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ig henneman


21-12-1945 - current


avant-garde, componist, contemporary classical music, jazz


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Ig Henneman

Ig Henneman (Haarlem, 21 December 1945) starts out studying the piano at the conservatory, but switches to violin, and ends up with the viola. Having started her career as a classical musician in various orchestras she forms the women's pop band FC Gerania. Her interest in improvisation increases as she ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1986   Wilbert De Joode
1995   Ab Baars
1998   Han Buhrs
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Biography Ig Henneman

Ig Henneman (Haarlem, 21 December 1945) starts out studying the piano at the conservatory, but switches to violin, and ends up with the viola. Having started her career as a classical musician in various orchestras she forms the women's pop band FC Gerania. Her interest in improvisation increases as she joins pianist-composer Nedly Elstak's groups. Subsequently she starts leading her own groups, like her Quintet, Tentet, String Quartet and Sextet. For these ensembles she writes all of the compositions, in which her classical background shines through. In addition to her work as a band leader-improviser she also provides fully composed music for soloists, as well as for orchestras and ensembles. She runs her own record label Wig, has a duo with her partner life, reed player Ab Baars, and is part of the Queen Mab Trio.

Played in

F.C. Gerania   achtergrondzang, toetsinstrumenten, viool

1950 - 1984

At the age of five Ig Henneman starts taking piano lessons, and from the age of eleven she is also taught to play the violin. In 1963 she enrolls at the conservatory, talking piano as her major. After two years she switches to violin, and ends up with the viola. She works as a freelancer with various orchestras, and in 1977 she is one of the founders of the women's pop band FC Gerania (featuring saxophonist Vera Vingerhoeds), which releases two LPs on its own label. In 1982 pianist-composer Nedly Elstak involves her in his groups Several Singers and a Horn and The Paradise Regained Orchestra. It is her first encounter with improvised music, and the start of a lifelong love-affair with it. In 1982 she writes her first her first film soundtracks for the filmmakers Agna Arens, Marleen Gorris, Mieke van Karsbergen and Jacqueline Bakker, and for the Russian silent film Baby Ryazanskie by Soviet director Olga Preobrazhenskaya.

1985 - 1993

Ig Henneman forms her first group as a leader, a quintet with two reed players (Bart van der Putten and Hein Pijnenburg), double bass (Wilbert de Joode) and drums (Fred van Duynhoven). She writes all of the music herself, and in 1991 she releases the band's debut album, In Grassetto, on her own label Wig. In the meantime she has also started composing fully notated works for various ensembles. In order to hone her composition skills she turns to Robert Heppener for tuition in 1988. In the same year she writes the music for a production by puppeteer Damiet van Dalsum, Kleur. Two more productions are to follow. In 1989 she composes Le Tigri di Mare for the Ricciotti Ensemble. In 1991 the artistic director of the Amsterdam Bimhuis, Huub van Riel, invites her to take part in the October Meeting, an international meeting of improvisers.

Ricciotti Ensemble

1993 - 1995

As a follow-up to the quintet she starts a larger group, the Tentet. The first project she undertakes with this ensemble is a cycle of compositions based on the works of the American poet Emily Dickinson. The CD recording is released as the second catalog number for the Wig label. In 1995 Een Nachtegaal Tijdens de Slaap, based on poems about birds, is the band's second project. In 1994 Ig Henneman assembles an improvising String Quartet. She doesn't opt for the classical line-up, but for violin/viola (Mary Oliver, later replaced by Oene van Geel), viola (Henneman herself), cello (Tristan Honsinger, succeeded by Alex Waterman) and double bass (Wilbert de Joode). This results in darker timbres, which she fully exploits in her compositions for the group. Conductor Ed Spanjaard compiles a program for the Nederlandse Muziekdagen (Dutch Music Festival) with compositions by Robert Heppener and his students. For this festival Ig Henneman writes the composition Righe per Corde for the Ensemble Amadé.


The NPS broadcasting company commissions her to write Swiet Viele, for the Metropole Orchestra, to be performed at the Nederlandse Muziekdagen.


With her String Quartet she performs the program Westwerk. The thematic starting point is the music and architecture of the Middle Ages. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment commissions her to write the works Lichtschuw and Indigo for her Tentet, based on poetry by three generations of Dutch poetesses, on the occasion of the conference 100 jaar Vrouwenarbeid (100 years of Women's Labor). A year later Indigo is released on CD.


The Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition asks Ig Henneman to write a theme for the 42nd competition, for the participants to improvise on in the second round. In 2008 she receives a second commission to write a theme for the competition, this time for the finals.

1999 - 2001

The String Quartet tours Canada and Austria. Two years later there is a tour of the Netherlands and Italy, in which the group performs a special program inspired by Italian music. In 2000 Ig Henneman composes Disegni per Corde e Marimba for the Nieuw Ensemble and Persistente for Orkest De Volharding.


ig henneman Henneman joins the Canadian duo Queen Mab, consisting of (bass)clarinetist Lori Freedman and pianist Marilyn Lerner. The group is renamed Queen Mab Trio, and tours North America. In 2005 the trio's debut album, See Saw, is released by Wig.


Henneman, Henneman & De Swaan is the title of a multi-media concert program, made with her brother, the visual artist Jeroen Henneman, and film maker Carrie de Swaan. The music Ig Henneman writes for the project is performed by her String Quartet augmented by harpist Godelieve Schrama, for whom she also composes the harp solo Tratti per Arpa. The project is released on both DVD and CD.


With her partner, reed player Ab Baars, she has been performing as a duo since 1999. The couple undertakes a European tour in 2006, and subsequently travels to Japan for a series of concerts. They release the album Stof on the Wig label. Ig Henneman composes Bow Valley Whistle for flutist Anne La Berge.

Ab Baars


For the new Clazz Ensemble, which combines contemporary classical music with jazz improvisation, Ig Henneman writes the composition Twirl. For percussionist Wim Konink she writes the marimba solo Molot, which is later also performed by Tatiana Koleva and Fredrike de Winter.


Together with pianist Misha Mengelberg Henneman and Baars record the CD Sliptong. The title refers to the meal the threesome had prior to the recording session (sliptong is the Dutch name for small sole). Henneman and Baars also start the new trio Floating Worlds with the Japanese koto player Michiyo Yagi, exploring the borders of Western and Japanese improvisation.

2010 - 2011

On the occasion of her 65th birthday Ig Henneman releases a box with five CDs and a DVD. The repertoire contains three complete albums, a compilation of her work with the Queen Mab Trio, and a CD plus DVD of the project Henneman, Henneman & De Swaan. The violist also assembles her new Ig Henneman Sextet for a European tour, performing the project Kindred Spirits. The line-up consists of her regular musical partners like Ab Baars, Lori Freedman, Marilyn Lerner and Wilbert de Joode plus the German trumpeter Axel Dörner. In 2011 a first CD by the ensemble is released: Cut a Caper. At the final concert of the tour a new composition, Chant for violin and piano, is first performed by violinist Heleen Hulst and pianist Gerard Bouwhuis.

Discography Ig Henneman

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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