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Photo courtesy of Han Bennink

This is a free event.

Masterclass: Han Bennink and Mary Oliver

January 28, 2014, 1:00 p.m.

710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA [map]

Renowned Dutch drummer Han Bennink, a pioneer in jazz and improvised music since the 1960s is known as much for his deep rhythmic feel as his ability to coax music out of chairs, floors and random objects. Bennink is joined in this masterclass by violinist and violist Mary Oliver, a vital member of diverse European music scenes.

Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink was born in Zaandam near Amsterdam in 1942. His first percussion instrument was a kitchen chair. Later his father, an orchestra percussionist, supplied him with a more conventional outfit, but Han never lost his taste for coaxing sounds from unlikely objects he finds backstage at concerts. He is still very fond of playing chairs.
In Holland in the 1960s, Bennink was quickly recognized as an uncommonly versatile drummer. As a hard swinger in the tradition of his hero Kenny Clarke, he accompanied touring American jazz stars, including Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Dexter Gordon. At the same time, Bennink participated in the creation of a European improvised music which began to evolve a new identity, apart from its jazz roots. With fellow Dutch pioneers, pianist Misha Mengelberg and saxophonist Willem Breuker, he founded the musicians collective Instant Composers Pool in 1967. Bennink anchored various bands led by Mengelberg or Breuker, and appeared in their comic music-theater productions.

Hennink has collaborated saxophonists John Tchicai and Peter Broetzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey and pianist Fred van Hove, South African bassist Harry Miller, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, trombonists Roswell Rudd and George Lewis, and big-bandleaders Sean Bergin and Andy Sheppard.
From 1988 to'98 Bennink's main vehicle was Clusone 3, with saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore and cellist Ernst Reijseger, a band noted for its free-wheeling mix of swinging jazz standards, wide-open improvising, and tender ballads.
Nowadays he is frequently heard with tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius's quartet and in a trio with pianist/keyboardist Cor Fuhler and bassist Wilbert de Joode, and he still collaborates occasionally with jazz luminaries such as Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman and Ray Anderson.
A conspicuous feature of Bennink's musical life since the 1960s is the spontaneous duo concert with musicians of many nationalities and musical inclinations; in the '90s he recorded in duo with among others pianists Mengelberg, Irene Schweizer and Myra Melford, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, trumpeter Dave Douglas and tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin. Since 2008 Han Bennink has his own Han Bennink Trio consisting of Han Bennink, Joachim Badenhorst on clarinet and Simon Toldam on piano. (excerpted from a bio by Kevin Whitehead)

Mary Oliver was born in La Jolla, California, and studied at San Francisco State University (Bachelor of Music), Mills College (Master of Fine Arts) and the University of California, San Diego where she received her Ph.D in 1993 for her research in the theory and practice of improvised music. Her work as a soloist encompasses both composed and improvised contemporary music; she has premiered works by among others, Richard Barrett, John Cage, Chaya Czernowin, Brian Ferneyhough, Joëlle Léandre, Liza Lim, George E. Lewis, Richard Teitelbaum and Iannis Xenakis. Oliver has worked alongside improvising musicians such as Ab Baars, Han Bennink, Cor Fuhler, Tristan Honsinger, Joëlle Léandre, George E. Lewis, Misha Mengelberg and Rozemarie Heggen. As a soloist and ensemble player she has performed in numerous international festivals including the Darmstädter Feriendurse für neue Musik (stipendiaten prize), Donaueschinger Muziektage 2002, October Meeting (Amsterdam), Jazz Marathon (Groningen), DuMaurier Vancouver and Toronto Jazz Festivals, Ars Electronica (Linz), Ars Musica (Brussels), June-in-Buffalo (New York), London Musicians Collective Festival, Copenhagen, European Cultural Festival, Angelica Festival (Bologna), Perth Festival, Brisbane Biennial, SpielArt (Munich), Münchener Biennale and Zürich Tage für Neue Musik, Salzburger Festspiele and Maertz Musik festspiel in Berlin. For the past twelve years she has been based in Amsterdam where she has worked locally and internationally with various ensembles such as Instant Composer’s Pool, Magpie Music and Dance Company, Scapino Ballet, Nieuw Ensemble, Elision Ensemble (Australia), Ensemble Köln, MAE and Xenakis Ensemble. Currently she teaches at the Hogeschol voor Kunst, Utrecht and a member of Instant Composer’s Pool, Ammü (with Han Bennink, Johanna Varner, cello and Christofer Varner – trombone) and Magpie Music Dance Company. Current projects include a duo with contrabassist Rozemarie Heggen, the 6th Room with light designer Ellen Knops and dancer Michael Schumacher, Trio! With clarinetist François Houle and contrabassist Torsten Muller and a duo with Johanna Varner.