Contemporary Classical: Touring the 'new'

56-year-old French musician Jo?lle L?andre will lug her double bass around Israel for four shows this week.

leandre (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Born in Aix-en-Provence, 56-year-old French double bass player, improviser and composer Joëlle Léandre is one of the dominant figures of the new European music. The term "new music" refers to pieces written, imagined or recorded, or improvised from the beginning of the 20th century 'til the present. Rather than being a popular melody that one can sing, new music is more likely to be fragments of melodies (as in the 12-tone method used by Schoenberg) or less identifiable than that - and therefore meant to involve one's imagination. Unfortunately, due to its often inaccessible nature there are times when new music could be called "door music", as in music that makes you run to the door. Judging by her popularity, Léandre's music is not door music. Since 1981, she has more than a 100 recordings to her credit. Trained in orchestral as well as contemporary music, she has played with Itinéraire, 2e2m and Pierre Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain. Léandre has also worked with Merce Cunningham of modern dance fame and with John Cage, who has composed especially for her. Léandre has played with some of the great names in jazz and improvisation, such as Derek Beley, Anthony Braxton, Georges Lewis, Evan Parker, Irène Schweizer, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith and John Zorn. She has written extensively for dance and theatre and has staged a number of multidisciplinary performances. Léandre is set to stage four performances in Israel this week. Today at noon, as part of the International Oud Festival in Jerusalem, she is performing at Beit Shmuel with Sameer Makhoul on vocals and oud. Saturday evening at 9 p.m., she appears at the Khan Theater with Jean Claude Jones, also a double bass, as well as electronics, player and American-born composer-saxophonist Stephen Horenstein, in a show appropriately called Three of a Kind. Tuesday evening she can be heard at Levontin 7 in Concert Duos and Trios with sax players Assif Tsachar, Albert Beger and Ariel Shibolet - plus pianist Daniel Sarid and drummer Haggai Fertshman. She ends her Israeli tour with a solo performance at Ha'teiva Concert Hall in Old Jaffa on Wednesday evening. For information, call: Beit Shmuel: 02-620-3455/6 Khan Hazira Theater: 02-678-3378 Levontin 7: 03-560-6084 Ha'teiva: 03-682-2403