Hans Vermeersch & Rajhans Orchestra | Europan & Indian Cross-Genre Music Composer, Conductor, Performing Artist from Belgium
As a young boy, Hans Vermeersch used to hear music on the radio and on records, and not content with listening to music composed and performed by others, he decided to create his own music reflecting emotions his own way.
Later, after a visit to India, Hans realized that a lot of Indian sub-continental principles in music were identical to those of 17th / 18th Century European music. Hans was heavily involved in 17th and early 18th century European music at that time. He approached Satyatjit Ray for a few days in 1989 with a plan for a multi-cultural orchestra. Ray was enthusiastic, and with his Ray's help and advice Hans went on a search across India and established the fabulous Rajhans Orchestra.
Hans has a dream: to perform with this orchestra, concerto's written for every Indian/western instrument. Hans has just finished a concerto for clarinet surnamed "Aatank" concerto based upon the terror attacks in Mumbai. It will be premiered in Belgium on October 10th.
Hans is a believer of the dictum "give to the emperor what the emperor deserves and gives God what God deserves." and actually writes down his compositions meant for Indian instrumentalists in Indian scripts and Western notation for the Westerners! Hans is always striving to avoid Gamakas ( embellishments ) while composing Indian raga-based concertos, and he gladly welcomes correction from his Indian peers - his goal is, at the end of the day, everyone is happy.
The Rajhans Ensemble consists of the best musicians Hans can get. Hans tries to not force his musicians to perform cross-culturally, i.e. his goal is to have everyone play the instruments they are most familiar with culturally as well as experience-wise. The musicians in Rajhans Ensemble have to believe in what they perform - a western performer does not need to prove his skills in Indian performance, and therefore the Ensemble has Indians, who often have spent a life of study in Indian music, perform the Indian instruments. Similarly, the Indians in the Ensemble do not have to show skills in European music. Hans strives the performances to have representatives which are true to their cultural roots.
In a very unassuming way, Hans says he will never pretend to perform the true Tagore or Nazrul music - but we will leave you to decide based on Hans's little informal recordings at the top of this page. We think Hans is absolutely fantastic! Hans showcases Tagore and Nazrul's music on an European platform in such a way that they would have been proud of it !
Rajhans Ensemble: Vande Mataram
Watch more videos of Hans Vermeersch perfing Rabindrasangeet and Nazrugeeti on his Youtube channel »
Hans has performed Ghazals of Ghulam Ali in Pakistan, and Ghulam Ali actually came to hear their concerts in Lahore - an event Hans remembers with cherish. He wishes he could do the same with Pankaj Udhas who he visited in 2006. He is currently also preparing a concert around Mahatma Gandhi for the Indian community at Milano (Milan), Italy for the 2nd of October Gandhi anniversary, as well as a lecture with music on Rabindranath Tagore on 4th October, 2009. On 3rd October, 2009, Hans will be awarded the "Knokke-Heist International Cultural Award" for his immense contribution as an International artist.
In November 2009 Hans will receive representatives of the Indian Army in Belgium to conduct a series of memorial ceremonies and concerts to commemorate the activities of the Indian Army in Belgium during the First World War. Then he will act as a conductor of a musical program that will also have Indian military music inclusive of bagpipes.
Hans will also prepare a concert tour in India with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. There he will introduce his versions of Tagore, Nazrul, his own compositions and other Indian traditional songs - playing the violin, of course!
We asked Hans what he thought of the Bollywood phenomenon. Hans says "Bollywood is a typical product of a evolving product..just follow the music and movies from the start and you will see that Bollywood ...in all ists aspects only gets better, especially with the more all-round composers using a true multicultural language ... and be still acceptable to a Asian and Western audience."
Here is a brief outline of the contributions of Hans Vermeersch to the world of European and Indian music:
violin, oboe, music history and chamber music at the Conservatory at Bruges, the Royal Conservatory Ghent, the Royal conservatory Brussels and the Music Hochschule Wien.
Autodidact in Indian music
Selection for band:
March for the 1e Karabiniers Wielrijders
ZM-FN, March of the peterstad Knokke-Heist aan het 1e Genie. Euregio march.
Liberation for Scottish bagpipe Mr. GP’s solo for trumpet and band. Minerva for tenor saxophone and band.
Fiddlers of the First Floor for trumpet and strings. Ballad for tenor saxophone and band.
Optical Illusions for horn and chamber orchestra....
sitar and chamber orchestra ( premiere Islamabad Pakistan )
veena and chamber orchestra, ( premiere United Nations New York )
bass clarinet and chamber orchestra, ( premiere United Nations New York )
Saxophone alto, saxophone baritone & orchestra
Bb clarinet and orchestra ( Aatank concerto - in the aftermath of the terror attacks at Mumbai )
Ramayana suite for chamber orchestra. ( premiere United Nations New York )
Gita for violin and chamber orchestra,
Al Hakim for saxophone alto and chamber orchestra
Raga for violin and piano,
Shyama’s Puja for violin and tape,
Raga nai nai bhoy for detuned violin, detuned viola , bass clarinet , Bb clarinet and tape, Raat for Bb clarinet, violin and tape,
Carnatic Bach for violin, Bb clarinet and tape,
Hindustani Mozart for Bb clarinet , violin and tape.
Jhumna for violin and tape
Monsoon for violin and piano
with Indian Sub-continental and European music traditions.
Specializing in contemporary and historic music related to the Indian Subcontinent.
- concerto “Madras” for veena and orchestra
- concerto for bass clarinet “Kacheri” and orchestra
- concerto “Moghul” for sitar and orchestra
- concerto “the death of Vishnu” for 2 saxophones and orchestra ( Manil Suri's 200 Novel )
- Ramayana, suite for orchestra
Translating and arranging
Indian music by Rabindranath Tagore, S. M. Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Ghazals by Ghulam Ali.
Creator and conductor of the Rajhans Orchestra & Rajhans Ensemble ( orchestra consisting of Indian and European musicians )
“Crosswinds” 1995 ( concerto for veena and the “Kacheri” bass clarinet concerto ) released by Oriental Records NY-Chennai
“Six seasons” by Rabindranath Tagore ( own recording 2007 )
Pro Civitate for violin,
Baron Van Ryelandt Award for violin,
KLM international Contest “Bridging the World” 1995 (2nd Prize out of 12.000 international projects ),
Flanders-India Cultural Prize 1999
Nominated for the Knokke-Heist International Culture Award 2009
Current musical projects:
1) Music around Egypt and Egyptology
2) “The Indian Army in Flanders Fields 1914-1918”
3) Music around the Mahatma Gandhi
4) The music of Rabindranath Tagore
5) The music of Kazi Nazrul Islam
6) The music of Saurindro Mohun Tagore
7) Romantic, India inspired, Western music between 1792 and present..
8) Contemporary music based upon Indian and European music traditions.
the music of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul, Indian traditional tunes own compositions
in own arrangements with own created CD
( for beating the credit crunch via limited costs for hotel, international travel, artist fees )
arranger of annual ceremonies and concerts around 11 November for the
The Indian Army in Flanders Fields 1914-1918 memorial concerts
with Indian military bagpipers, Royal band De Zeegalm &strings, Rajhans Ensemble
2002 : Ypres, Knokke
2004: Zonnebeke, Neuve-Chapelle ( France ), Knokke
2005 ( Menin, Ledegem, Knokke)
2006: Poperinge, Knokke
2007: Langemark, Knokke
2008: Wijtschate, Knokke
2009: Westrozebeke, Knokke (upcoming)
The Netherlands: Sluis, Cadzand, The Hague,
France: Paris, Béthune, Neuve-Chapelle.
Italy: Roma, Milano
India ( Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai )
Pakistan ( Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad )
Mongolia: Ulan Bator, Khuvsgul
USA : ( United Nations New York, Washington DC (GW university), Urbana, Illinois, Columbus,Ohio )
UK : Abbotsbury, London Barbican Centre , London Shaw theater, London Nehru Centre ,
London Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London Intimate theater, Shrewsbury, Leicester, Swansea
Tatarstan: Kazan, Zelenodolsk