One bass, one piano,
The first moment they began playing together, Théotime (Double Bass) and Maurice (Piano) knew they had the making of a remarkable—if unusual—duo. Their virtuosity, lyricism and theatrical performance touched the heart of their audience. A virtuoso double bassist and a virtuoso pianist with such a shared musical spirit, they had to continue playing together.
So, following their initial encounter in 2019 at the « Hofjes Concerten » festival in Leiden (NL), they aimed to explore together not only the original repertoire for double bass and piano, but also any repertoire that might fit their duo.
They took advantage of the coronavirus crisis creatively, using their forced inactivity to refine their musical partnership. The year 2021 happened to be precisely the 200th anniversary of Giovanni Bottesini’s birth, the most famous composer for the double bass. A unique and challenging idea germinated easily: what a better maiden project than to record videos of Bottesini’s complete works for double bass and piano? Through the year, three hours of music were recorded in just three studio days, making this project even more extraordinary. The resulting videos, met with a heartening success, can be found by clicking here.
Maurice and Théotime are pursuing their goal of bringing their special duo to the front stage. Recitals, playing transcriptions and original repertoire for double bass and piano, are naturally an ongoing project.
"Théotime is one of the greatest bass players on the planet at the moment - it is that simple!! His ability to make the instrument sing and capture the hearts of audiences with Maurice is truly wonderful.
When I grow up I want to be just like Théotime!"
Dominic Seldis - double bass player and television personality
"Beautiful and emotional playing, brilliant virtuosity never leaves the audience indifferent.
An important quality that Maurice posseses is his highly personal attitude to all music that he performs."
Elena Richter - Professor of Moscow State Conservatory
Photo By: Milagro Elstak
Ever heard of Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889), nicknamed the "Paganini of the Double Bass" by his contemporaries ? A poetic way to discover the music and the adventurous life of the most famous double bass virtuoso, also composer and conductor, who premiered Verdi's famous opera Aïda in Cairo.
With actress Carla Hardy
Text written by Hans van Hechten
- Giuseppe Verdi : Overture from "La Forza del Destino"
- Reinhold Glière : Prelude and Scherzo
- Franz Schubert : Sonata "Arpeggione"
- Frederic Chopin : Prelude for solo piano
- Franck Proto : A Carmen Fantasy
- Richard Dubugnon : Ekskize
- Giovanni Bottesini : Allegretto Cappriccio "alla Chopin"
- Serge Lance : Six Croquis
- Gabriel Fauré : Après un rêve
- Alfred Desenclos : Aria et Rondo
- Camille Saint-Saëns : Danse Macabre
- Frank Proto : A Carmen Fantasy
Subtitled "A Poetic Adventure for Double Bass and Piano", the Spicy Odyssey is a work exploring a unique concept: to engage the audience in living a wordless musical story in which they will discover the double bass in an unexpected way and our duo's singular musical world. The spectator will be visited by a lot of emotions : wonder, amusement, surprise, reverie, anxiety, sadness, joy... We want him to take his seat unaware of what to expect, and then to be carried along by composer Jean-Marc Fouché's enticing narrative.
Lasting about 50 mn, the Spicy Odyssey consists of 7 chapters whose titles were chosen to ignite the listener's fantasy.
Who are we?
Maurice van Schoonhoven
Maurice van Schoonhoven (1984) studied with Bernd Brackman in Amsterdam, Maria João Pires in Portugal, and in Berlin with the Russian pianist Elena Richter, former assistent of the famous Heinrich Neuhaus.
He took masterclasses a.o. with Jan Wijn, Mikhail Voskresensky, Emanuel Ax, Wibi Soerjadi, Stephen Kovacevich, Jan Marisse Huizing en Leslie Howard.
Maurice van Schoonhoven always uses his impeccable technique into service of the music: with his color palette from sounds he knows how to touch the listener just right.
The latter was rewarded with all kinds of prizes: for example he won the Rotterdamse Pianodriedaagse in 2001, in 2002 the well-known Königin Sophie Charlotte Concours in Germany, and in 2004 the Theater aan de Paradeconcours in Den Bosch.
He plays in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2003 He played the double piano concerto from Mozart together with Hannes Minnaar, and he recorded a cd with works from Dutch composer Jan van Amerongen. In 2018 e.g.: he played the Third Pianoconcerto from Sergey Rachmaninoff together with Joan Berkhemer and the Mokum Symphony orchestra. He has a big repertoire, with an accent on the great romantic piano literature.
"Who isn’t touched by Maurice van Schoonhoven, has a heart of stone" thus spoke the famous and renowned Britisch Liszt specialist and interpreter Leslie Howard.
Théotime Voisin (1992) is assistant principal double bass of the Concertgebouw Orchestra since October 2016. Previously he was guest principal double bass of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (2015-2016) and principal bass of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse during the 2016-2017 season.
Since 2020 he is a teacher at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
Théotime Voisin first became interested in the double bass at the age of five thanks to Jean Ané, principal double bassist at the Montpellier National Orchestra. At fifteen, he undertook studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon with Bernard Cazauran and graduated with highest honors. He joined the European Union Youth Orchestra for six consecutive years at fourteen. Théotime Voisin then became quickly an appreciated substitute player in the main French orchestras. He continued his studies with Alberto Bocini at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève where he obtained an instrumental soloist Master's degree with highest honors. He went on to study at the Bern Hochschule der Künste with Rinat Ibrgimov and concluded his studies in 2016 in the class of Božo Paradžik at the Freiburg Musikhochschule.
Théotime Voisin has won awards at the 2008 Valentino Bucchi International Competition in Rome, the Jeunes Interprètes International Competition at the 2010 Paris Festival d'Automne, the 2010 J.M. Sperger Competition (Interpretation Award), the 2011 International Society of Bassists Solo Competition in San Francisco, and the 2012 Bass Solo Competition in Copenhagen.
In October 2011, he organised a fundraising tour in Ecuador for the benefit of children with cancer. He took advantage of his stay in Ecuador to offer master classes in several conservatories and collaborate with the Ecuadorian popular singer Hernan Sotomayor.
In 2013, Italian label NBB records published his CD Contre-jour, Musica francese al Contrabbasso.
All pictures by Milagro Elstak