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Henri Bok

Duo Hevans, Duo HeRo, Clarones


"Reserve Bass Clarinet Reeds offer a rare combination of endurance, reliability, and flexibility!"




Henri Bok was born in 1950 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After finishing Grammar School, he went to Leiden University to study French Literature and Linguistics, specializing in Linguistics after his 'Kandidaats' exam. Whilst preparing his 'Doctoral' exam, Henri Bok started music studies at the Rotterdam Superior Conservatoire, studying saxophone with Leo van Oostrom and bass clarinet with Harry Sparnaay. He finished his studies cum laude, obtaining diplomas DM, UM and Chamber Music. Henri Bok is noted for his new sound combinations leading to unusual instrumental groups: Duo Contemporain (with marimba/vibraphone), Duo Novair (with accordion), Bass Instincts (with bass oboe), Duo Clarones (bass clarinet duo with Luis Afonso 'Montanha'), Duo HeRo (with jazz pianist Rob van Bavel) and duo Hevans (with Eleri Ann Evans, tenor saxophone). Collaborations with fellow musicians Gustavo Beytelmann, José Luis Estellés, Mike Garson, Josef Horák, Bennie Maupin, Justo Sanz, Louis Sclavis, Willem Tanke, Henri Tournier, Dawn Upshaw, Eric Vloeimans, and many others of all styles and genres have resulted in hundreds of pieces dedicated to him.

From 1981 until 2015 Bok was professor of bass clarinet and free improvisation at the Rotterdam Superior Conservatoire (later called Codarts), preparing a large number of international bass clarinet students for their specialist career. Henri is professor of bass clarinet at Fontys University of the Arts (Tilburg, the Netherlands) and at Musikene (San Sebastian, Spain), as well as guest professor at the Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik (Düsseldorf, Germany).

In 2005 Henri Bok was the initiator and artistic director of the first World Bass Clarinet Convention. This took place in Rotterdam and was attended by more than five hundred bass clarinetists from all over the world. Bok's "New Techniques for the Bass Clarinet," written in 1989 (revised in 2011), is considered to be the standard work for instrumentalists and composers interested in extended techniques.

Following his first piece Vinho do Porto Brasileiro (1997), Bok has written a large number of solo works and chamber music, many microtonal. His compositions are published by Shoepair Music. In recognition of his exceptional contributions to music, Bok was made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion by King Willem Alexander in April 2014. He received his PhD at Leiden University last October with a thesis entitled 'The deep-rooted microtonality of the bass clarinet."




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