Every two months we introduce you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether on stage or behind the scenes. Today we’re talking to Laurent Hendrick (bass trombone, bass tuba).
How long have you been part of BJO?
Since 1995 (if I remember right). I actually wound up in the orchestra by accident … Late one Tuesday afternoon (that’s important!) I was sitting in Sounds, a club in Brussels, after the Conservatory’s big band rehearsal. I was in the fine company of Richard Rousselet and Phil Abraham, and we were going to get a drink together. At the same time the BJO was having a rehearsal, and wow! I was really impressed. I knew a few of the musicians and…strangely enough, there was an empty chair in the middle of the orchestra. And Phil said: “Go! They don’t have anybody on bass trombone. I’ll ask Marc (Godfroid) if you can sit in on the rehearsal, and if all goes well, you can play in a concert.” I still imagine grabbing Phil by the arm, but he had already gone! So that was a real baptism by fire … After the rehearsal Marc said: “It’s OK if you play the concert.” Since then I’ve held on to that chair like crazy, and this unbelievable adventure has gone on for 26 years now!
What do you do in the orchestra?
I play bass trombone and now and then the bass tuba, so the bass part of the brass section. But we also form a complete section, with the baritone sax, the left hand of the piano, the contrabass and bass drum.
Why did you choose this role/this instrument?
I never said to myself: “I want to play bass trombone with the BJO”. It was never a conscious choice. As I said earlier, I was simply in the right place at the right time. Afterwards, of course, you have to keep asking yourself how you can grow and do your job well.
What do you do besides playing in the orchestra?
I teach at several academies (mostly around Charleroi) and I play in some nice productions like those with Lady Linn or the Van Geel & Van Den Begin Big Band. I like the “all terrain” aspect of the profession. Outside of the music world, I love refreshing walks in nature. It’s astonishing how powerful and calming the connection with nature is. I can really recharge my batteries by taking a walk.
"I’d really like to finally play in Dieter Limbourg’s production ‘Two Places’. It’s an encounter involving several musical currents and it’s invigorating." - Laurent Hendrick.
Which of the project's are or were you looking forward to the most and why?
Given the circumstances I’m tempted to say “any project we can play in!” I’d really like to finally play in Dieter Limbourg’s production ‘Two Places’. It’s an encounter involving several musical currents and it’s invigorating (bravo Dieter!). That said, the studio recordings of ‘The Future Is Now’ were also interesting: the background and maturity of those talented young musicians was impressive!
What's your favourite BJO memory?
Working with Maria Schneider was a real revelation for me, like it was for many of my colleagues! It was the first time in my career that I really felt at home. It was then that I realized why I play bass trombone … it was just magical! Maria is a rare example of a composer that knows how to use all the facets of the bass trombone so well. So many gratifying moments!
What was the last CD/Spotify track/radio hit you listened to?
My taste in music is really eclectic. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Carla Bley, Bob Mintzer, Maria Schneider, Marty Paich, Marshall Gilkes, Michel Petrucciani, Jacob Collier… as well as Couperin, Marin Marais, Monteverdi, Beethoven… and a rediscovery: the Mozart Requiem. I listened to it long ago and I’ve played it many times. It’s a work whose emotional impact still hasn’t diminshed.
Who would you like to invite to play a production with BJO and why?
When you’ve worked with the best composers, arrangers and soloists on the planet, it’s difficult to choose. Maria will always be my number 1. Maybe she could join us again for BJO’s 30th birthday? Other than that, it doesn’t matter: if the quality is there, everything is possible! I’m mainly curious to discover a new personality, to step into a universe that I don’t know (yet) …
As a musician, how are you dealing with these unusual times (as a result of COVID-19)?
As far as the financial picture is concerned, I can count myself lucky that I teach. Other than that, I’ve been frustrated since the beginning about the prevailing mood of resignation. And after that, frustration became anger. The prevailing policies and economic measures are sending a disastrous signal by dividing society into essential and non-essential elements. That kind of subjectivity is terribly unhealthy. Of course we have videos and live streams, but they’re only emergency measures (and mostly not paid). The protocols that the culture sector has to work with in order to perform live have existed for months, but haven’t been put into effect: “We are not essential…”. Ridiculous!!! But despite everything, we have the duty to keep believing in what we’re doing. Culture is essential! That is as clear as day! We have to keep hammering away, like a mantra. Loud and clear!