Rinus van Alebeek

Rinus van Alebeek

Wednesday, March 13 - 7:30 pm

"It was one of the last days of the year in Berlin. Days were still getting shorter. The darkness of nights seemed to have attached itself to the asphalt and the houses. The snow had gone. Now that temperature had gone up, there was dirt. Even the rain drops seemed to be filled with dirt.

"Yesterday in a bar in Friedrichshain the son and brother to those who live on the farm told me that it would be cold during the night, but sunny in the afternoon. I could imagine how good it would feel on my skin. I would love it, he said. It was the prefect place to write a book, and his family was very very nice."

When Rinus van Alebeek arrives in Seattle, he will just have concluded a period of forty days on a ranch in Sonoma county. He can tell those present at the Composers Spotlight if he succeeded in writing the book, and how it was to work on it. He will present some themes he wanted to write about: on how language came into existence, or on how to experience sound. Another theme of the evening could be that his own way of working with sound resembles the process of thinking just before all the different thought threads are woven into one clear vision or image. If the question comes up, he will describe why he is convinced that he doesn't make music, and why it makes way more sense to occupy oneself with sound. And why, in the end, he is both right and wrong in thinking so. On the polemic side he could discuss why the thesis that "every sound is music" is a very conservative assumption which protects experimental musicians and blocks new thoughts and audiences that don't want to deal with avant garde music.


Rinus van Alebeek was born at the end of the year 1956 in the extreme south of the Netherlands. Heerlen, a small town, was at that time part of a densely populated area in a densely industrialised zone. People had come from far and near, his father too, to work in the mines. Social life was organized and dominated by the catholic church.

Music always played an important part in his life. Scarcely diffused by radio, he searched the FM to find the songs, then called 'beat music.' Apart from the catchy tunes, he was attracted by the excitement and a world of young grown ups that seemed familiar and at the same time was situated beyond a border he could not know of. When the mines closed he entered an age in which he became more observant. The social structures slowly faded into new ones, the clergy got replaced by men in suits.

Rinus did not become a musician. He wanted to be a writer. As a writer he could imagine and enter a world that laid beyond a border he did not know of. And at a certain time he did not want to know about that border, because he had crossed it.

A result of the newly reached ground was that he changed home and country several times. He lived in London, Amsterdam, Florence, Barcelona and a hand full of smaller places in Italy, before he moved to Berlin.

His books got published. He disappeared again from the Dutch literature scene after a series of nasty encounters with publishers and editors who were not as much interested in his book as in him behaving in an appropriate way.

He turned to sound, took the art of story telling to a different level and developed a style of which is said that it is somewhere between noise and pure poetry. Rinus van Alebeek works with tapes and various cassette players.

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