Bio and press

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Victor Eijkhout (born 1959 in Arnhem, the Netherlands; currently residing in Austin TX, USA) is a long-time multi-instrumentalist with a history of playing in, and writing for, wind ensembles, jazz and pop bands, choir, and other instrument combinations. Currently he plays recorder in the early music ensemble The Austin Troubadours. Victor is a regular contributor to American Recorder as a music reviewer. He also wrote the 2023 “Play the Recorder Month” composition for the American Recorder Society. In 2019 he traveled to Durham, England as a finalist in the composition contest sponsored by the UK’s Society of Recorder Players.

The SFEMS under Thomas Axworthy had fun with my Fifteen Second Symphony in 2016.

In 2017 the “Innovation Chamber Orchestra” found my “Allegro for 11 winds” on IMSLP, which hadn’t been performed since its premiere in 1978. Almost 40 years! (The program notes state erroneously that it was first written for recorders; instead the recorder version was published on IMSLP before I decided to add the original. No matter.) They then added their own arrangement of my Ma Folia.

The spring 2022 issue of The Recorder Magazine interviewed me, and they printed my Flow Counter Flow composition for their readers.

My musical history

My musical history, as best I remember it. The zero point is the year 1960.

Age 6-7 piano.

At age 6 (1966) I started taking piano lessons from an old guy down the street. I have no idea what his qualifications were. I remember regularly being frustrated, and in the end giving up after a year and a bit. I made it into the second book of Bartok’s Microcosmos, which is not music for a 6 year old.

8-14? recorder.

My sister Inge was learning recorder and I picked up the instrument. For symmetry, she then started studying piano. I had some lessons from a teacher at school, from a woman who I remember nothing of except that she limped, and later from a professional musician. He was a bassoon player in the concert band of the air force. I’ve actually never heard him perform. I probably had lessons from him for 4 or 5 years.

14-20? flute.

Wanting to move up to a more “adult” instrument I switched to flute. I had lessons from Hans van Loenen, the first flutist of the Gelders Symphonie Orkest. Great guy, great player. He'd rather be first flute in a relatively minor orchestra, and live where he could have a farm with horses, then be lower rank in a better orchestra and having to deal with the big city. I don’t know when I stopped taking lessons; somewhere after the end of high school. I talked to him about choosing between music and mathematics in college, but that wasn't really serious; I decided against music as a profession.

14 and on: piano.

While I was on the waiting list for flute lessons, the city school of music did something experimental, teaming up waiting listers who already could play a little. The experiment failed, but in the course of it I got back to tinkering with the piano.

12-16 recorder and flute in church

At some point I joined a children’s choir for their combo. I initially played recorder, then switched to flute. There were two girls of about my age, Hermi Drieman who played recorder, and Vera Wolf, who was very good on guitar. We regularly played musical intermezzi in the mass. Vera and I did some of the Paganini violin and guitar sonatas with me on flute.

After a while I started arranging my own flute parts to the church songs. In retrospect it was sometimes a bit wild.

At one point I did some arrangements for the recorders of carols for a Christmas concert. I had no clue about arranging. That never seemed to have stopped me.

Somewhere late in my high school career I took over leadership of a sort-of cabaret group that played in retirement homes. It was sort of a group of groups; I mostly organized places to perform. I played the piano for some song numbers, was part of a recorder ensemble, and backed a singer a couple of times.

18-26 piano in church

Initially joining a church choir as flutist, I moved “up” to the piano when the regular player retired. I played with the youth choir of the Lourdeskerk for a few years, left, and joined another youth choir. For the Lourdes choir, I wrote a new melody (including four voice choral arrangement) to a song that had good lyrics, but where everyone was sick of the melody. To my surprise and delight they still had this song on the repertoire 10-some years later when my brother Ruurd played drums with the choir.

I continued this sort of writing for the other choir. That choir also had a sort of passion play which hadn’t been performed in years and of which the only record was a cassette tape. I redid all the arrangements and we performed it successfully.

20-25? more at the city school of music

For a few years I played in a double wood quintet of the city school of music. The conductor was a clarinet player, and I wrote a piece for eleven winds (3 clarinets) which we performed a few times in concert. I also went back for some official piano lessons. Rudy Feenstra encouraged me in my odd notions, and I wrote a couple of atonal fugues.

20-27 pop music

The combo of the Lourdeskerk choir decided to play something at a party, for which I’d have play something more pop-ish than piano. That was my introduction to bass guitar. We played at some choir parties. Then we tried to become a legit pop group, the drummer and one guitarist weren’t into it, we found replacements including a fabulous singer, Miriam Hillege, we became Triplex, and after a lot of rehearsing we found our sound and lots of repertoire that we wrote. Most of it written by the two guitarists; the drummer and I collaborated on one song that we used as an encore a couple of times. Since two group members had rooms in a house where another housemate was manager of a couple of bands, it was easy to get gigs. In a year and a bit of performing we probably did 30 concerts.

Somewhere along the line I bought a classical guitar, and an electric one, an ES335 copy.

My younger brother started playing drums, so I occasionally hit the skins too. We occasionally jammed with drum and bass in my parents’ basement. Since I had introduced him to Yes, Zappa, UK, we did lots of (very) odd meters.

25-30 organ

The Lourdes church had a decent electro-pneumatic organ, and I asked the pastor for permission to practice on it. After a while I started playing in masses that had community singing. Only very occasionally did I play with choirs; I subbed for my mother a couple of times. I made my own arrangements, writing chord symbols in the hymnal, which in the dutch catholic church does not have four-part writing, just the melody.

The conductor of one of my mother’s choirs and I got along quite well, and he dragged me into all sorts of church gigs. Through him I got the keys to a church with a very nice mechanical organ. I also became one of the regular organists (we rotated) in a church where he conducted the choir. When I started there, the organ was in repair, but after a few months it was re-inaugurated. I played the Widor Toccata at the end of the mass, and Alain’s Litanies at a concert in the afternoon.

25-30 recorder

Somewhere I met a student, Vincent Evers, who was exactly on my level with recorder playing. We regularly played duets, including a couple of times in the street during the yearly Street Music Day. The second time that happened, the day concluded with a piece for street orchestra, written by jazz composer and pianist Michiel Braam. Imagine 2 recorders against 3 flutes, 5 trumpets, 10 strings, piano, accordion, some brass, some percussion; about 60 people in all. I had brought my Gar Klein Floetlein for the final variation. My sisters tells me she could hear me over everything. Later we found a third player and started doing trios, but we never performed.

27-30 bass guitar

After the group Triplex broke up, I found a jazz big band to play bass for. That greatly developed my improvisational skills. I tried arranging for the band, but we never used anything I wrote. Somewhere during that time, I played bass in the pit orchestra for a theatre production. For the big band, I bought a five-string bass.

In this time period I also bought a 4-track cassette deck and a computer with a sequencer program and a multitimbral sound module. I wrote and arranged some pieces on the computer, and tinkered with recording music on the cassette deck.

30-40 nothing much

After moving to the US, I kept a bass guitar, which I played with some guys at work in Illinois, including performing at the Christmas parties. I bought a Paul Reed Smith guitar that I didn’t use much, and sold again. (Stupid! Stupid!) I bought an electronic piano that I kept through a number of moves and I practiced on it quite a bit. I had brought a recorder with me to the States, but didn’t play it much or at all.

At some point I bought a Chapman Stick, but I didn't practice it enough to be any good on it, so I sold it again.

In those years I was more involved in dancing (ballroom, country, swing, hustle), and didn’t play music in any organized fashion.

40-now much music of all sorts

In 2002 or so I attended a Christmas concert of the Knoxville Early Music project, and afterwards talked to their recorder/traverso/viol player, Ann Stierli. She told me that she led a recorder / early music ensemble. I joined that, and joined a weekly get-together of more advanced players. Gradually I bought a collection of decent recorders.

In 2004 and 2005 I joined KEMP for their Christmas concerts, and played a few more concerts with them during the year.

At the 2003 ARS spring concert, I mumbled something about wanting to learn a new instrument, and Marian Moffett offered to lend me her bass viol when her new one would come in. I started playing somewhere in the spring of 2004. Marian died later in 2004, and we only played together once.

I attended the Mountain Collegium early music workshop at the Western Carolina University in 2003 and 2005. The first time, someone lent me a doumbek, and I later bought one (and one more, and one more) myself. My first time at Collegium I played recorder, and occasionally sang. The second time I took classes in recorder (Aldo Abreu) and viol, and played percussion in the Sephardic class. I wound up playing 3 different instruments (Riqq, recorder, viol) in the student concert, and was even in two acts in the faculty concert, once playing recorder (the piece needed 6 singers and 6 players and they didn’t have that much faculty), and once doumbek in a trio with hurdy-gurdy (John Drexler) and folk harp (Lorraine Hammond).

2005: Austin

After moving to Austin I took percussion lessons from Oliver Rajamani, who has persuaded me to take up the tablas. After two years of tabla lessons, I took lessons in the Viola Da Gamba from local virtuoso James Brown.

2006-now Native American flute music

Around 2006 I bought a Native American Flute and started writing my own music, backed by tons of software synthesizers. In 2009 I released as Oakensong the CD “Flutecore”.

2009-2010: Bereket.

I joined the middle eastern ensemble Bereket of UT, first playing percussion, later playing oud, occasional bass guitar, and very occasionally recorder and rauschpfeif, as a zurna substitute.

2010-now The Austin Troubadours and other early music ensembles.

In 2009 I heard an ensemble, the Austin Troubadours, give a concert of medieval and renaissance music. I talked to the leader about possibly joining them on 2nd recorder. I must have impressed him, because some months later he called me up and told me to play saz in their next concert. We did a concert in San Antonio and one in Austin; a year later we did a Houston concert, and two in Austin. I played saz, harpsichord, recorder, and percussion. After the first couple of concerts I become the resident wind player. We have recorded on CD.

I also play irregularly with the Texas Early Music Project.

2013-now Austinato

The University of Texas at Austin has an early music ensemble that is an elective class for music/ musicology students, but open to people from the community. Since 2013 I’ve played in several concerts; this also led to me playing in Melanie Randall’s doctoral organ recital, where did a Barsanti sonata (with Nora Karakousoglou on cello).

2009-now Ojala / 1001 Nights Orchestra

I was the bass player for Iranian/Mexican band Ojala until the death of Kamran Hooshmand. Recently the band has got together again with some new members under its old name “1001 Nights Orchestra”.

2006-now Composing

I’ve taken up semi-serious composing, releasing my composition through IMSLP and by subscription through Pieces have been performed in the USA, England, Japan, Germany, and probably more. (Since they are available for free download, I don’t always know who plays them.)

2017 Je Christine

One of the more fun projects in recent times was playing (with a viellist) behind actress Susanne Savoy in her one-woman show “Je Christine”.

2019 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Probably my most prestigious gig was playing with (what was effectively) the Austin Symphony, doing the soundtrack to the fourth Harry Potter book, live under a big screen.

2019 SRP composers competition

I was among the 10 finalists (out of 60-some submissions) in the Society of Recorder Players “Composers Competition”, with my “Three Teahouses in Chengdu”.

2022 Featured in The Recorder Magazine

The English TRM interviewed me, which included “Flow counter flow” as a giveaway for their readers.

2023 Play the Recorder Month

I was honored to be asked to write the “Play the Recorder Month” piece for 2023 by the American Recorder Society. In March everyone will be playing my “Quo Vadis?”.