TENDERNESS by Muriel Boeke
Did you ever try to play violin without your shoulder-rest?
Maybe it brought you the same experience as me; pain, disorder, playing like for the first time and a blush of shame. After forgetting this incident you may have given it a try once more. With the same result; ending with the conclusion: This is not my cup of tea. Last spring I was in search for a new teacher. It brought me to Joan Berkhemer in Amsterdam. I played for him and he accepted me as his pupil. But... his way of teaching and playing the violin was without the shoulder-rest. Not like the baroque-specialists do, he told me, but in the modern way, like a lot of great artists and violinists did, like Heifetz, Elman and Grumiaux.
‘Okay, I will’, I must have been thinking. And this is one of the things I will never regret in whole my life. Joan gave me a first session ‘playing without’ and I was totally upside down. It felt like finding the right way to play for me. My whole body could participate without unnecessarily and disturbing movements. I had a direct and frank contact with my violin. I could feel the vibration of every string through my bones and... I had a terrible pain in my shoulders and neck for ten days. But still convinced I kept trying and followed the lessons from Joan.
Joan developed a method to play without shoulder-rest suitable for every kind of violinist. Professionals who played for half a century ‘with’, beginners who hardly know what a shoulder-rest means, violinist with broad shoulders and a short neck and even the more giraffe-like types.
His technical method, his patience and his fine lessons, combined with the feeling of freedom and real contact in violin playing gave me power to go through weeks of ‘the art of terrible violin playing’. Just before neighbors and family started to complain, it went better and my happiness grew. Playing without shoulder-rest demands an other lefthand technique. In the beginning intonation and vibration is like you never played before. But when you get better and better playing this way, you may never want to use a shoulder-rest again.
I advise you to visit the website from Mokum Symhony, the orchestra Joan Berkhemer conducts. There you can read more about playing without a shoulder-rest, about Joan Berkhemer himself and his inspirations. Maybe you want to visit him for an unforgettable lesson ‘playing without’.
You can also contact me because I am a teacher myself. Since my lessons from Joan I work with my pupils on playing ‘without’ in many ways. And there is of course the possibility you do not want to try it at all. Maybe it's just not your cup of tea. Then I only want to ask you: When you put your shoulder-rest at your violin before going to study or to perform, just think: It ís possible without...
For me, playing without is like a journey in music. A journey I make with my ‘naked’ violin, for which I feel a great love and tenderness.
Jeroen D'hoe is preparing a new work called 'Songs for the Crossing' to be premiered by the Brussels Philharmonic & Vlaams Radio Koor and soprano Hanne Roos in December 2017.
"Songs for the Crossing by Belgian composer Jeroen D’hoe, based on text by Stefan Hertmans, remind us of the infamous crossing of the Yser in Tervaete during World War I. But at the same time, the project could not be more up-to-date: ‘the crossing’ is a metaphor for the current migration of refugees all over the world."
DIVINE GUITAR PIECES by Bart Berman Demodokos
My name is Bart Berman Demodokos. I am a classical guitarist and composer. I am also a teacher of Latin and ancient Greek.
I am now composing a series of guitar pieces, for semi-beginners to medium to advanced students of the classical guitar. The pieces represent Greek mythological figures: they are named after gods and half-gods and bear their characters. Each piece illustrates a different story and expresses a different set of emotions. Each of these études is meant to master a different technical issue. The mastering of a specific technical problem asks for repeating certain musical motives. For example, one of my études is, technically speaking, about the dynamics of echo and reflexion (inverted imitation). It is called Narcissus, the young man who falls in love with his own reflexion in the water, and drowns. The piece ends in a vanishing unisono. Listen to the soundtrack of 'Narcissus' here.
I want to publish a book of at least twenty of these études. Each piece will be accompanied by a little story and an illustration. If you are interested in my Divine Guitar Pieces, please contact me by email.
By Ron Effrink
As a composer I'm an autodidact and I followed classes at Harold Schonewille. In 2016 my composition for orchestra 'The Traveler' was published by Edition MatchingArts. The Traveler was written for the Tristan Keuris contest of 2016. This composition is based on a poem. I’ve tried to translate the text into music. Another piece of music, 'Trio for violin, viola and cello in e', was published in June 2017.
At the moment I'm working on another composition for orchestra. This composition has the title ‘Symfonic Etude’. It will be the basic of my idiom. Some parts of it are written in the pentatonic scale or the whole tone scale, and written in the chain form. The different parts have a sharp border. It is as if you are watching different parts of a movie or scene.
I’m also working on a composition for orchestra titled ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It consists of 7 parts.
See my website where you can listen to some compositions. It’s also possible to listen to 'The Traveler' and 'Trio'. If you want to contact me, you can send me an email.