour to be an incredible experience, unlike anything I have ever done. I have been on orchestra tours before, but it never as intense as this appears to be, with so many performances on so many locations. Playing on so many places where you’d normally never hear live music can, I think, be an enrichment for both the listeners and the players. Looking forward to the tour and meeting everyone!