This episode of Contrabass Conversations features an interview with composer Bjorn Berkhout. Bjorn has written extensively for the double bass, and he has some great insight into the particular challenges of writing for this instrument. Several excerpts of Bjorn’s music appear throughout the episode. Bjorn’s double bass music can be ordered from Discordia-Music.com.
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Bjorn Berkhout bio:
Dr. Berkhout (b. 1969) received his Bachelors Degree in both Music Composition and Cello Performance from the University of Minnesota. While there he studied composition with Judith Zaimont and cello with Tanya Remenikova. He then received his Masters in Cello Performance, also at the University of Minnesota. In 2003 he received his Doctorate in Composition at Northwestern University where he was awarded the Faricy Award for Creative Music. There he studied with Jay Alan Yim, Amnon Wolman, Bill Karlins, John Anthony Lennon, and Alan Stout. Dr. Berkhout’s music has received attention at many national and international festivals including June in Buffalo, Music Ninety-Eight in Cincinnati, the New Music Symposium 2001 at the Domaine Forget in Canada, and the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany. His music has been recognized through many international awards and contests. In 2005 he was selected as one of six semifinalists for the prestigious Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize. In 2004 he was the winner of the Omaha Symphony Guild’s International Composition Contest for his work REM, a Lucid Dream Fantasy for solo cello and two chamber orchestras. His work Visual Sound, which had its premier in Amsterdam, was nominated for the Gaudeamus Prize 2000 and his work Zapstar was one of six works selected for the ALEA III 2003 International Composers Contest. Dr. Berkhout currently teaches music at Loyola University in Chicago and at the Suzuki-Orff School for young musicians. He also has served as a national judge for the PTA’s Reflections Program since 2000.
This episode of Contrabass Conversations features an interview with composer Bjorn Berkhout. Bjorn discusses his musical training, his various compositions for bass, and the challenges of writing for the double bass. Musical selections from his pieces Steamworks and Rise are also played on the show this week.