Jozef Van Wissem

Booking Agent : Giorgio Salmoiraghi

Jozef van Wissem is an avant-garde composer and lutenist playing his all black, one-of-a-kind custom-made baroque lute all around the world. The titles and the nature of his works often have a Christian-mystical appeal and the music he creates is simply timeless. In 2013 van Wissem won the Cannes Soundtrack Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive “. In December 2017 Jozef van Wissem was invited to perform the madrigal depicted in Caravaggio’s painting The Lute Player (1596) at the Hermitage museum of Saint Petersburg.

An autodidactic author, a Renaissance talent in the cruelty of the 21st century, who switched the intense lifestyle of a new wave artist and bar owner from Groningen to a modern-age thinker who studied lute in New York, and later became one of the most influential contemporary songwriters, known for his solo and cinematic works.
Van Wissem has earned much critical acclaim for his work, the ‘ liberation of the lute’ as he calls it. According to the New York times “Van Wissem is ‘both an avant-garde composer and a baroque lutenist, and thus no stranger to dichotomy”. According to The Quietus “Van Wissem is possibly the best know lute player in the western world. To get into van Jozef Van Wissem’s world is to surrender to the inevitability – and timelessness – of a strange music created at its own pace, in a manner wholly of its cre-ator’s making. He sets the listener into a private world, looking out through a glass darkly, such is the intense quality of the music. Brevity, simplicity, directness is the key. (The Quietus)

His completely unique musical world can be easily verified by his collaborations, especially that these relationships are also strengthening his own musical character. He worked together with Zola Jesus, Tilda Swinton, Jarboe as well as with his long-time collaborative partner, also his friend, Jim Jarmusch. The timeless value of his work can be described by one of his previous interviews: “… the lute goes against all technology and against all computers and against all the shit you don’t need.” While, at the same time, no matter if we’re talking about his cinematic works, remarkable collaborations or his own full-lengths, the honest, pure, yet frightfully peccable sound of Jozef van Wissem can always remind us to our true selves, and also our deepest fears.

“Jozef van Wissem starts his set in the magnificent baroque interior of the medieval Budolfi church. His pizzicato looks so effortless that the ancient lute with three pegboxes at first seems to be a prop. Occasionally giving a piercing look towards the audience, the musician skillfully steers the course between the past and now. One of the time-travel themes is You Know That I Love You, a 16th-century madrigal by the Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt. Three years ago van Wissem was commissioned to perform this piece at St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum which displays Caravaggio’s The Lute Player which also depicts a young man reading the notes of the same madrigal… The further this lute player travels, the more intense these shamanic charms are. Having performed a few minimalist instrumentals, van Wissem starts singing. The effect of these enchanting loops is enhanced by the mantra-sounding lines “Do you feel like you want to? Do you ever feel like you want to?”. Later, for the encore, he plays another piece including all-the-more hypnotising lyrics “Love destroys all Evil and frees us” multiplied and intensified.” – Louderthanwar at Northern Winter Beat Festival 2020, Aalborg (DK).



Date City Venue Country
06/09/21 Utrecht Tivoli Netherlands
07/09/21 Rotterdam WORM Netherlands
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08/09/21 Aachen MusikBunker Germany
Scoring “Nosferatu”
09/09/21 Brussels Botanique Belgium
17/09/21 Helmond De Cacaofabriek Netherlands
23/09/21 Freiburg Slow Club Germany
24/09/21 Kreuzlingen Kult X Switzerland
25/09/21 Munich Milla Germany
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26/09/21 Wien FLUC Austria
27/09/21 Linz Kapu Austria
29/09/21 Warsaw Pogłos Poland
30/09/21 Krakow Klub RE Poland
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01/10/21 Kosice Tabačka Kulturfabrik Slovakia
02/10/21 Trnava Malý Berlín Slovakia
03/10/21 Brno Kabinet Múz Czech Republic
04/10/21 Prague Betlémská Kaple Czech Republic
05/10/21 Jena TRAFO Germany
06/10/21 Mannheim Port 25 Germany
07/10/21 Basel Humbug Switzerland
14/10/21 Kyiv Architect’s House Ukraine
16/10/21 St. Petersburg Coliseum Russian Federation
18/10/21 Novosibirsk Eurasia Concert Hall Russian Federation
19/10/21 Yekaterinburg Children’s Philharmonic Russian Federation
20/10/21 Samara Dk Pushkina Russian Federation
22/10/21 Moscow St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Russian Federation
23/10/21 Moscow Aglomerat Russian Federation
29/10/21 Helsinki Blow Up That Gramophone Fest Finland

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