A place for music

How would you define the term “interpretation”? How important is it for you to closely work together with the artists performing your work?

The lute players that have performed my work are usually improvising over my pieces and have become friends yes. I feel that in order to compose new music for lute one needs to master historical lute technique. That takes a long time.

The effect of a piece doesn't merely depend on the performance of the musicians, but also on the place it is performed at. How do you see the relationship between location and sound? In how far do you feel the current system of concert halls is still the right one for your music – or for contemporary music in general?

I perform in art galleries, churches, clubs, outside, airport lounges, libraries, concert halls, museums, living rooms, former strip clubs, you name it. The system of concert halls will disappear yes. The future of live music is house shows. Like in the beginning.

The role of the composer has always been subject to change. What's your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of composers today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?

The task of any composer or artist is to change the world by great art. Most artists are not political however. They don't care. And that's a goddamn shame.

How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience?

By going out there and playing for the kids and not for the specialists only.

Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the composer to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?

I try to make my pieces about the listening experience rather by bringing the listener into a trance by the repetition of a few notes during an elongated period of time.

Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?

The value of music is underrated. There’s no abundance of functional political work.

Composers have traditionally found it hard to secure a living with their art. What are the financial realities you're living with and in which way, do you feel, could they be improved?

I sell records and play shows to make a living. I would need to sell more records, do more shows, but I don't need much.

Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.

Loren Connors, Bas Jan Ader.

Read and hear more Jozef van Wissem at www.jozefvanwissem.com

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