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New bass solos – James Oesi

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James Oesi, originally from South Africa, is one of the most enthusiastic advocates of the double bass in the Netherlands. At the invitation of the Grachtenfestival, Gaudeamus and November Music, young Dutch composers submitted new compositions for the bassist to perform. After the premiere at the Grachtenfestival they will be reprised during Gaudeamus Muziekweek.

Oesi is a unique musician in the Netherlands. He regularly performs classical solo repertoire in venues such as The Concertgebouw and at festivals including Wonderfeel. But he is just as keen to play new repertoire, for example as a guest musician with Asko | Schönberg and Ensemble Modern. Thanks to his versatility and unique sound, he is a real source of inspiration for composers. In this concert we will hear to what heights he was able to inspire the youngest generation of composers.

The Spanish composer A. Crespo Barba wrote a piece for Oesi inspired by flamenco singing. Boris Bezemer used Oesi’s performance of Bach’s fourth cello suite on Dutch television as a starting point for a polyphonic solo. With Muji, the Japanese composer Aya Yoshida wrote a complex etude for Oesi. Thomas Power from Ireland brings Oesi back to the ground in Talamh, gratefully using the earthy sounds of the double bass.


Aya Yoshida – Muji
Boris Bezemer – Bass piece
A. Crespo Barba – For James Oesi
Thomas Power – Talamh

Download the programme note


James Oesi - double bass

Photo © Stamatis Xanthoulis


Grachtenfestival, November Music, Fonds Podiumkunsten