North Sea Round Town 2024: two special commissions

North Sea Round Town 2024, fringe festival NN North Sea Jazz: Presents two special commissioned projects collaborations between Dutch and international artists.

Première YOURAN II – Joachim Badenhorst
Fringe Festival North Sea Round Town (NSRT) presents YOURAN II, an exceptional concert on July 4, led by clarinettist/saxophonist Joachim Badenhorst at the iconic Laurenskerk. In an increasingly fast-paced world, this magical 2,5 hour long concert is a beacon of peace, inviting audiences to bathe in acoustic and electronic sounds.

For the occasion, Badenhorst compiled an international ensemble consisting of the Japanese Taiko percussionist Tsubasa Hori, Belgian trombone sensation Nabou Claerhout, Scottish trumpeter Alistair Payne, Irish guitarist Simon Jermyn, Rotterdam-based electronic sample artist Rutger Zuydervelt and church organ specialist Hayo Boerema.  With YOURAN II, Badenhorst created a unique experience portraying his artistic vision, following his artistic exploration of the relationship between space and sound, reaching for the borders of improvisation and composition, embracing a unique location. All in all, a must- see for fans of once in a lifetime experience musical theatre. YOURAN Part I premiered at NSRT in 2023 in a former margarine factory in the south of Rotterdam, at the heart of its industrial identity. This year, Badenhorst will entice listeners with a sonic journey tailored to the Laurenskerk church and her specific acoustics.  Matthieu Jouan (Citizen Jazz, France) wrote of YOURAN I: “On trumpet, dazzling and precise, Alistair Payne, and on electric guitar, the Irish Simon Jermyn. Rutger Zuydervelt at the electronic helm, using audiocassette sampling to produce an all-encompassing industrial sound. The performance seemed to stretch the concept of time, flowing from tense to, gradually, relaxing. With De Kaai as its backdrop, Badenhorst presents a play without lines, with music in the lead.”  ‘Youran’ means “the beginning of all things” in Japanese, and could be translated as “unhasty”, “leasured” or “easy-going” in Chinese, pointing at the innovative, unwinding, and calm nature of this performance. 

Thursday, 4th July 2024
Laurenskerk, Grotekerkplein 101, 3011 GC Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Première: Hunters in the Snow - Alessandro Fongaro (Artist in Focus 2024)
Snowy peaks, hunters, mountains, villagers: these elements of the celebrated Renaissance painting The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel remind Fongaro of his childhood in Italy, whilst the work’s Dutch roots feel similar to his own after years of studying and working in The Netherlands. From there, Fongaro moves on to examine the works of influential photographers Giacomelli, Scianna, Koudelka and Brandt as well as directors such as Tarkovsky and Tarr, exploring how they mastered the art of (audio)visual storytelling. 

Drawing inspiration from the Italian singer-songwriter tradition, baroque, romantic and 20st-century classical music and improvised jazz, Alessandro wrote 10 themes for an ensemble that consists of violinists Pablo Rodriguez and George Dumitriu, viola player Yanna Pelser and cellist Thomas van Geelen, all known from their work with North Sea String Quartet, as well as saxophonist Nicolò Ricci, pianist Marta Warelis, and drummer Jim Black. Hunters in the Snow is Fongaro’s Dream Project, the focus of NSRT’s Artist in Focus residency project. “It’s my first time composing for such an ensemble, and I’m thrilled and thankful for the opportunity.”

See here the full program of Alessandro's residencies (English)

Thursday, 27th June 2024
Cinerama, Westblaak 18, 3012 KL Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Image: Alessandro Fongaro, photography: Eric van Nieuwland