Every two months, we're introducing you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether it's one of the players or someone behind the scenes. This time: meet Bart Defoort (saxophone).
How long have you been part of BJO?
I've played with the BJO since it was founded, so since 1993.
What do you do in the orchestra?
I play tenor sax, soprano sax and clarinet.
Why did you choose this instrument?
Because I was asked to play when the orchestra was founded. We were all super enthusiastic about creating a good orchestra together. Now we're 27 years further along and we still have an appetite for making the best music we can together. It's still just as much fun to play together and the vibe is still great... BJO is serious fun!
What do you do besides playing in the orchestra?
I've also worked with my own small jazz groups for all those years. I compose for them and we've recorded 5 CDs. I also play as a sideman with other small groups. I also teach sax and jazz combo at the conservatoire in Ghent (KASK).
Which of this season's projects are or were you looking forward to the most and why?
I'm looking forward to the 'WOW'-project (We Orchestrate Words, red.), because it has a great, groovy score by Dieter Limbourg, and also because of all the other artists who are going to be playing and singing with us.
"His music, his gorgeous arrangements and his trumpet playing have actually sometimes given me goosebumps while we're playing. I feel that we've already had a lot of magic moments with Bert Joris as an orchestra." - Bart Defoort.
What's your favourite BJO memory?
It's hard to choose, because I have so many memories from both on and off stage (laughs). Besides the countless fantastic and inspiring international collaborations and concert tours, I still have a special place in my heart for all the productions and concerts with Bert Joris: his music, his gorgeous arrangements and his trumpet playing have actually sometimes given me goosebumps while we're playing. I feel that we've already had a lot of magic moments with Bert as an orchestra.
What was the last CD/Spotify track/radio hit you listened to?
The CD by Grant Stewart: 'Plays the Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn'. Grant is one of my favourite sax players today.
Who would you like to invite to play a production with BJO and why?
Someone like Kurt Rosenwinkel, a phenomenal guitarist and composer. He writes a lot of modern compositions in a wide variety of styles, and he's completely mastered the jazz tradition.
As a musician, how are you dealing with these unusual times (as a result of COVID-19)?
I'm trying to keep as positive an attitude as I can in these perplexing, actually quite trying 'anti-live-music' times, with the end unfortunately not yet in sight. Among the ways I do this, are to keep practicing my instruments, walk a lot in the Zoniënwoud forest right near here, and I'm doing a few more jam sessions with musicians at home (Belgium allows 15 visitors a week at home, as of 1 July). I hope that we see you all soon, and especially in a non-virtual way!