The music of saxophonist and composer Jorrit Dijkstra draws from the jazz tradition in spirit and sound, but has crossed stylistic and cultural borders in order to express a strong, ever-evolving personal vision. Born in the Netherlands in 1966, he spent his formative years in Amsterdam’s vibrant improvisation community playing jazz, free improvisation, and world music. Since moving to the United States in 2002, Dijkstra has deepened his affinity with the experimental forces of American music. Recent projects include his quintet, Cutout; the Porch Trio; the large ensembles PorchBone and Bathysphere in Boston; his solo project with electronics; and his sextet, the Whammies play the Music of Steve Lacy. Dijkstra uses the Lyricon, a vintage electronic wind instrument from the 1970s, to extend his musical palette both in his improvisations and compositions. He has released over 20 CDs as a leader, and has participated in projects ranging from Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance and Guus Janssen’s opera Noach to a rare performance with Texas outsider musician Jandek.
Dijkstra studied improvisation and composition with Misha Mengelberg, Steve Coleman, Steve Lacy, Bob Brookmeyer, and Lee Hyla. He received a Fulbright grant to study at the New England Conservatory. He is cofounder of the artist-run label Driff Records and organizer of the annual Driff Festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a professor at Berklee College of Music and a jazz faculty member of the New England Conservatory in Boston.
- Cofounder of Driff Records
- Long-term research into the music of Steve Lacy, including three CD releases with the Whammies Play Steve Lacy, and publication of an article on Steve Lacy's music in Steve Lacy (Unfinished), Editions Lenka Lente, France
- Founding member of Boston-based avant-jazz ensembles Cutout, the Porch Trio, Bathysphere, Matchbox, and Bolt
- 20-plus original CD releases
- Composition commissions by Ties Mellema, David Kweksilber Big Band, Tetzepi Bigtet, Talking Pictures
- Composed various scores for documentaries by Julie Mallozzi
- Artistic residencies: Tlacopac (Mexico City, Mexico), CMMAS (Morelia, Mexico), STEIM (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), and Music Omi (New York)
- 2009 winner of North Sea Jazz Festival composition commission with the octet Pillow Circles
- Received various composition commissions and stipends by the Dutch Fund for Performing Arts
- 1998 Fulbright grant to study at the New England Conservatory of Music
- 1995 Podium Prize for up-and-coming jazz musicians in the Netherlands
- Teaching and performance degree, Sweelinck Conservatory (1990)
- M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, jazz composition (2002)
I hope that students will take away an awareness that music is about their life and about people. My experience as a saxophone player, composer, and teacher of workshops on improvisation, as well as my research projects, are a crucial inspiration for my teaching at Berklee, and are an inspiration for students.