Instant Composers Pool Orchestra to play GIOfest show at CCA in Sauchiehall Street

By Rob Adams at

One of Europe’s most adventurous and enduring musical ensembles, Amsterdam’s Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, joins Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra at its annual GIOfest in the CCA on Sauchiehall Street this Thursday, November 29, as part of the Going Dutch project, which is presenting musicians from the Netherlands across the UK and Ireland until the end of 2019.

An expansion of a trio that formed in 1967, the ICP Orchestra has become renowned for its unpredictability.

CCA on Sauchiehall Street

Annual: The Dutch musicians will be playing the CCA on Sauchiehall Street

Its members often don’t know themselves what’s going to happen once they arrive onstage and they can draw on a repertoire of over 200 pieces, ranging from early jazz styles through to Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington compositions, chamber music and tangos.

The ensemble takes its cue from its late founder, pianist Misha Mengelberg, who died in 2017 and frequently indulged in battles of wit and opposing personalities with drummer Han Bennink, a showman as well as a brilliant musician who worked with leading American jazz players including Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and Wes Montgomery in the 1960s.

Mary Oliver, a classically trained violinist and violist who was recruited into the ten-piece orchestra by Mengelberg while studying with him at Amsterdam Conservatoire, says that although Mengelberg and Bennink were great friends, they liked to introduce conflict when they were playing.

Instant Composers Pool Orchestra

Pool: The ensemble takes its cue from its late founder, pianist Misha Mengelberg, who died in 2017

“Misha was this very quiet, thoughtful figure who liked to play sensitively while Han would crash into the music with huge energy,” she says.

“They knew what they were doing and it created a great dramatic effect, a real sense of theatre. It made sure the orchestra was like no other.

“We might play the same pieces on consecutive nights but in completely different ways. No two ICP Orchestra concerts are the same but it’s a lot of fun and we’re really looking forward to coming to Glasgow.”

GIOFest, which is run by Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and is now in its eleventh year, runs from Thursday until Saturday.

It features guests from America and Australia as well as from closer to home. Renowned Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart curates an evening of new music on Saturday and other participants include Woodstock-based pianist Marilyn Crispell, Norwegian vocalist Guro Gravem Johansen, Edinburgh-born vocalist Maggie Nicols and saxophonist Evan Parker.

* Tickets are available here