Fred Van Hove

Photograph copyright Dagmar Gebers.

Born 1937 in Antwerp, Belgium; piano, accordion, church organ, composer.

Fred Van Hove studied piano, theory and harmony at the Music Academy in Belgium and experimented with several jazz styles and dance music before making the transition to free improvisation with local musicians (Zinzen, Van De Ven and Wanders). He has been a professional free-lance musician since 1964.

1966 saw the beginning of Van Hove's collaboration with Peter Brötzmann, initially in quartet or larger groupings (eg Machine Gun), then stabilising in a trio format (with Han Bennink) for five to six years; in 1995 contact with Brötzmann was renewed when the two played a duo as part of the 'Pool' at the Free Music XXII in Antwerp in August. His first solo concerts were played at the Avant-garde festival Gravensteen, Ghent, in 1970 and Jazz Middleheim, in Antwerp in 1971. In 1972, working as a duo with Belgian sax player Cel Overberghe, he refused to play at the Middelheim festival as a result of a dispute over the grossly differential fees being paid to visiting American musicians on the one hand and European musicians on the other. This dispute led to the foundation of the musicians collective WIM vzw, Werkgroep Improviserende Musici, whose aim was to improve the situation of free music in Belgium. Fred Van Hove has been Chairman of WIM since then.

From 1976, and in collaboration with, for example, De Andere Film Antwerp & Ghent, Dommelhof Neerpeilt (Belgium), and Filmhaus Berlin, he has provided solo accompaniment to silent movies, particularly experimental films of the 1920s (Griffiths, Porter, Murnau, Lang, Dreyer, among others) as well as comedies and animations. He has also performed regularly with duo partners who have included: Steve Lacy; Vinko Globokar; Lol Coxhill; Albert Mangelsdorf; Annick Nozati; Phil Wachsmann; André Goodbeek; Paul Van Gyseghem.

From the end of the 1970s, Van Hove formed a number of groups utilising the initials MLA (Musica Libera Antverpiae) and MLB (Musica Libera Belgicae) or similar. The first MLA, formed in 1978, was a group of variable composition from a nucleus of seven musicians: three strings; three brass; piano. This undertook several tours and festivals (e.g. at Jazz Middelheim, and London). In 1979, MLA Blek comprised Marc Charig on trumpet and Radu Malfatti and Paul Rutherford on trombones and toured Italy. Formed in 1980, though recorded in 1982, the ML DD 4 consisted of Marc Charig, Phil Wachsmann and Günther 'Baby' Sommer on percussion and toured through several ex-DDR European countries. In 1983, Fred Van Hove was invited to Berlin by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) as artist in residence for six months, April to October. During this time he took the opportunity to play concerts with MLA, MLA Blek and ML DD 4, but also to play extensively with local musicians in a series of MLBB: Berliner Begegnungen or Berlin Encounters.

In the mid-80s, Fred Van Hove undertook several tours of Japan playing solo and duos with a wide variety of musicians including percussionist Sabu Toyozumi, bass player Tetsu Saitoh; and US and European musicians such as: Ned Rothenberg; Douglas Ewart; Peter Kowald; Hans Reichel; Evan Parker; and Barry Guy. A three-day Van Hove festival was held at the concert hall Space Who, Saitama, celebrating its 5th anniversary.

The Belgisch Pianokwartet was formed in 1984, four pianists at 2 grands, originally consisting of Walter Hus, Christian Leroy and Eddy Loozen, but more recently with Marilyn Crispell replacing Hus and the group name becoming 't Pianokwartet. The MLB III trio with André Goudbeek, saxophone, and Ivo Vander Borght, percussion was formed around the same time, recorded in 1988 and toured the former DDR (with trumpeter Andy Altenfeldert), Spain and the Netherlands. Since 1988 the trio with the French singer Annick Nozati and the German trombonist Johannes Bauer has recorded and toured and, from 1991, 't Nonet has performed, comprising: Marc Charig or Axel Dörner, trumpet; Annick Nozati, voice; Paul Rutherford and Johannes Bauer, trombones; Benoit Viredaz, tuba, Evan Parker or John Butcher and André Goudbeek, saxophones; and Ivo Vander Borght, percussion. Cooperation with other musicians has included Luc Houtkamp, Connie Bauer and Wolfgang Fuchs.

Fred Van Hove has cooperated with poets and painters (the action painter W.J.C. Free) and held seminars and workshops on improvisation in Antwerp, Tilberg, Ghent, Amsterdam, in England and Germany and, since 1990, at Département d'Etudes Musicales, University Lille 3, France. In June 1996 the Belgium government conferred on Fred Van Hove the title of Cultural Ambassador of Flanders 1996, an award that included a grant for touring outside of Belgium.

He has composed widely, for several WIM projects as well as for film and theatre; his compositions include:

A recent initiative is the Pistri Ensemble: piano & strings featuring: Philipp Wachsmann, violin, alto violin, electronics; Günther Christmann, cello, trombone; Joëlle Léandre, double bass; and Fred Van Hove, piano, accordion. After premieres in March 2000 at de Singel, Antwerp and Kestner Gesellschaft, Hanover, further concerts were being planned during 2000.

Further information

Chénard, Marc (1999), Fred Van Hove: tearing down walls. Coda, no. 284, (March/April), pp. 18-21.


Brötzmann/van Hove/Bennink group

1968, Machine gun, FMP CD24. Actually the Peter Brötzmann Octet, formed and recorded before the trio was formed but comprising the three members and stylistically connected to the trios music.
1968, The complete machine gun sessions, ALP262CD. Peter Brötzmann Octet.
1968/1970, Fuck de Boere, UMS/ALP211CD. Peter Brötzmann Nonet/Group.
1969, International Holy Hill jazz meeting, Meno-Lichtenstein-&-CB 6769. Includes one track of the Peter Brötzmann Octet.
1969, Nipples, Calig CAL 30604/UMS/ALP205CD.
1969, More Nipples, UMS/ALP236CD. Quartet + Sextet
1970, Balls, FMP 0020.
1970, Balls, UMS/ALP233CD. Includes two previously unreleased tracks.
1970, Born free, Scout Records ScS 11. One track on festival album.
1971, Actions, Philips 6305 153. Don Cherry/The New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra.
1971, Actions, Intuition INT 3606-2. Don Cherry/Krzysztof Penderecki. CD issue of previous item.
1971, The Berlin concert, FMP CD34/35. With Albert Mangelsdorff.
1971, International New Jazz Meeting auf Burg Altena, JG Records JG 027/028S. Includes one track of the Peter Brötzmann Trio.
1971, 1971, Corbett vs. Dempsey CvsD CD020.
1972, Free jazz und kinder, FMP S1/2.
1972, For example, FMP R123. One track on commemorative/compilation 3LP set.
1973, Brötzmann, van Hove, Bennink, FMP 0130.
1974, Outspan no. 1, FMP 0180. With Albert Mangelsdorff.
1974, Outspan no. 2, FMP 0200. Including 01.49 of Backstreet girl by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard
1975, Tschus, FMP 0230.

Van Hove solo and in other groupings

1967, For Adolphe Sax, UMS/ALP230CD. One track with Brötzmann/Kowald/Johansson.
1968, Requiem for Che Guevara, MPS 15205.
1969, European echoes, FMP 0010/UMS/ALP232CD. Manfred Schoof.
1971, Actions, Philips 6305 153. Don Cherry/The New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra.
1972-1974, Complete Vogel recordings, UMS/ALP229CD. Comprising Vogel LPs 001, 002, 004 and MU 1 7" single.
1972, Fred Van Hove, Vogel 001.
1972, Cel + Fred: Een tweede vogel, Vogel 002.
1973, Kreem gelas/Bas la police, MU 1. 7" single: Cel + Fred.
1974, Live at the university, Vogel 004. Solo.
1975/1988, WIM fanfare, WIMproveen cassette.
1976, For example, FMP R123. Solo track on commemorative/compilation 3LP set.
1977, Verloren maandag, FMP SAJ-11.
1979, Church organ, FMP SAJ-25.
1980, The family, FMP 0940. The 'Wuppertal Workshop Ensemble'
1980, M.L.A. BLEK, FMP SAJ-32.
1981, Prosper, FMP SAJ-39. Solo.
1981, Au pavillon de la garde, Igloo IGL 010. Duo with Christian Leroy.
1981/1983, Duo in Ghent & London, Ontario, Kubu cassette 3. Duo with Phil Wachsmann.
1981/1986, Piano solo, FMP CD 143. CD-issue of Propser and Die letzte.
1982, Was macht ihr denn?, FMP SAJ-42. MLDD 4.
1983, Berliner Begegnung, FMP SAJ-47.
1983, Couscous, nato157. Member of Lol Coxhill large group.
1984, KKWTT, nato 355.
1985, Assist, jazz & NOW 4. Duo with Barry Guy.
1986, Wo der kopf sitzt, FMP SAJ-56. Berliner Begegnung.
1986, Die Letzte, FMP SAJ-58. Solo.
1986, Uit, nato 994.
1986, Alternate cake, nato 824.
1988, MLB III, BVHaast 073.
1988, Johannes Bauer/Annick Nozati/Fred Van Hove, Amiga 8 56 411.
1992, Organo pleno, FMP CD 56. Johannes Bauer/Annick Nozati/Fred Van Hove.
1992, Ohrkiste, ITM Classics 950013. Radu Malfatti Ohrkiste.
1994, Lust, WIMprotwee CD100494.
1996, Five facings, FMP CD 85/Jazzwerkstatt JW025. One duo with Steve Lacy.
1996, X-OR on tour!, The Field Recordings X-OR FR 4. With the Luc Houtkamp Quartet and Quintet.
1996, Suite for B... city, FMP CD 88. t'Nonet Fred Van Hove.
1996, I-II-III, edition explico 06. Solo.
1997, PijP, WIMprovier CD140497.
1997, Live in Canada '97, The Field Recordings 6, FR 6. Trio with Luc Houtkamp and Gert-Jan Prins.
1997, Passing waves, Nuscope Recordings CD 1001. Solo.
1997, C/Free/Bifteck/Fantôme, Saravah SHP 7. Duo with Etienne Brunet, 'superimposed and mixed'.
1997 & 2000, Improvisations, Saravah SHL 2103. Duos with Etienne Brunet.
1997/98, Three concerts per a A.T., Edition Explico 08. One solo track.
1998, Flux, Potlatch P 2398. Solo.
1999, No99: No Music Festival, Entartete Kunst Recordings EK2120 (5CDs).
2000, Live at Free Music XXVII Antwerp, 2000, The Field Recordings 11, FR 11. f.i. quartet.
2000, GratHovOx, Nuscope Recordings CD 1012. Gratkowski/Van Hove/Oxley.
2001, FIN Trio, WIMprozes CD 060801. Van Hove/Vander Borght/Veliotis.
2001, 25th NWM, Ninth World Music NWM0 25 CD. One track on compilation CD.
2001, 2001..., November Music NM 005. One group track on compilation CD.
2001, Arachnida, WIMprozeven CD 050401. MLF 7.
2003/4, Spraak & roll, WIMproacht/negen CD 030304. Solo.
2004, Constant comments, FMR CD156-i1204. Axon.
2004, Facetten: live at Total Music Meeting 2004, a/l/l 012. Van Hove/Fuchs duo.
2007, Hear here now, (K-RAA-K)3 K055. Rhythm Section + Fred Van Hove.
2007, Journey, psi 08.03. Solo.
2008, Asynchronous, SLAMCD 283. Fred Van Hove/Paul Dunmall/Paul Rogers/Paul Lytton.
2008, Burns longer, Balance Point Acoustics BPA-2 (Digital only release). Fred Van Hove/Damon Smith/Peter Jaquemyn.
2010, grubenklang. reloaded, Random Acoustics Book/DVD. One FVH audio track.
2011, QUAT: live at Hasselt, NoBusiness Records NBCD54. Vandeweyer/Van Hove/Lovens/Blume.

Acknowledgements mp3 clips Bibliography
Distributors and Retail outlets Full text articles/interviews Links to related sites
Non-European improvisors OrganisationsScope of this site
Upcoming concertsVideo clips What's new