Gijs Levelt
Gijs Levelt


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Gijs  Levelt  

director Karnatic Lab, trumpet, composer

Gijs Levelt started studying with Charles Green at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam when he was sixteen. He graduated from the conservatory in 1997. He participated in classes from a number of guest tutors, including Bobby Shew, Jimmy Owens, Peter Masseurs, Jahnavi Jayaprakash, Marcus Stockhausen and Erik Vloeimans.

Since 1997 Gijs Levelt performs with and composes for De Amsterdam Klezmer Band. Besides the traditional klezmer repertoire the band plays band members' own compositions, which are increasingly influenced by Gypsy music from the Balkans with plenty of room for improvisation. The first, self-titled CD by De Amsterdam Klezmer Band was released in 1999, the second one, titled ‘Mala Loka’ in 2000. The third CD by this band, ‘Limonchiki’, was released in October 2001on the American label Knitting Factory. The band has toured in Turkey, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, England, Belgium, Italy and the USA. 

Together wiith flautist Ned McGowan, Gijs Levelt forms the duo Messing met PVC, playing a fusion of Balkan music, jazz and contemporary compositional music. In November 2002 they toured in Bulgaria with guest singer/lafta player/percussionist Martha Mavroidi, who specialises in Bulgarian music. They also participated in a recording session for the Bulgarian National Radio with kaval virtuoso Theodosii Spassov.

Gijs Levelt has taken classes with Rafael Reina at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam since 1995. The classes explore the theory of Southern Indian (Karnatic) music and how it can be applied to contemporary compositional and improvisational music practice. Gijs took several master classes with the Southern Indian singer Jahnavi Jayaprakash as part of this program. In 1999 Gijs concluded this course and, together with flautist Ned McGowen, went on to found the concert series The Karnatic Lab, which is dedicated to this type of music and is staged in the cultural centre De Badcuyp.

January 2001 saw the first edition of Karnatic Lab On Tour, with a series of concerts in New York.
Gijs toured in India twice with the octet Bhedam (which includes flautist Ned McGowan, violin player Oene van Geel and bass player Mark Haanstra) , performing in collaboration with vocalists Jahnavi Jayaprakash and T.S. Seshagopalan, and percussionists B.C. Manjunath and Udayraj Karpuur. At the start of 2002 they recorded their debut album ‘Rickshaw Chase’ in Bangalore, India.

In 2002 Bhedam toured the Dutch jazz circuit.
 In July 2000 Gijs performed at a number of very well-received concerts in Spain by the ensemble for contemporary music, The Interval Chamber. After all this it was a natural step for Gijs to become co-founder of the Axyz Ensemble in 2003. 

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