Willem Breuker

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Willem Breuker
Breuker in 1970
Breuker in 1970
Background information
Born(1944-11-04)4 November 1944
Amsterdam, Reichskommissariat Niederlande (Modern-day Netherlands)
Died23 July 2010(2010-07-23) (aged 65)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
GenresJazz, Avant-garde jazz, European free jazz, Free improvisation, Experimental big band
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger
Instrument(s)Saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
LabelsInstant Composers Pool, Marge

Willem Breuker (4 November 1944[1] – 23 July 2010)[2] was a Dutch bandleader, composer, arranger, saxophonist, and clarinetist.


During the mid 1960s, he played with percussionist Han Bennink and pianist Misha Mengelberg,[3] co-founding the Instant Composers Pool (ICP),[4] with which he regularly performed until 1973. He was a member of the Globe Unity Orchestra[3] and the Gunter Hampel Group.

In 1974, he began leading the 10-piece Willem Breuker Kollektief,[1] which performed jazz in a theatrical and often unconventional manner, drawing elements from theater and vaudeville.[5] With the group, he toured Western Europe, Russia, Australia, India, China, Japan, the United States, and Canada. In 1974, he founded the record label BV Haast.[1] Beginning in 1977, he organized the annual Klap op de Vuurpijl (Top It All) festival in Amsterdam. Haast Music Publishers, which he also operated, published his scores.

In 1992, Editions de Limon published the book Willem Breuker by J. and F. Buzelin in France. Uitgeverij Walburg Pers published a Dutch translation in 1994. In 1999, BV Haast published the book Willem Breuker Kollektief: Celebrating 25 Years on the Road, which includes two albums.

In 1997, he produced with Carrie de Swaan Componist Kurt Weill, a 48-hour, 12-part radio documentary on the life of Kurt Weill.

He died on 23 July 2010 in Amsterdam. He suffered from lung cancer and had been ill for some time.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1998, Breuker was knighted with the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

In 2017, the Willem Breuker Prijs was awarded for the first time to Reza Namavar [nl]. A bi-annual prize for contemporary composers, it was last awarded in 2019 to Nora Mulder [nl].[7]


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 323. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Said, Dyulyur. "» Died On This Date (July 23, 2010) Willem Breuker / Dutch Jazz Musician The Music's Over". Themusicisover.com. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b Henkin, Andrey (2004-09-17). "Interviews: Willem Breuker". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  4. ^ Whitehead, Kevin (September 1997). "ICP Orchestra". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
  5. ^ Litweiler, John (1984). The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. Da Capo. pp. 250–252. ISBN 0-306-80377-1.
  6. ^ Chinen, Nate (29 July 2010). "Willem Breuker, Dutch Composer and Bandleader, Dies at 65". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Willem Breuker Prijs". Willembreuker.com. Retrieved 25 July 2021.

External links[edit]