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Schouten / Courtois / Doronzo / Janssen: VOSTOK: Remote Islands (Relative Pitch)

Inspired by Judith Schalansky's book "Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I never set foot in and never will", the debut of the chamber improvising trio of Fie Schouten on clarinet & basset horn, Vincent Courtois on cello and Guus Janssen on piano, organ, harmonium & harpsichord reflect on these pristine and untouched areas of the earth in sublimely sophisticated conversation.

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Fie Schouten-bass clarinet, clarinet in A, basset horn

Vincent Courtois-violoncello

Guus Janssen-piano, organ, harmonium, harpsichord

Giuseppe Doronzo-baritone saxophone

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UPC: 5904224872427

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR1179
Squidco Product Code: 34141

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Ogelpark, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on March 24th, 2023m by Arjan Van Assekt.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"This music is improvised and inspired by Judith Schalansky's book "Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I never set foot in and never will." The music is an echo of her writing, of inspiration by islands, entities with different and changing characteristics."-Relative Pitch

"The source of inspiration for this album is a book by German writer Judith Schalansky, in which she is fifty describes islands (where she has never been), with their specific characteristics. (Bass) clarinetist Fie Schouten, keyboardist Guus Janssen and the French cellist Vincent Courtois forms a new trio with a unique method. The twelve pieces on this debut album, Vostok: Remote Islands, came to stand through improvisations with a number of those islands den in mind. Because the trio, through their classical training you have perfect instrument control, their arsenal of possibilities is virtually limitless. That the musicians are certainly not islands, but rather playing together intuitively and alertly without any ego is a big plus. Anyone who hears the music will hardly be able to believe that there is no question of any composite down material. The sophisticated sense of form Schouten, Courtois and Janssen are to blame for this. The (bass) clarinet is sometimes coy, sometimes playful and then prominent again. Janssen chooses his keyboard instruments with care, so that the organ is a can be a second wind instrument or the piano a piece percussion. Courtois's bow is sublime, but where the music will occasionally turn to jazz, he is also moved to take on the bass role while plucking. But the atmosphere that predominates is more that of modern composed chamber music. As far putting a label on it, Vostok: Re- mote Islands exists precisely by the grace of its offers a unique sound world. Baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Doronzo appears as a guest on a number of tracks, in which the dark timbres of bass clarinet and cello should be further explored."-Herman te Loo, JazzFlits NL (translated by Google)

About Judith Schalansky's book "Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I never set foot in and never will."

"There are still places on earth that are unknown. Visually stunning and uniquely designed, this wondrous book captures fifty islands that are far away in every sense-from the mainland, from people, from airports, and from holiday brochures. Author Judith Schalansky used historic events and scientific reports as a springboard for each island, providing information on its distance from the mainland, whether its inhabited, its features, and the stories that have shaped its lore. With stunning full-color maps and an air of mysterious adventure, Atlas of Remote Island is perfect for the traveler or romantic in all of us."

"Vostok Island, coral atoll in the Southern Line Islands, part of Kiribati, southwestern Pacific Ocean. It lies 400 miles (640 km) northwest of Tahiti. A low formation rising to 16 feet (5 metres) above sea level and with a land area of only 0.1 square mile (0.3 square km), it has no anchorage in its lagoon. Vostok was sighted in 1820 by the Russian Antarctic explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and was named for his ship. It was claimed in 1860 by the United States under the Guano Act of 1856 and by Great Britain in 1873, but its guano deposits were probably never exploited. An attempt to establish a copra plantation on the atoll in 1922 failed. With the other Southern Line Islands, Vostok became a part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1972 and a part of independent Kiribati in 1979. The island has the least-disturbed indigenous flora of all the Line Islands and was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1979. There are no inhabitants."-Encyclopedia Britannica (

Get additional information at Jazzflits NL

Artist Biographies

"Fie Schouten, born in Amsterdam and still living there, performs in various formations at many different podia and festivals. She has performed all over the world and is playing on all the clarinets with a warm preference for the low ones.

Chamber music and Solo

As a specialist in performing new music, she can be heard extensively as a soloist and in chamber music formations, oa with cellists Katharina Gross, Eva van de Poll, pianist Keiko Shichijo, bass clarinettist Jelte Althuis, accordionist Marko Kassl, harpsichordist Goska Isphording and percussionist Tatiana Koleva. She also performs with improvisers: pianist Guus Janssen, cellist Vincent Courtois, baritonsax Giuseppe Doronzo, double bass Wilbert de Joode.

Many new pieces are written for and premiered by her groups by composers with very diverse styles and of very different backgrounds and nationalities. Free improvisation appears in many of the pieces. Fie Schouten initiated and leads together with Tobias Klein the Basklarinet Festijn, with four editions: 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020-2022.

Fie Schouten is initiatior and curator (together with composer Aspasia Nasopoulou) of the series for contemporary chambermusic Nieuwe Noten Amsterdam, at Plein Theater

Working with composers

Fie Schouten workes together with composers since her studies. She learned to enjoy this collaboration from former teacher Harry Sparnaay, now she teaches the younger generation and is still working with composers of all over the world, young and old(er). About 100 compositions were written for Schouten and her ensembles and she performed them all.Teaching

Schouten is professor bass clarinet at the Prince Claus Conservatory Groningen. She was guest-professor bass clarinet at Codarts Rotterdam and was visiting professor at conservatoires in Vienna, Tallinn, Chicago, Jerusalem. She teaches the next to the bass clarinet, the bassethorn, contrabass clarinet, contemporary techniques, methodology, she conducts the studentensemble of the conservatoire performing contempoary music and regularly invites composers to work with the studentperformers.Since 2017 she is coordinating the elective Sustainable Performance, where the physical and mental health is the main topic and led by different specialists.Also Schouten is teaching privately, mainly young professionals or coaching composers. She was jurymember in 2018 during Gaudeamus Muziekweek for the Tera de Marez Oyens (composition) Price.

Awards and CDs

In 2019 Fie Schouten received 1st Nieuw Geneco (composers association) Fair Practice Compositioncommission Award for her impact on the musicscene in the Netherlands, an inspiration for many and with attention for Fair Practice.She produced nine CD's. The latest ones are called figures (2022) and Nut (2021) which contain chamber music for (contra)bass clarinet; Monologues 2020 (2021) is a solo CD; Nature (2020) contains chambermusic for (bass) clarinet. Two CD's are released at ATTACCA, Chambery (2018) with chambermusic for bass clarinet and her solo CD Ladder of Escape 11. Her other cd's 'Of Villages and Spaces' (KAIDA 2005), 'Amsterdam, de wereld' (To be Sung 2007) and 'Spielzeug' (bklar,acc,trb 2009) came out at Karnatic Lab Records. Schouten's duo Kaida received the Tera de Marez Oyens Prijs in 2002 (NL). It won prize for best impro at the International Gaudeamus Competition (NL'03), best windensemble at 13th International Chambermusic Competition Illzach (F'03).


From 2008 to 2018 Fie Schouten performed many works by Karlheinz Stockhausen.Fie played the solistic part as one of the 'Clownesque Swallows' in MICHAELS REISE um die Erde many times - mostly with the German Ensemble MusikFabrik and in regie of La Fura dels Baus, but also with the Dutch ASKO-Schonberg ensemble and the French Ensemble Le Balcon.She performed LICHT-BILDER (SONNTAG aus LICHT) in the production of musikFabrik/Oper Köln in 2011; MICHAELION (MITTWOCH aus LICHT) at the London 2012 Festival with the Birmingham Opera Company; HARMONIEN (KLANG) oa at the MusikTriennale Köln; BASSETSU TRIO (MITTWOCH aus LICHT) and ROTARY quintet at the Festival d'Automne Paris 2013/2014; BASSETSU solo and TIERKREIS.

Ensembles, orchestras

Fie Schouten collaborates with the German Ensemble Musikfabrik since 2008. She was guestmusician in Orkest de Volharding, Ensemble Mulitfoon. She played as a guest with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, ASKO-Schönberg Ensemble, Insomnio Ensemble, Het Balletorkest, Noord-Nederlands Orkest.


She studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where she received her Bachelor Diplomas in clarinet and bassclarinet and a Masters Degree in bassclarinet with Harry Sparnaay, Tom Sieuwerts, and Herman Braune. She has participated in masterclasses in Austria (Impuls), Germany (Darmstadt) and France (Pablo Casals Festival), where she had lessons with clarinettists Ernesto Molinari, Michel Lethiec.

Other activities

Fie was during 3 years (2016-2019) Advisor at the Amsterdam Art Council, AFK. She is a member of Kunstenbond and Bimpro. She is teaching Professional Writing at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, faculty Business and Economy since 2018."

-Fie Schouten Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Vincent Courtois (born 21 March 1968) is a French jazz cellist.

Courtois studied classical cello at the Conservatory of Aubervilliers, first with Erwan Fauré, and then with Roland Pidoux and Frédéric Lodéon. He also played Didier Levallet and Dominique Pifarély, and since 1988 in bandslead by Christian Escoudé and Didier Levallet ("Swing String System") in Paris. In addition he started his own quartet in 1990, releasing his debut solo album Cello News the same year.

He played in the duo with Martial Solal from 1993, with Julien Lourau in "Pendulum Quartet", with Franck Tortiller in the band "Tukish Blend" and the trio "Zebra 3", and in addition he played with Xavier Desandre Navarre. He has also contributed to the album Marvellous (1994) with Michel Petrucciani, Tony Williams and Dave Holland.

In 1995 Courtois performed his first solo concerts, he played within François Corneloup's Septett, and collaborated with Louis Sclavis making music for film and theatre. He also recorded two albums with the quintet of Rabih Abou-Khalil, and in 1998 he participated in an ensemble led by Pierre Favre, and a trio with Yves Robert. In 2000he was in three trio constellations, in 2002 a quintet played at the festival "Banlieues Bleues", and in a trio with Ellery Eskelin and Sylvie Courvoisier.

In 2005 Courtois joined Michele Rabbia and Marilyn Crispell to play in Bamako with his own trio. He was involved with Henri Texiers in recording the music to the movie Holy Lola by Bertrand Tavernier. In 2006 he initiated a new quartet with Jeanne Lagt, Marc Baron and François Merville. In 2008 he released the album L' homme avion with Ze Jam Afane."

-Wikipedia (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Guus Janssen (1951) studied piano and composition at the Sweelinck Academy of Music in Amsterdam. His music is difficult to categorize. It can be a composed improvisation (Brake for pianosolo) or an improvised composition (parts from his Violin Concerto or his opera Noach). Music is like life itself, sometimes it asks for fast decisions and sometimes it needs to be thought over a lot.

As a pianist and harpsichordist he performed in various groupings with musicians from John Zorn to Gidon Kremer. Since the early 1980's he has led his own ensembles, ranging from pianotrios to 11 piece band and opera orchestra.

As a soloist, playing mainly his own compositions and improvisations, he has appeared at a lot of international festivals. In addition he has performed with many of the leading Dutch ensembles and orchestras.

Janssen's achievements in the field of jazz and improvised music have been widely acclaimed. It was for them that he received the Boy Edgar Award, 1981.

His compositions, quite apart from the pieces written for the Janssen ensembles, range from piano music and string quartet to symphonic work; they have been widely played by, amongst others, the Kronos Quartet, the Schönberg Ensemble, the Ebony Band and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.

In recognition of his standing and quality as a composer, Janssen won the Matthijs Vermeulen Award, 1984.

So far Janssen has composed four opera' s in collaboration with Friso Haverkamp: 'Faust's Licht' (1988/1993), 'Noach' (1994), 'Hier' (2000) and 'Blue, a Pinnocchio in reverse' (2010

In 2015 he composed the opera 'Koeien operamisha' for the ICP Orchestra with a libretto by Cherry Duyns, both music and texts base don material of Misha Mengelberg. The opera had its premiere in the Holland Festival followed by a very well received tour along dutch theatres.

In 2012 Janssen was honoured with the prestigious Johan Wagenaar Award for his whole oeuvre and in 2015 he received the 'Art Award' from the Foundation Adriaan Roland Holst.

The jury of the latter praises the flexibility of Janssen as improviser, his enthusiasm as composer and performing musician and his curiosity to new froms of music and combination of idioms."

-Guus Janssen Website (

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"As lover of unexplored space , border crossing sounds, Giuseppe focuses his research on the baritone saxophone, aiming to explore a vocabulary that goes through his background in contemporary classical music , jazz improvisation and his interest for non-western music.

Giuseppe (1987) was born in Barletta, a very old town on the Adriatic coast of Puglia, Italy.

Recently Giuseppe has been awarded as "Music Revelation 2018" in the International Jazz critic pool "El Intruso" by All About Jazz Journalist Karl Ackermann.

He began studying classical saxophone at the "N. Piccinni" Conservatory in Bari, where he graduated in 2009.In 2011 he obtained "Master on Saxophone" in classical contemporary music, as soloist at the "N.Rota" Conservatory in Monopoli.In 2012 he moved in Holland to study jazz, at Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, with Michael Moore, Miguel Martinez, Kurt Weiss, Steve Altenberg, David Berkman, Robin Eubanks, Alex Sipiagin, Freddie Bryant, where he graduated Cum Laude in 2015.

In 2015 he recorded a solo piece for the dutch dancer and choreographer Cora Bos-Kroese titled "Two ways towards", that was performed at the New York University (NYC).

He can be seen among his current projects as Solo, Falga, AVA Trio,Aterraterr, Michael Moore Bigtet, All Ellington,Raoul van Der Weide XPE.

Giuseppe's work has been supported by grants from the Sena Fund and Performing Art Fund of The Netherlands.

He has been giving music workshops in several spaces and institutions in Europe together with the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Stedelijke Muziekschool (The Netherlands), Arkestra Lab foundation (Italy), Marmara University of Arts (Turkey).He has worked with creative artists covering various fields of the national and international art including:Michael Moore, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Mariem Hassan, Vince Mendoza,Han Bennink, NDR Big Band, João Bosco, Kiko Freitas, Robin Eubanks, Paolo Fresu, Tullio De Piscopo, Taylor Ho Bynum, Steve Potts,Roberto Ottaviano,Ralph Alessi,Gianni Lenoci, Tiziana Ghiglioni, Felice Mezzina,Lothar Sthal, Jens Pollheide, Irene Aebi Lacy, Tiziano Tononi, Daniele Cavallanti, Carlo Actis Dato, Benjamin Herman, Jim Black.

He has played in venues and festivals including OCT LOFT Jazz Festival, Xihu Festival, Shanghai World Music Festival (China); Vahdat Hall (Iran), Bimhuis, Gaudeamus Muziek Week Festival, Doek Festival, Lantaren Venster, North Sea Jazz Festival, Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour Festival (The Netherlands); Novosadski Jazz Festival (Serbia); Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival 2018, Reggia della Venaria (Italy); Die Aegidien church, NDR Funkhaus (Germany); Meutiviti Festival (Denmark); Ljubliana Jazz Festival (Slovenia) and many others. He has been broadcast in various places, including on VPRO, RAI Radio 3, NPO 1, NPO4."

-Giuseppe Doronzo Website (

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Track Listing:

1. Tristan da Cunha (Atlantic Ocean) 03:59

2. Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean) 03:00

3. Rapa Iti I (Pacific Ocean) 01:53

4. Howland (Pacific Ocean) 01:49

5. Cocos Islands (Indian Ocean) 03:09

6. Raoul Island (Pacific Ocean) 11:58

7. Vostok (Pacific Ocean) 07:15

8. Pukapuka (Pacific Ocean) 06:12

9. Solitude Island (Arctic Ocean) 04:42

10. Socorro (Pacific Ocean) 06:41

11. Rapa Iti II (Pacific Ocean) 03:06

12. Inaccessible Island Rail (bird) 02:09

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Quartet Recordings
Chamber Jazz
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