full program 2019

Modern Times

Music by Trio JanssenWierbosJanssen | Thursday 7 March | 20:15

Modern Times | USA, 1936

Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and crafty commentary on class struggle and the dehumanization of men by technology, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy.


Music by Trio JanssenWierbosJanssen (Guus Janssen, Wolter Wierbos and Wim Janssen) will deconstruct Chaplin’s original soundtrack with a trio that includes piano, trombone and drums. Since the film is mostly silent, but also has sounds, the trio will not only manipulate the original music score composed by Chaplin, but will also incorporate the original film sounds into the new soundtrack.


Guus Janssen studied piano and composition at the Sweelinck Academy of Music in Amsterdam. His music is difficult to categorize. It can be a composed improvisation (Brake for pianosolo) or an improvised composition (parts from his Violin Concerto or his opera Noach). Music is like life itself, sometimes it asks for fast decisions and sometimes it needs to be thought over a lot. As a pianist and harpsichordist he performed in various groupings with musicians from John Zorn to Gidon Kremer. Since the early 1980’s he has led his own ensembles, ranging from pianotrios to 11 piece band and opera orchestra. As a soloist, playing mainly his own compositions and improvisations, he has appeared at a lot of international festivals. In addition he has performed with many of the leading Dutch ensembles and orchestras. Janssen’s achievements in the field of jazz and improvised music have been widely acclaimed. It was for them that he received the Boy Edgar Award, 1981. His compositions, quite apart from the pieces written for the Janssen ensembles, range from piano music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely played by, amongst others, the Kronos Quartet, the Schönberg Ensemble, the Ebony Band and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest. In recognition of his standing and quality as a composer, Janssen won the Matthijs Vermeulen Award, 1984. So far Janssen has composed four opera’ s in collaboration with Friso Haverkamp: ‘Faust’s Licht’ (1988/1993), ‘Noach’ (1994), ‘Hier' (2000) and 'Blue, a Pinnocchio in reverse' (2010). In 2015 he composed the opera ‘Koeien operamisha’ for the ICP Orchestra with a libretto by Cherry Duyns, both music and texts base don material of Misha Mengelberg. The opera had its premiere in the Holland Festival followed by a very well received tour along dutch theatres. In 2012 Janssen was honoured with the prestigious Johan Wagenaar Award for his whole oeuvre and in 2015 he received the ‘Art Award’ from the Foundation Adriaan Roland Holst. The jury of the latter praises the flexibility of Janssen as improviser, his enthusiasm as composer and performing musician and his curiosity to new forms of music and combination of idioms.

Edge Wolter Wierbos is considered one of the world’s leading trombone players. He has played throughout Europe, Canada, USA and Asia. Wierbos has many awards to his name, including the Podiumprijs for Jazz and Improvised music and the most important Dutch jazz award, the VPRO Boy Edgar Prize. Like many Dutch brass players Wierbos started out in a ‘fanfare’ (brass band), switching from trumpet to trombone when he was 17. “It looked good, and the trombones walk in front....” His interests range from precise chamber jazz to throbbing post punk and contemporary composed and improvised music. Described as “a phenomenon, both a humorous importer of every style into his template-free, fat-backed sound, and a tireless spy in the house of brass”, he is equally at home using the classic trombone vocabulary or enthusiastically giving a round-trip tour of his horn, from buzzing mute mutations and grizzly blurts to purring multiphonics. He is also “a very good instant composer, good at keeping it moving and not taking it too seriously”. Since 1979 he has played with numerous music ensembles: Cumulus (with Ab Baars and Harry de Wit), JC Tans & Rockets, Theo Loevendie Quintet, Guus Janssen Septet, Loos (Peter van Bergen), Maarten Altena Ensemble and Podiumtrio. He led his own band, Celebration of Difference, and has been involved in theater, dance, television and film projects. He has been invited to play with the EX, Sonic Youth, Gruppo Sportivo and the Nieuw Ensemble (led by Ed Spanjaard).

Edge Drummer Wim Janssen (Heiloo, 21 september 1949) speelt een rol in vele jazz- en improvisatiegroepen van zijn broer, pianist Guus, zoals de verschillende septetten van hem of zijn pianotrio met Ernst Glerum. Ook maakte hij deel uit van de groep: Cosmos Pictures: met Michael Moore, Oene van Geel , Ernst Glerum en Guus Janssen. Hij speelde in het Palinckxquartet, Paul Termos’ Dubbel Expres, Specs en The Gravitones. In 2001 is hij een van de initiatiefnemers van het As If Trio. Op dit moment speelt hij in de groepen “Plots” met Ziv Taubenfeld, Frank van Bommel en Joost Buis en in de groep “On der weg” met Frank van Bommel en Miguel Petrucciani. Naast zijn werk als drummer is Janssen ook beeldend kunstenaar. In die hoedanigheid is hij verantwoordelijk voor een aantal cd-hoezen en maakte hij in de jaren ’80 cartoons van collega-muzikanten voor het maandblad Jazz Nu. Ook was hij jarenlang docent aan de Rietveld Academie en aan de Designacademy in Eindhoven. In het programmaboekje van de October Meeting ’91 omschrijft Kees Polling hem als ‘een van die zeldzame slagwerkers die zich zowel dienstbaar kunnen opstellen aan een te spelen stramien, als daar vrijelijk mee om weten te gaan.’