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Luc Houtkamp


04-12-1953 - current


altsaxofoon, contemporary classical music, electronic mucic and computer music, elektronica, improvised, jazz, klarinet, sopraansaxofoon, tenorsaxofoon


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Luc Houtkamp

Luc Houtkamp (The Hague, 4 December 1953) starts out as a saxophonist in the jazz and improvised music scene of The Hague, where he specializes in the use of unusual techniques, such as multiphonics, alternate fingerings, flutter tongue, and slap tongue. As a soloist he first gains a national, and ...
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altsaxofoon, elektronica, klarinet, sopraansaxofoon, tenorsaxofoon

Mentioned in the biography of

1975   Kees Hazevoet
1999   Wiek Hijmans
2001   Han Buhrs

Biography Luc Houtkamp

Luc Houtkamp (The Hague, 4 December 1953) starts out as a saxophonist in the jazz and improvised music scene of The Hague, where he specializes in the use of unusual techniques, such as multiphonics, alternate fingerings, flutter tongue, and slap tongue. As a soloist he first gains a national, and then also an international reputation, and starts playing with foreign musicians, both in regular and ad hoc combinations. In his hometown of The Hague he dedicates himself to the promotion of improvised music, and electronic music, which starts to play an increasingly important role in his work. In his POW Ensemble he combines acoustic instruments with live electronics and computers.

1970 - 1976

Following lessons from Michel Waisvisz, Han Bennink and Gilius van Bergeijk at the Vrije Academie in The Hague Luc Houtkamp starts a duo with the Swedish percussionist Sven Ǻke Johansson, with whom he also forms the quintet STEAM. He plays in pianist Kees Hazevoet's band Hazevoet & Co, and the Rumoera Quartet with saxophonist Guus Tangelder, trombonist Geerhard Zwiers and drummer Joop van Erven.

1979 - 1984

He joins saxophonist, oboist and composer Gilius van Bergeijk for various projects. Together they start the record label Ooyevaer Disk and the promotion agency Ooyevaer Desk. Houtkamp plays in Gilius' Haagsche Hofje, and in 1981 they record a duo LP. The same year sees the start of the trio Klimaat, featuring Houtkamp, violinist Maartje ten Hoorn and bassist Jan den Boer. A year later he joins the saxophone quartet Hommage, with André Goudbeek, Michel Mast and John Ruocco. Both groups continue until 1984.

1984 - 1990

Houtkamp forms a trio/quartet, featuring trombonist Conrad Bauer, cellist Ernst Reijseger and drummer Han Bennink. In the same period he is involved in projects with multi-instrumentalist and sound artist Horst Rickels and vocalist Greetje Bijma. In 1986 Houtkamp composes Odd & Even, in collaboration with Tony van Campen, rekindling his interest in electronic music, with which he had already been experimenting at the Vrije Academie. With the British pianist Alex Maguire and the German percussionist Willie Kellers he starts an acoustic improv trio, which will last from 1987 to 1991. In 1989 he joins the large King Übü Orchestrü, led by the German reed player Wolfgang Fuchs (quitting again in 1992).


In order to release his own music Houtkamp starts his own label, X-OR. The first item in the catalogue is his solo CD The Songlines. Percussionist Gert Jan Prins, who already had plans to start a label, joins two years later, and the two start playing together on a regular basis, first of all in a quartet with the German trombonist Johannes Bauer and bassist Carl G. Beukman. In 1993 the group records the CD Metslawier in the Frisian village of the same name. The foursome continue to play until 2001 in duo, trio or quartet formats.


With label partner Gert Jan Prins he starts a new trio, with the Belgian pianist Fred van Hove as its third member. During a Canadian tour they record a live CD. The same year the international improv quartet Four in One is formed, featuring Houtkamp and the Germans Johannes Bauer, Dieter Manderscheid (bass) and Martin Blume (percussion).


When Gert Jan Prins leaves X-OR Houtkamp decides to continue the label's activities with guitarist Wiek Hijmans, with whom he also forms a duo. In 2001 they enter into a collaboration with the Italian sound artist Riccardo Massari Spiritini, as Oggetti Smarriti.


Luc Houtkamp in het Bimhuis The POW Ensemble organizes a festival devoted to electronic and computer music (Digital Sound Force).


On 23 March Luc Houtkamp receives the VPRO/Boy Edgar Prijs 2004 (the major Dutch jazz award) during a festive ceremony at the Amsterdam Bimhuis. The jury praises the truly unique way in which Luc Houtkamp has molded his own, inimitable style. 'He has set himself the task of continually expanding the sound options of his instrument,' according to the jury report. 'Luc Houtkamp bridges gaps between the worlds of jazz, free improvisation and electronic music, which this self-taught individual expands with knowledge and experiment, all of this with a relentless fervor.'


With the POW Ensemble and various guests Houtkamp records the CD Birdsong Inside the Egg, a collection of improvisations, songs and weird psychedelics. In a sense it is a precursor to the program Homage to Hazard, which premieres in 2008. This features Houtkamp and Buhrs, singer, flutist and electronics and laptop player Guy Harries, trombonist Joseph Bowie (later replaced by Wolter Wierbos), cellist Nina Hitz (later succeeded by Jacqueline Hamelink), and sound technician and electronics player Micha de Kanter. The ensemble performs songs that take the insecurity and danger of modern society as their subject matter.


Wiek Hijmans and Guy Harries are Houtkamp's partners in the POW Ensemble for the project Strange Attractors, which tours Indonesia.


Portret Luc Houtkamp In September the CD Continuum is released, containing Houtkamp's compositions BoX of BriX (2010) and Uiterste Staat (2009), performed by the POW Ensemble. BoX of BriX is also the name of a 'cheerful musical program with melodical baroque pieces, bits of jazz, a country song about a cowboy who smashes a fly, larded with improvisations and live-electronics'. In October two performances take place.

Discography Luc Houtkamp

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.

Photos Luc Houtkamp

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