Ig Henneman (1945, Haarlem)

Born in 1945 in Haarlem, The Netherlands, violist Ig Henneman is a noted composer and bandleader and a key member of the Dutch creative improvising community. With a background that includes playing and recording with a rock band in the late '70s and early '80s, her subsequent career has centered around music that draws from free improvisation and avant jazz as well as chamber classical-informed modern composition. She has also composed for film and theater. With a long history as a bandleader leading many groups showcasing improvisers as well as her own compositions, she nowadays mainly focuses on composing, and improvising with Duo Baars-Henneman, playing solo concerts and performing with ad hoc combinations.
Henneman manages the Wig label, an Amsterdam-based imprint together with her partner. Her music is heard in hundreds of concerts throughout Europe, North America, Brazil and Japan.
Booklet Ig Henneman 65
Programma Componistenportret Ig Henneman 75
Program Composers Portrait Ig Henneman 75
IG HENNEMAN 75 composer improviser knight

According to American critic Ed Hazell “... an artist incapable of remaining satisfied with any music that lies strictly within the boundaries of any one style. (…) it’s a beautiful, functioning musical world all it’s own that Henneman developed organically out of poetry, jazz, classical, improvised music—and birdsong. (…) Not that she doesn’t have chops, but she seems determined to subvert classical notions of instrumental prowess in favor of a deliberately simple approach with more emphasis on timbre and more directly expressive (perhaps this is a legacy of her rock experience?) (…) Here the deliberately awkward rhythms, the dry textures and subdued colors of her playing, the concentration of thought and her ability to pare down to essentials take on an intense vulnerability and humanity. (…) It is sound discovered and organized with no preconceived notions and it is both incredibly touching and intellectually thrilling at the same time."

Some highlights:

• Composers Portrait in celebration of her 75th birthday that finally took place on September 2021 for a limited audience due to Covid-19. For this event Henneman invited a poet and ten musicians: a fine mixture of various backgrounds and ages. They performed the composers work in a variety of line-ups in a program with three premieres, improvisations, earlier works and poems.
The whole event is documented on the video 'IG HENNEMAN 75 composer improviser knight
• 'Solo Songs for Instruments'
Henneman wrote these five Solo Songs for violin, viola, clarinet/bassclarinet, bassoon and cello between 2014-2019. All compositions are inspired by a poem, guided improvisation is an element, as well as the voice of the performer. In 2020 the CD 'Solo Songs for Instruments' will be released on the Wig label.
• Canada tour 2017 and Europe tour 2014 with Perch Hen Brock & Rain ‘Amsterdam meets New York’: a totally improvised quartet featuring Ab Baars, Ig Henneman, Ingrid Laubrock ts, and Tom Rainey drs. This culminated in the CD ‘Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere’.
• New Music Festival Utrecht (2014) Nicolaichurch
Henneman programs her compositions: 'Tratti per Arpa' for harp solo, 'Molot' for marimba-solo , 'Four Dances' for harp and marimba; performed by Godelieve Schrama harp, Fredrike de Winter marimba. And she arranges 'Dream' by John Cage for harp, marimba and organ. Guus Janssen organ, plays his 'Estampie' and improvises on Henneman's organ theme.
• Duo Baars-Henneman tours the USA in 2012 with 'Autumn Songs', later the CD 'Autumn Songs' is released.
• Kindred Spirits project 2010: tour of the Ig Henneman Sextet Europe, release of the box-set Ig Henneman 'Collected' Wig 18, and tours in Canada 2011 and 2012. (cd's 'Cut a Caper' and 'Live @ The Ironworks Vancouver'). 'Chant' for violin and piano’ played by Heleen Hulst and Gerard Bouwhuis.

According to Dutch critic Bas van Putten " ...The music Henneman creates is indescribable. Contrary, dissonant, always changing shape. (...) It’s music without a home. (...) You hear how imagination works. Something lodges in your brain like a germ cell - Schubert, Ustvolskaya, a sound, a rhythm – and haunts you until it flows out in an uncontrolled zigzag movement, jerking and bumpy; or on a fast ride, interrupted on the way or thrown off course by the counter forces of yet other objets trouvés that have developed their own dynamic in the stream of consciousness. A journey like that yields a pseudo anarchic genesis, avoiding discipline and without destination, full of side paths among which the free spirit can always see an exit. This is music of resistance and you hear what resonates in it: contrariness, curiosity, a healthy avant-garde mentality that, against all current notions of beauty, also just happens to soothe the soul."

Self-taught composer Ig Henneman received some years of coaching by Dutch composer Robert Heppener. Since the nineties the music of the Russian composers Galina Ustvolskaya en Sofia Gubaidulina has been an inspiration for Henneman, who is attracted by the extremes of the former’s structural severity and the latter’s improvisational freedom, also to be found in the work of the Hungarian composer György Kurtág. However, her influences are wide ranging and include jazz and pop music as well.
As a five year old, Ig Henneman took piano lessons; at eleven she began to play the violin as well. At the conservatory, she initially studied the piano, later she majored on the violin, but ultimately the viola became her instrument. Ig Henneman played in several symphony orchestras before co-founding the legendary rockband FC Gerania, which performed Henneman’s first compositions. One of her early works is the soundtrack to the 1927 silent movie Baby Ryazanskye by Olga Preobrasjenskaja. Nowadays she is renowned for being one of the ‘New Dutch Swing’ improvisers of the Amsterdam scene as well as for being a prolific and much sought-after composer. She performs at venues and festivals in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and North America. Grants and commissions were given her by the Orgelpark Amsterdam, the Prins Bernhard cultuurfonds, the Canadian Now Society, the Basklarinet Festijn, Performing Arts Fund NL, Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst, the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, the Fonds voor de Amateurkunst en de Podiumkunsten and the Dutch Ministry of Culture.

Henneman's compositions for her improvising groups and her fully notated compositions are documented on Wig and record label Wig, and in the publishing house Donemus:
Wigsite compositions
Booklet Ig Henneman 65

Perch Hen Brock & Rain
Elegiacal (Wig 33) 2023

Ig Henneman
Outside the Rain has Stopped (Wig 32) 2022

Baars Henneman Dumitriu Sola
Aforismen Aforisme Aforismes (ERR32) 2020

Ig Henneman
Solo Songs for Instruments (Wig 31) 2020

Henneman Branch La Berge
Dropping stuff and other folk songs (RPR 1094, Wig 29) 2019

Duo Baars Henneman
Canzoni de Primavera (Wig 28) 2018

Queen Mab Trio
featuring Ig Henneman, Lori Freedman, Marilyn Lerner
Réunion (MKR 102) 2017

Perch Hen Brock & Rain

featuring Ab Baars Ig Henneman Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey
Live & The Jazz Happening Tampere (RPR 1051, Wig 26) 2016

Duo Baars-Henneman
Autumn Songs (Wig 22) 2013

Ig Henneman Sextet
Live @ The Ironworks Vancouver (Wig 21) 2012

Ig Henneman Sextet
Cut a Caper (Wig 19) 2011

Ig Henneman
Collected (Wig 18) 2010

Baars Henneman Mengelberg

Sliptong (Wig 16) 2009

Duo Baars-Henneman
Stof (Wig 13) 2006

Queen Mab Trio
Thin Air (Wig 14) 2006
See Saw (Wig 11) 2005

Henneman String Quartet
Strepen. Music and Image in Concert (CD+DVD) (Wig 10) 2004
Piazza Pia (Wig 07) 2002
Pes (Wig 05) 1999

Ig Henneman Tentet
Indigo (Wig 04) 1998
Repeat that, repeat (Wig 03) 1995
Dickinson (Wig 02) 1993

Ig Henneman Quintet
In Grassetto (Wig 01) 1991

FC Gerania
Get the Knack (FC2) 1983
FC Gerania (FC1) 1981

So far, Ig Henneman has worked with musicians such as Lidy Blijdorp, Jaimie Branch, Fie Schouten, Elisabeth Smalt, Ayumi Paul, Dana Jessen, Diamanda la Berge Dramm, Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, Gerard Bouwhuis, Heleen Hulst, Helena Basilova, Dave Burrell, Ivo Janssen, Misha Mengelberg, Alberto Braida, Guus Janssen, Han Buhrs, Axel Doerner, Godelieve Schrama, Fredrike de Winter, Lisa Miller, Katrien Ex, Lori Freedman, Mark Helias, Tristan Honsinger, François Houle, Wilbert de Joode, Theo Jörgensmann, Takuji Kawai, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Lerner, Sabina Meyer, Michael Moore, Phil Minton, Ernst Reijseger, Roswell Rudd, Fabrizio Spera, Roger Turner, Veryan Weston, Wolter Wierbos, Marjanne Kweksilber, dancers Hisako Horikawa and Masako Noguchi and poets Anneke Brassinga, H. C. ten Berge and Diane Régimbald. And she worked with orchestra's and ensembles like the David Kweksilber Big Band, Residentie Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra, Instabile Orchestra (IT), the Nieuw Ensemble, Orkest De Volharding and her own improvising groups.