Marc Bierens
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Big Band

Album: The West Coast Big Band plays Bierens

Scroll down for the Spotify tracks and notes on the compositions.

The West Coast Big Band is an award-winning big band from The Hague, Netherlands. They won the 1st price in the International Big Band Competition (IBBC) in November 2021.

  • Conductor: Nils van Haften
  • Saxophones: Louis Sloot, Martin van der Woude, Hans Goemans, Johan Ehrlich, Mischa van der Wekken
  • Trombones: Gert Bloemen, Janco Blanken, Joop Meijlink, Jelle Post
  • Trumpets: Nanouck Brassers, Ronald Kappert, Kees Kamphuis, Erik Hilferink, Koos van der Hout
  • Rhythm section: Terry Knight (drs), Cor Knegjens (pn & keys), Willem van Wijngaarden (double bass), Rob Klaassen (bassgtr), Jurgen Burdorf (gtr), Nique Quentin (perc)
  • Arrangers: Henri Gerrits, Johan Plomp, Robbert Scherpenisse, Suzan R. Veneman and Vincent Veneman

Notes on the compositions:

Wakey Wakey, Son: My youngest son refuses to wake up in the morning. I have tried everything. I even told him to wake mé up as soon as he’s ready to be driven to school. Pointless, hopeless. From now on I’ll play this piece, loud and with the repeat button switched on. Wakey Wakey, Wieg!

Old Wars: About old quarrels that, although formally ended, continue to rage in our heads or worse, in practice. It doesn’t bother me myself :)) but I think it’s a beautiful and intriguing expression and for that reason alone, enough reason to use it.

Portland to Portland: In the summer of 2017 I spent six weeks in Italy. It was incredibly hot, every afternoon at least 40 degrees. I had my racing bike with me and at the end of each day, as soon as it started to cool down, I climbed one of the mountains in the area. It were tough climbs, not only because of the heat but also because of the steepness. When I have to climb for a long time on my bike, there is always a piece of music in my head. Usually a few bars, that repeat themselves over and over. Sometimes those bars develop into something new. Likewise that summer. During one of the descents a melody came up in my mind that later would become the chorus of ‘Portland to Portland’. The title refers to my coast to coast cycling trip through the US in 2015, in which we rode from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine in seven weeks.

Fleur Céleste: This was written a long time ago on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. In the days of The Running Club with Frank, Peter, Klazinus and of course Mic and Fleur, who a few years later would have Max, their first son. This piece had no real title for decades. Until the summer of 2015, when Max was tragically killed in an accident, it finally got its name.

Fok: This track originally was called ‘Fok The Neighbors’, because my neighbors started squeaking again, while I was working out the basic melody on the piano. I didn’t want to give them that much honor, so later on I changed the title to ‘Fok, it’s windy and quite hard’. Eventually it became simply ‘Fok’ (the Dutch word for jib). Less is more!

Homeward Part 1 & 2: was conceived in the summer of 2018 from a piece that I had been struggling with for months. At some point I switched from a four- to a three-quarter time measure, which seemed to work well. Ultimately, I went back to the four-quarter measure. Sometimes you have to take the long way home. The title came to me at a train station, on my way to a family reunion, hence.

Erto (2011) is a small hamlet in northern Italy, that was plagued by earthquakes for years. The population was told by the government to leave the village but they flat out refused. Everyone ended up staying and they all survived, so goes the story. In addition, the name Erto is composed of the last syllables of the names of my three sons. And frankly, it all started with that.

Vallombrosa: (2017) This piece also arose while cycling in Italy in the summer of 2017. Vallombrosa is located on the top of the mountain I climbed most frequently that summer. It’s in the middle of a natural park in the heart of Tuscany, with delicious cold water running down from the mountain. There is a beautiful monastery with monks who are mainly engaged in the preparation of liqueur…

  • Recorded by Nanouck Brassers for NMP on December 13, 14 and 15, 2020 at Theater de Bakkerheij, Gouda.
  • Engineers: Nanouck Brassers and Rob Strolenberg (ass.)
  • Mixed at NMP, The Hague by Nanouck Brassers, Marc Bierens en Nils van Haften
  • Basic arrangements by M. Bierens and N. Moll (Erto, Old Wars & Fleur Céleste)
  • Artwork by M. Bierens|CRO & Robert Muda van Hamel| Spacebar
  • Website WCBB:
  • Scores: Interested? Please send an e-mail to