“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.”
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?
Singing is pretty weird.
Of course mankind started with singing.
Much later in the evolution we became able to talk.
In ‘Apera’ I did audio research on singing monkeys. (Yes, monkeys do sing.)
Why does anybody start singing?
In ‘Pornopera‘ I continued investigating the technical ‘art’ of singing.
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.
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.
Also in the early 80’s I played in dutch bands as Transister with RJ Stips, the Tapes, Special Thanx.
I 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.
Hephaistos (1996) – an opera for several robot-animal-speakers,
and Lautsprecher Arnolt, in 2004:
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.
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.
I organized concert-series with Arthur Sauer (Pokon, Kroko, Haagse KoKodagen).
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.
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 email@example.com