Classical quintet flaunts unique flair

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The Los Alamos Concert Association presents CALEFAX, a reed quintet, as the fourth concert in its 2012-2013 season. Established 25 years ago, CALEFAX is now in demand worldwide, not least because of their unique instrumentation: oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet, and bassoon.
The five musicians arrange, recompose and interpret music from eight centuries to suit their unique instrumentation. The Amsterdam-based ensemble has won a number of prestigious prizes, and can be heard frequently throughout Europe as well as in Russia, China, India, Turkey, Japan and the United States.
• Oliver Boekhoorn is the oboist and youngest member of CALEFAX. His musical training was at the Hague and Amsterdam conservatories. A member of Cobla la principal d’Amsterdam, he is regularly employed in the principal ensembles and orchestras of the Netherlands. Oliver plays a Marigaux oboe but prefers Bulgheroni for oboe d’amore and cor anglais. In his spare time Oliver flies paragliding over the Dutch coastal dunes.
• Clarinetist Ivar Berix studied with Bas de Jong and George Pieterson and graduated as a Performing Artist with honors. Besides CALEFAX, he also free-lances with the major orchestras of the Netherlands. Ivar plays Reform-Boehm Clarinets, built by Herbert Wurlitzer in 1986, and uses a Heinz Viotto mouthpiece with Van Dooren reeds.
• Raaf Hekkema has arranged an estimated half of the CALEFAX repertoire. He regularly performs as a soloist in the classical and contemporary saxophone repertoire, but preferably in his own arrangements. Solo appearances include performances with the Nieuw Ensemble, the Brabant Orchestra, the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Beethoven Academy (Belgium) and the Orchestre de Chambre de la Gironde (France). Raaf likes to initiate near-impossible projects like the performance in 2002 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest, when he premiered his arrangement for saxophone of Paganini’s second violin concerto. Raaf has worked on his own settings for saxophone of Paganini’s Caprices for violin, and he has taken lessons with the violin master Rudolf Koelman to inspire his arrangements.
• Jelte Althuis studied the clarinet with Herman Braune and George Pieterson at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he graduated as a Performing Artist in 1993. In the meantime he studied the bass clarinet with Harry Sparnaay and graduated as a Performing Artist with honors. He joined CALEFAX in 1994 and is now actively arranging pieces for the group as well. He works as a freelance musician in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Radio Chamber Orchestra. In CALEFAX he mainly plays the bass clarinet and the bassethorn. Jelte drives a 1969 Volvo Amazon.
• Alban Wesly ]is is the bassoonist, co-founder and one of the arrangers of CALEFAX. He is also a member of the German ensemble musikFabrik, and free-lances in the principal Dutch ensembles and orchestras. His musical training was at the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague, where his final exam was honored with the Kolfschoten-prize 1996. Recently, he has been working with composers such as Gijsbrecht Royé, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Heinz Holliger, Mayke Nas, Jonathan Harvey and Peter Eötvös. He plays a Heckel bassoon built in 1996, a Stephan Leitzinger crook and reeds by Chris van Os. Alban claims to be the best football player of the ensemble.
CALEFAX has released 16 recordings for the German label MDG, as well as for their own label, Rioja Records, each garnering rave reviews from the international press.
The Los Alamos Concert Association will feature five pieces, all with a French twist: Rameau’s Novelle Suite, Ravel’s Menuet Antique, Weill’s Kleine Dreigroschenmusik, Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. The San Francisco Classical Voice notes “with a wider dynamic range than strings, and breath that can last longer than a single bow stroke, the CALEFAX achieved some stunning phrasing. Debussy’s ocean-like swells were prime examples of this. It was a luxury to hear them in such artistic hands in this unusual instrumentation.”
For more information, see the Los Alamos Concert Association website at losalamosconcert.org.