January 7th, 2017 in de Atrium of the The Hague Town Hall. A large audience was gathered to witness the opening of the exposition City of Sounds and to celebrate 40 years of Slagwerk Den Haag. The afternoon was kicked off by Ochestra PISO. PISO is the music programme for toddlers of the Hague Royal Conservatoire. Under the able guidance of coordinator Annelies Meier the kids performed four pieces. That deservedly earned them a roar of applause by the audience.
On stage appeared the Beatbox group of community center of the Future: Ut PLekkie/Leidschenveen (one of the districts of The Hague). Coordinated by Kenneth Seenarine and musically assisted by Slagwerk members Niels Meliefste and Joy Marijs they presented a rap-song.
Then the stage was set for Slagwerk Den Haag themselves. They lined up behind lower jaws of donkeys. A Mexican instrument as Pepe Garcia stated afterwards. The percussionists performed Quid, a composition by Hugo Morales. Hugo studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. And he wrote a fantastic piece for those donkey jaws.
Slagwerk Den Haag
Business director Liesbeth Kok took the microphone:"The City of Sounds (CoS), how does public space sound? That the central question of the project. And waht sounds do you hear? And can one label music to sounds? 80 workshops were given by Slagwerk Den Haag within the framework of City od Sounds. These tracks were published on the website cityofsounds.nl, thereby creating a city plan in sounds. But we also invited composer Aurélie Lierman to mold a composition from selected tracks of the kids and her own field recordings of the City of The Hague. That composition is the center of the exposition to be opened this afternoon. City of Sounds was a brain wave by our Artistic Director Fedor Teunisse after having done workshops in the favelas of Argentina and the slums of Cairo, where we were to give concerts. CoS gives the children a voice, let's people look and listen in a different way to their surroundings, is about social cohesion and very playful is about contemporary sound art. A project as this is a party." Director-governor Jan Jaap Knol of Cultural Participation Fund opened the exposition consisting of two glasshouses with soundscapes. But not before Slagwerk Den Haag performed an improvisations for pairs of scissors.
Former member Wim Vos stated:"Frans van der Kraan, my teacher, saw an important role for percussists in new music. And he motivated us, first Rijnmond Percussion Ensemble, later on Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, and got us gigs. Off course Les Percussions de Strasbourg were our model." Interviewer Fedor Teunisse asked him:"If I would say that the the Hague percussion scene is characterized by adventure and pertness, what would you say?" Wim:"That is right. One can see that in what you do. What you do now with Slagwerk Den Haag is of a wholly different nature from what we did back then. And I think that in 20 years Slagwerk Den Haag still exists and doing whole different things then you do now. That is a sign of vitality of percussion and music in general and of this city with its fantastic conservatory. That institute plays a central role in everything. All talents, young composers - you also work with young composers - young composers and young percussionist meeting each other here, that's a real hotbed for new music."
Music for Bars
Finally the Slagwerk Den Haag and Club Guy & Roni's Poetic Disaster Club took the stage to perform Music for Bars by composer Brendan Faegre. With two of the original three dancers (Agnese Fiocchi, Tatiana Matveeva and Sonia Zwolska) present. The percussionists were Joey Marijs, Jonathan Bonny and Vitaly Medvedev. They took care of a sensational ending of the afternoon. Well ending, not quite. For the three mentioned percussionists befitted their shoes with horns and with hand drums under their arms gave a bright improvisation on 40 years The Hague Percussion.
Slagwerk Den Haag, Joey Marijs, Jonathan Bonny and Vitaly Medvedev