Every two months we introduce you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether on stage or behind the scenes. Today we’re talking to Frederik Heirman (trombone).
How long have you been part of BJO?
I can’t say for sure any more, but I think I played in a concert series for the first time somewhere in 2005. It was a mini-tour with Maria Schneider and if I remember right, we went to Vienna, Zagreb and Ghent. Great memories!
What do you do in the orchestra?
I play trombone in the orchestra, usually 3rd trombone. The line I play is the glue between the bass section (bass trombone-baritone sax-contrabass) and the three tenor trombone voices, and I usually play the lowest part. Very often I share a line with the tenor saxes sitting in the row in front of me.
Most people in the audience won’t be able to pick out the 3rd trombone part, but that’s more or less the idea. Of course there are moments when the third trombone gets to play a solo passage, but most of the time you try to be present but inconspicuous, like a good butler, completely in service to the lead trombone.
Why did you choose this role/this instrument?
The trombone was not my first instrument. As a kid I played trumpet for about six years. When that got too frustrating, they recommended switching to something with a larger mouthpiece. So I started on the euphonium and trombone. Right from the start, it clicked with the trombone. Not that I could play it well right away or anything, I couldn’t at all! But I noticed I could express myself better on the trombone.
What do you do besides playing in the orchestra?
I play with Lady Linn, Olla Vogala, Lara Rosseel Octet, and I also do one-off gigs as a freelancer.
Which of the projects are or were you looking forward to the most and why?
Concerts with Bert Joris. And also the concerts with Bert as a guest with people like Enrico Pieranunzi, Philip Catherine. The productions with Maria Schneider… I’m melting…
What's your favourite BJO memory?
That’s a tough one. For me it’s not so much about an occasion or anecdote, but more a feeling that comes over me unexpectedly in the middle of playing. The moment when everything seems to happen by itself, when despite the complexity of the music I stop thinking for a while. Then I have a sort of out-of-body experience, seeing myself from above, as part of an unbelievably powerful whole. And sometimes I even get gooseflesh…
"For me it’s not so much about an occasion or anecdote, but more a feeling that comes over me unexpectedly in the middle of playing. The moment when everything seems to happen by itself, when despite the complexity of the music I stop thinking for a while." - Frederik Heirman.
Where does your love of jazz come from?
Jazz has turned out to be mainly a verb for me. Playing it has made me grow as a listener too. My love of jazz may come more than anything from the freedom the music has given me, to find my own voice on my instrument and as an improviser.
What was the last CD/Spotify track/radio hit you listened to?
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique. Mel Tormé: New York State of Mind. Foo Fighters: Run. …
Who would you like to invite to play a production with BJO and why?
A production with an accordionist like Philippe Thuriot sounds amazing to me. I love the colour of an accordion along with the big band. And the way Philippe plays…. (dreams away).