Kim Van Den Brempt
Playing the piano in the 21st century has always been a search for connections, meanings and beliefs. Through encounters - whether accidental, unexpected or predestined - my artistic projects roam between composition and improvisation, between experiment and repertoire, between solo or ensemble, between voice and instrument but also between literature, philosophy or the visual arts. I have noticed that the piano, with its ancient and classical sound image, can not only build bridges between different generations, but also between genres and even art forms.
It is a journey that I started in my college period at the conservatory of Brussels where some friends and I were a part of ‘Black Jackets Company’, a crazy medley of composers and instrumentalists to turn the most wild and experimental music ideas that the time had ever seen into a thrilling performance. For about ten years, between 1996 and 2006, we played more than one hundred creations and worked with dozens of composers from all around the world. We toured all over Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy, and we even played on some festivals in Chili and Venezuela.
At that same Conservatory, the conservatory of Brussels, I was taught by Jan Michiels and later at the Paris Conservatory by Alain Planès and Pierre Laurent Aimard. It was a great privilege to learn the tricks of the trade with these astonishing pianists. Every day, their influence continues to permeate my thoughts, actions and feelings.
In May 2005, I was asked to play for a concert of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles, led by Jean-Paul Dessy: ‘Amok Koma’ from Fausto Romitelli in Marseille, France. This was an amazing first experience with a reciprocal appreciation that followed. To this day, I still frequently play with the Ensemble Musique Nouvelles.
At that same time, during my early years as a pianist, my interest was captivated by the beautiful profession of 'accompanist'. In the class of Frans Truyts, seeds were planted from which I still reap the rewards today. To explore this area even further, I left for London with my new masters diploma to study at the Guildhall School of Music at Graham Johnson for a postgraduate degree. This was once again a unique opportunity to build up my repertoire, flexibility, and above all the know-how, together with singers from all over the world. In the meantime, I have performed song recitals with prominent soloists, such as, Lucienne Van Deyck, Ilse Eerens, Thomas Blondelle, Ana Naqe and Wilfried Van den Brande. Together with the soprano Elise Caluwaerts, I have been on stage for more than fifteen years now. In 2014 we made the CD 'Nightfall' with which we toured the Flemish cultural centres.
In the past few years I have noticed that other art forms have seeped into my piano playing. I always had a weakness for literature, but recently I also came up with concrete and full-length musical performances: a triptych about Marcel Proust, a tour with Lize Spit (Avondrood with Elise Caluwaerts), a nocturnal splash on the classical music rave in the Bijloke with Sien Volders and a philosophical approach to music with two productions about John Cage and Philip Glass, developed and performed together with the writer and philosopher Laurent de Sutter (during the festival 'les Inattendues' in Tournai). There were also sculptors passing by: Paul Van Gysegem with his ever-free contrabass and Anne Jones with her fragile slate in all its fragile beauty. Both of them force me to new, improvisational but above all inspiring musical settings.
In 2020, I will release my solo project 'Moving Hands' on CD. This project gives the piano a minimalist and contemporary feel, in which iconic studies by Philip Glass enter into a dialogue with works that have been composed especially for the occasion.
In the meantime, I am connected to the SLAC (Leuven Conservatory) as a piano teacher and I regularly coach young professional musicians to guide them in their search for connections, meanings and beliefs.
When beginning this journey, I had no idea where it would lead, but the road has certainly given me the most captivating views, and will undoubtedly continue to do so..