Frédéric D'Haene (1961)

Frédéric D'Haene

Born and brought up in Kortrijk, Frédéric D'Haene started studying music in his home town before attending the music academy in Ghent. He then enrolled at the Royal Conservatoire in Liège, where he was taught by Frederic Rzewski and Walter Zimmerman and received guidance from Henri Pousseur and the Slovene composer Vinko Globokar (1934). In 1986, he graduated with a degree in musicology from Ghent University, writing a dissertation on Webern'sVariations for Orchestra. Keen to expand his knowledge further, in 1988 he attended the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, a leading venue for avant-garde music. He was also introduced to Japanese court music (gagaku) by Tadatoshi Miyagawa. He worked as Frederic Rzewski's assistant at the Conservatoire in Liège from 1990 to 1996 and taught aesthetics at the Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst in Ghent (1999-2000) before deciding to focus entirely on creation, moving to the Netherlands where he lived as a freelance composer. He returned to Belgium in 2009, setting up the non-profit-making association De Muziekautarchie, with the objective of improving composers' socio-economic status.

He mainly writes commissioned compositions, in his developed technique of 'paradoxical coexistence' for mostly traditional formations, but he also composed work combining a gagaku orchestra with a chamber orchestra in Music with silent aitake's for example. His music has been performed by countless musicians and ensembles. They include Geoffrey Madge, Frederic Rzewski, Wibert Aerts, Daan Vandewalle, Yutaka and Saori Oya, Marianne Schroeder, Claude Coppens, Jean-Pierre Peuvion, Armand Angster, David Cohen, Wim Konink, James Wood, Champ d'Action, The BRTN Philharmonic orchestra, the L'art pour l'art Ensemble, the Danel Quartet, Q-02, the Phoenix Trio, Hermesensemble ,Musiques Nouvelles, Het Collectief, to name just a few. His varied work comprises orchestral music, chamber music, pieces for solo instrument and vocal music.

His work has been performed in many places in Belgium and abroad, such as in deSingel, many editions of the Ars Musica festival, Transitfestival, the Blackheath concert Halls, London, the Edmonton New Music festival, Gesellschaft für akustische Lebenshilfe (Kiel-Germany),Toronto Music Gallery and many others.

More recently "Fluxus –static friction" was created by het Collectief, conducted by Robin Engelen, in Tilburg ( NL) in December 2013, "Hearing from nowhere-part 3" in Geneva by the ensemble Contrechamps, conducted by Michael Wendeberg in october 2014 and "Music with silent aitake's" by the Ensemble Modern and Raigakusha, conducted by Kasper de Roo at the festival Frankfurter Positionen in January 2015.

He is actually working on a revision of " Hearing from nowhere – part 1" and is preparing an opera on texts of de Sade and Bonhoeffer, thanks to a grant form the Flemish ministry of culture.

Some fragments of text about the early compositions (up till 2000) written by Thierry Levaux
While one of the characteristics of the 1950s avant-garde was an attitude of "tabula rasa", Frédéric D'Haene believed from the outset that music could be generated from all types of material: he therefore rejects nothing from the past but puts it on an equal footing with any concept that appears of interest to him. He is not afraid of using more traditional formations, such as the string quartet or symphony orchestra, but he has also composed work combining a gagaku orchestra with a chamber orchestra in Music with silent aitake's for example. In the extensive field of his continuous exploration, his key word is pluralism: he does not want to choose one world or one language, but favours an aesthetic of coexistence. Like his vision of society, he does not want there to be barriers of any kind. This principle of coexistence leads him to combine elements which have different origins that might be thought incompatible, allowing them to retain all their specific features and expressive power. He loves paradox which is essential for him at all stages of the creative process. More specifically, he combines modality, atonality and spectral music, random and organised form, East and West, stasis and dynamism, sound mass and silence, constant and changing tempo and simplicity and complexity. Continually putting opposing concepts into perspective gives them a new dimension, broadening them without completely altering their nature.

(2011 - 2012) Fluxus-static friction for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (2009 - in progress) Concerto for cello and chamber orchestra (2010 - 2011) Hearing from nowhere - part three for flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, percussion and piano
(2008) Zen et Révolte for solo violin
(2007) Voiding Streams for piano solo (2003 - 2006) Music with Silent Aitake's for Gagaku and chamber orchestra (2001) Désert axiomatique for percussion and string quartet (2000) Hearing from Nowhere-part two for flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano (1998 - 1999) Poet of Liberty for soprano, flute, cello, piano and percussion obligate (1998) MusicAnarchy I- to breathe that void for solo voice (score) (1997 - 1998) Dissociations centromériques for piano, percussion and chamber orchestra (1995) Scorci del Mocciolo for rock combo and symphony orchestra (1994) Hearing from Nowhere-part one for flute, bass clarinet, viola, cello, percussion and piano (1993) Inert Reacting Substance for chamber orchestra (1993) A-centroid for string quartet (1992) Objets retrouvés pour la collectivité for two trombones (1992) Wozu Dichter - Millimètres for soprano, flute, cello, piano and percussion obligate (1992) The peaks were... The Valleys came in-Musik f¨r Lara for piano solo (1992) Brief an kandinsky for bass clarinet solo (1992 - in progress) Trilogyfragments: great cycle of seven works, in which four of the above compositions will be included (1991) Sans identité for bass clarinet quartet (1991) Pessoa Revisited for flute, cello and piano (1991) For declining Times for piano solo (1998) Allelujàssemblage for choir a cappella(score) (1990) Ohne Titel mit Text for soprano, piano, strings and tape (1991) Stagework "tirannie der hulpverlening" for flute, trombone, harp, percussion and two actors (1989) Communio for two pianos
Paradoxical Coexistence

How do you compose when a mother tongue has disappeared? How do you communicate without a mother tongue? By "mother tongue", I mean the tonal system and everything that comes from it: work based on scales, with motifs, themes, accompaniment formulae and a shared grammar constituting a frame of reference for generations of composers and which was shattered in the twentieth century. Here is a situation full of questions, extreme tension and uncertainty, where the very function of composition changes. It is no longer the production of music, but tends towards invention, creation, construction, making an original musical universe based on a challenge and a battle. To paraphrase Paul Valéry, it could be said that each artist is sizing himself up against this challenge, the challenge considered an existential truth in the face of this absurd situation of uncertainty.

This "challenge-battle" is not just at the root of writing, but also at the root of its execution. Like the composer, musicians find themselves confronted with situations of extreme musical tension, both physical and mental.

The making of my musical universe is not done gratuitously, but is based on a trend in musical material that I have observed, consisting of increasing autonomy and liberation in harmony.

In what is now autonomous or "pure" harmony, chords no longer have the same function. They become static elements of colour, duration and space, and dynamic elements of rhythmical articulation, indeed even percussive material.

Florentine Villa District

I have found a visualisation of this "pure harmony" in the form of simultaneous static and dynamic layers in a painting by Paul Klee entitled Florentinisches Villen Viertel ("Florentine Villa District") which has become a generic model for all my compositions.

In autonomous harmony, the purest chord in the first degree is silence, while in the second degree it is the beat. Between two silences, between two beats, the minimal, most static connection that can be established is the drone, that is to say a sustained sound. This drone can be coloured modally, expressed spectrally or extended and broadened axially by atonal textures. This coexistence of configurations of logically exclusive pitches forms the basis of my technique of "paradoxical coexistence".

This technique also extends to the field of rhythm where a fixed and constant tempo and a changing tempo coexist simultaneously and rhythmical cells of various types - both simple and complex - are superimposed. This polyrhythm converges with the "polyharmony" in the sense that one articulates what the other colours (and vice versa).

More broadly, this technique of paradoxical coexistence is manifested as a coexistence of sound mass and silence, form, energy flow and void, control and aleatory.

Thus the universe evoked at the start as a universe of uncertainty is at the same time affirmed as a universe of relativity in which there is no duality between logically incompatible elements. As a matter of fact, it is close to the "Zen" world which has had a profound impact on me and offers a great parallel with several modes of thinking in the modern western world, such as those found for example in the work of Jackson Pollock or John Cage.

Fluxus-static friction for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
In première gegaan op 17 december 2013.

Video impression

Full version (sound)
Music with Silent Aitake's for Gagaku and chamber orchestra

In première gegaan in januari 2015.

Video impression

Full version (sound)

Sound fragment

Download score
Download background info - by Frederic D'haene
Hearing from nowhere part 3

Concert, played by Ensemble Contrechamps

Interview with Frederic D'haene on Radio Télévision Suisse

> Download score
Voiding Streams for piano solo

Sound fragment

> Download score
(2008) Zen et Révolte voor viool solo

Désert Axiomatique voor slagwerk en strijkkwartet

Sound fragment 1 Sound fragment 2 Download score
Hearing from Nowhere-part two voor fluit, basklarinet, viool, cello, percussie en piano

Full version by HERMESensemble
> Download score
Dissociations centromériques voor piano, slagwerk en kamerorkest

Sound fragment 1 Sound fragment 2 Sound fragment 3 > Download score
Inert Reacting Substance

Sound fragment > Download score
Pessoa Revisited voor fluit, cello en piano

Sound fragment
Your music is not just western contemporary music... it has a feeling of the world, not just the pulse of the world with its frenzied rhythmical continuum, but the scents of the world... not just east/west... but with "roots" - Jean Pierre Peuvion, clarinet player (2015).
Magisterial music - about 'Music with silent aitake's', Claude Ledoux, composer(2016).
My bravo to you because you try to open doors which other composers don't have courage to open - Kee Yong Chong, composer (2009)
Self-willed, uncompromising and dramatic - open music - about 'Hearing from nowhere – part 3': phenomenal music, Mark Delaere, professor Musicology (2011/2015)
I have great respect for his talent and intelligence, both as composer and as teacher - Frederic Rzewski, composer, pianist (2006)
An unmistakable successful fusion between complexity and expressive quality - Rudy Tambuyser, music journalist (2005)
Soft anarchism,music of soft contradiction - Yves Knockaert, professor of philosophy of music and contemporary music (1993)