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Aart Strootman is the composer of Bosch Parade. “Many people think of someone making music by drawing lines and spheres on a white sheet. That is only a very small part of my work.” He therefore considers himself more of a musical dramatist. “I think about how to make Bosch Parade a coherent sounding whole.” 

He knows Bosch Parade from the inside. Aart: “About ten years ago, I took part in an object myself. And later I swam along occasionally.” So when Bosch Parade grew, and its musical component became even more important, the artistic team approached Aart to co-select the artworks. Aart: “I judge the melodic potential of the selection. And that is very interesting, because all these artworks are so different. I engage with the makers, ask them: what are you working with? And: how can I help you make a musical component in that? In doing so, I don’t want to impose anything on them, my work is very flexible and in service of their needs.”

Aart’s goal is thus to develop a musical ‘red thread’, a composition that sounds like a trail throughout the Bosch Parade – with very different forms of expression. Aart: “How that music sounds on or around a work of art is determined by what the creator wants to do with it. Do you want to use an accordion? Fine, I’ll send you sheet music. Will it be electronic, a soundscape? I will think along those lines. Do you have your own composer? I will consult with him or her. Whether you want the composition to come out of a speaker, be sung by a choir or have a saxophone quartet play it, whether it should be very soft or bombastic – together we look for what best suits your work.” 

For the upcoming Bosch Parade, this has already led to surprising forms. Aart: “Yes, we spoke to American inflatable artist Nicole Banowetz about her Toxic Hunger, an inflatable work with tentacles. I very pragmatically suggested they also air to make the music. They then immediately started printing lots and lots whistles, which will soon produce a fantastic sound.” The Italian Simone Serlenga wanted to work with a choir for his The voyage of the ship of fools, but still had no idea how. Aart: “The Helmonds Vocal Ensemble presented themselves, they were also keen to participate. I made a polyphonic version of the composition, but that whole choir on Simone’s boat wasn’t going to work. Now their singing sounds from a speaker and three of them sail along singing. Magnificent.”

Aart’s mantra in all his work is: “It has to match”. Aart: “That applies to the composition, which has to match the character of a many-headed Bosch Parade. So, for example, I looked for a time signature that suits the swell of the water. And it has to match the individual objects. The creators have to take ownership of the music, get the feeling: this is how my work sounds.”