1954 - current
Since graduating from the conservatory, Gerard Bouwhuis has established himself as an interpreter of modern, usually twentieth-century, piano music. He gives recitals and is a welcome guest performer with many leading Dutch music ensembles. The long list of composers who have written music for him includes Louis Andriessen, Cornelis ...
Mentioned in the biography of
Biography Gerard Bouwhuis
Since graduating from the conservatory, Gerard Bouwhuis has established himself as an interpreter of modern, usually twentieth-century, piano music. He gives recitals and is a welcome guest performer with many leading Dutch music ensembles. The long list of composers who have written music for him includes Louis Andriessen, Cornelis de Bondt, Diderik Wagenaar, Paul Termos, and Guus Janssen. Bouwhuis is reviving the value of live music in the dance world. The choreographer Krisztina de Châtel calls him “a living metronome with an unprecedented passion for dance in his heart and a brilliant and compelling dynamic in his fingers”. (www.dechatel.nl)
Gerard Bouwhuis is born in Castricum. As a youth he is interested mostly in popular music and though his two older brothers have piano lessons, Bouwhuis has no interest. That changes when he is 12 and his mother hears him playing with the piano and recognizes that he has talent.
At first Bouwhuis prefers to play modern music. But his tastes expand when he studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and has lessons with Geoffrey Madge. There he becomes acquainted with classical composers. The conservatory also stimulates his love for contemporary music. He participates, for example, in the May concerts, where new compositions by Louis Andriessen's students are performed.
Andriessen forms the ensemble Hoketus and Bouwhuis becomes a member. The group is made up of two identically instrumented halves that note for note exchange repetitive patterns with each other: “The listener's perception is continuously flung back and forth between the whole and the constituent parts”. (De Groene Amsterdammer, September 10, 1986). The word hoketus, hocket in English, means hiccupping and refers to a compositional technique used particularly in the fourteenth century. The first piece in the ensemble's repertoire, written by Andriessen himself and also named 'Hoketus', is according to Rob Zuidam “of fascinating simplicity and beauty. It consists of nothing more than two groups of five musicians – alto saxophone, piano, bass guitar, low pan flute, and percussion – that play a chord in alternation. For a half hour, something will change in the rhythm now and then, something in the harmony from time to time, creating a hypnotic flow”. (NRC Handelsblad, February 21, 2003)
Bouwhuis starts The Piano Duo with Cees van Zeeland, who also plays in Hoketus. They concentrate on infrequently performed music, arrangements and contemporary compositions, such as 'Point Blank' (1991) by Huib Emmer, 'Veranderingen' (Changes, 1990) by Guus Janssen, and 'De namen der goden' (The Name of the Gods, 1992) by Cornelis de Bondt. With this unique repertoire, they tour England, the United States, Canada, and South America. In their years of working together, the two develop an identical feeling for timing. This accuracy, together with their boundless energy and solid drive, results in a recognizable style that sets the duo apart on the international scene.
Bouwhuis graduates from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Along with the soloist's diploma, he is awarded the Cuypers Prize for an exceptional final exam.
Bouwhuis' old teacher, Geoffrey Madge, forms – with the composer's approval – the Xenakis Ensemble. Working in close collaboration with composers, the group is able to get their endorsement for performances, and new compositions. The ensemble has more than 40 pieces by Xenakis in its repertoire, among which, 'À l'île de Gorée' (1986), written specially for them. Bouwhuis is part of the permanent core ensemble.
The Hoketus ensemble disbands after 10 years of performing new music by Dutch composers. Bouwhuis and van Zeeland alone continue performing together as The Piano Duo.
Bouwhuis temporarily plays with the avant-garde quintet LOOS, an ensemble begun by Peter van Bergen in 1982. In subsequent years he is a regular member of the group.
He tours Canada and the United States with the violinist Heleen Hulst performing a “dance concert” that revolves around Charles Ives. After, the two form a duo and add works by earlier composers such as Bach, Robert Schumann, Leoš Janáček, and Dmitri Shostakovich to their contemporary classical repertoire.
Bouwhuis helps perpare a special opening for the eleventh Dutch Music Days at the Vredenburg Music Centre in Utrecht. He plays Cornelis de Bondt's 'Grand Hotel', which the composer wrote specially for him in 1988, on a Bösendorfer grand piano. The instrument records his playing in a computer-operated pianola system that can precisely reproduce his performance at the opening three days later. “The keys move; the piano bench remains empty. Meanwhile, the audience can reflect on the question posed by the composer: Where is the pianist's soul? In the piano, in the notes, or in his physical presence?” (de Volkskrant, December 11, 1999)
Before the 'Rooms in Theater' performance in Maastricht on October 6, Bouwhuis is awarded the Mirjam Bos Prize. This award, created by Krisztina de Châtel, is intended for artists who from their own discipline make an important contribution to dance. For decades Gerard Bouwhuis has played a significant role in the world of dance. He worked with the Dansproduktie company, led by Bianca van Dillen, with choreography by Beppy Blankert, he played the solo piano parts in William Forsythe's 'Artifact' for the Nationale Ballet, and he participated in various productions of the Nederlands Dans Theater.
The Johann Wagenaar Foundation creates an award for musicians who have greatly contributed to the cause of Dutch contemporary music. The first Theo Bruins Prize of 5,000 euros goes to Bouwhuis. The Piano Duo celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary. For the occasion, Louis Andriessen composes 'Haags hakkûh'.
Heleen Hulst and Gerard Bouwhuis begin the chamber music ensemble Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, a group of musicians specialized in performing non-conducted chamber music of the 20th and 21st century.
Discography Gerard Bouwhuis
Pianoduo Cees van Zeeland and Gerard Bouwhuis
|Type and year||CD, 1999|
|Label||NM Classics, 92074|
|(onbekend)||Huba de Graaff|
Tomoko Mukaiyama & Gerard Bouwhuis - Canto Ostinato
|Type and year||Album, 2015|
Diderik Wagenaar - Diderik Wagenaar
|Type and year||CD, 1993|
|Label||Composers Voice, CV 29|
|muzikant||Nederlands Blazers Ensemble|
|muzikant||Cees van Zeeland|
|muzikant||Slagwerk Den Haag|
|muzikant||Aurelia Saxofoon Kwartet|
Cornelis de Bondt - Cornelis de Bondt
|Type and year||CD, 2001|
|Label||Composers' Voice, CV 113|
|solist||Radio Kamer Filharmonie|
|muzikant||Walter van Hauwe|
In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.
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