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Henneman String Quartet

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  • Born: Haarlem, The Netherlands
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Born in 1945 in Haarlem, The Netherlands, violist Ig Henneman is a noted composer and bandleader and a key member of the Dutch creative improvising community. With a background that includes playing and recording with a rock band in the late '70s and early '80s, her subsequent career has centered around music that draws from free improvisation and avant jazz as well as chamber classical-informed modern composition. She has also composed for film and theater.

Henneman began piano lessons as a young child, adding violin to her studies at age 11. She later attended the conservatories at Amsterdam and Tilberg, initially focusing on piano but then majoring in violin before ultimately moving to the viola as her chosen instrument. Henneman co-founded an all-female rock band, F.C. Gerania, in 1978, and appeared on two albums by the group, an eponymous debut in 1981 and Get the Knack in 1983.

In 1985 Henneman founded the Ig Henneman Quintet, whose album In Grassetto was issued in 1991 as the first release of the Wig label, an Amsterdam-based imprint managed by Henneman and her husband, multi-reedist (tenor saxophone, clarinet, shakuhachi) Ab Baars. Notably, the quintet on In Grassetto included bassist Wilbert de Joode, who, despite other personnel changes in the violist's ensemble lineups, would appear on all of the Wig label's Henneman-led dates in the following years. These albums would include Dickinson (1993), Repeat That, Repeat (1995), and Indigo (1998) by the Ig Henneman Tentet and Pes (1999), Piazza Pia (2002), and Strepen (2004) by the Henneman String Quartet.

During the new millennium, Henneman would increasingly focus her attention as an improviser on three projects, the Queen Mab Trio, Duo Baars-Henneman, and the Ig Henneman Sextet. In 2002 the Canadian improvising duo Queen Mab, consisting of pianist Marilyn Lerner and clarinetist Lori Freedman (the latter also a member of the Henneman Tentet), invited Henneman to perform with them as a guest on a tour of Canada and the United States. Henneman subsequently joined the group, and after additional touring in Europe and North America, the Queen Mab Trio released two albums on Wig, See Saw (2005) and Thin Air (2006).

Meanwhile, in 1999 Henneman and Baars had been invited to perform at the Festival Controindicazioni in Rome, and the concert initiated Duo Baars-Henneman as an ongoing improvisational duo, touring worldwide and releasing two Wig albums, Stof (2006) and Autumn Songs (2013). And in December 2010, the year marking her 65th birthday and 25th anniversary as a composer/bandleader, Henneman assembled a sextet of improvising "kindred spirits" -- Baars, de Joode, Lerner, Freedman, and German trumpeter Axel Dörner -- for a European tour that concluded with the recording of Cut a Caper at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. The album was released by Wig in the spring of 2011, and after the sextet toured Canadian festivals in June of 2012, Wig issued the group's second album, Live @ the Ironworks Vancouver (recorded at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival), in September of that year.

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