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“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
 I’m frightened of the old ones.”
(John Cage)

Huba de Graaff (Amsterdam, 1959) takes an exceptional place in the landscape of contemporary music. She has produced a series of unique music-theatre works the last 25 years. She studied violin, sonology and composition, with Gilius van Bergeyk, Louis Andriessen, Dick Raaymakers and Fredric Rzewski.
Her work is not limited to writing ‘notes’. For Huba, composing is also inventing, researching and asking essential questions. Huba is never pleased with only pure aesthetic standards. Why should it be sung like opera?
And what is actually: singing? Why do people sing?


Aap4animation

Singing is pretty weird.
Of course mankind started with singing.
Much later in the evolution we became able to talk.

APERA-afbeelding AperaTEDx-8 AperaBowie5
In ‘Apera’ I did audio research on singing monkeys. (Yes, monkeys do sing.)
Aap28animation Aap27animation Aap2animation

Why does anybody start singing?

In ‘Pornopera‘ I continued investigating the technical ‘art’ of singing.
IMG_2523 IMG_2478 IMG_2537
Before you start singing, just before the vocal chords are perfectly closed,
there is always a tiny bit of moaning and groaning, inhalation etc..
While normally the orgasm lasts about 1,5 minute, in ‘Pornopera’ it takes one hour moaning and groaning,
before the real ‘singing’ starts.

My music has never been polished, I’m not afraid of new sounds or new ways of presenting music, acoustic as well as electronic, dramatic and theatrical.
Turning around the perspective always works surprisingly illuminating.

I’ve given many concerts and lectures in the Netherlands and abroad with projects, opera’s and other experiments, for instance a TED-talk about singing monkeys.
AperaTEDx-1 Huba TECx 4 AperaTEDx-20

I studied Sonology in Utrecht (’80’s) and composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Dick Raaymakers, Louis Andriessen, Fredric Rzewski and Gilius van Bergeijk.
I frequent the KonCon as a guest-teacher and mentor.
AlphaSyntauri Hubabio5 Huba synth.3 7 1982

Also in the early 80’s I played in dutch bands as Transister with RJ Stips, the Tapes, Special Thanx.

Huba Kippen TransisterWEB Huba 1981-Korg

PSpeakerman_2I started in the 90s writing  opera’s for ‘living’ and moving loudspeakers:
‘loudspeakeroperas’ in which the speakers, like all sound-producing animals and musicians are also physically moving while sound-producing.
Speakerhoeden Krab&Haai Hephaistos
Hephaistos (1996) – an opera for several robot-animal-speakers,
and Lautsprecher Arnolt, in 2004:
Speakeropera - 125 Speakeropera - 038 Speakeropera - 141
In ‘Lautsprecher Arnolt’, (Erik-Ward Geerlings: libretto, Bart Visser: speaker-installations) we presented the moving and rotating loudspeakers on stage really as music-theatrical performers.
arnoltinteheran10 Lautsprecher Arnolt 3 TomCroes Speakeropera - 095


To create a music-performance, music-theatre, you have to work together with many people from all disciplines.
Cooperation is essential in my work,
I always work together with inspiring musicians, actors, directors, authors, artists, etc.
Arthur+barbecue KroKo-componisten JAN+HUBA
I organized concert-series with Arthur Sauer (Pokon, Kroko, Haagse KoKodagen).
JaponFuzz buildCorenicken Corenicken-stage
I did several projects for live-electronics : Corenicken – : computer-controlled moving loudspeakers, computerviolin, a tin-dress : Japon Fuzz, ‘Studie voor piezogrids‘ for 768 piezokeramic elements above the audience.

Recently I presented Liebesleid – a gym-performance, about singing and moving together, at the same time,
 

The Naked Shit Songs at the Holland Festival ’17 : a complete sung television interview from 1996.



I work together with author Erik-Ward Geerlings, Britt Verstegen, Jasper Hupkens
The Stichting WILco is supporting all of Huba de Graaff’s projects.
Bowie Verschuuren (photography), Emmy Visser (design), Lonneke van Eden : publicity.

Autumn ’19:
for ‘Pulchalchiajev‘ about the Art of Lying,
I’m working together with: Annelinde Bruijs and director Ko van den Bosch, text Erik-Ward Geerlings.


In 2020: New opera: the Lamp

 

Huba Amstel 2
©hannah hachula photograph by ©Hanna Hachula

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Composer Huba de Graaff gives composition lessons, mentorship and advice to aspiring creative people of any age at her studio in Amsterdam. She also  regularly gives lectures and public presentations at universities, music schools, conservatoriums and festivals around the world. If you would like to book her or you seek composition lessons or become a student you can email her directly at info@hubadegraaff.com