Prof. Dr. Henri Bok

Fontys University of the Arts, Tilburg

One of the ‘Big Three’ in bass clarinet history, Henri Bok is a very active worldwide ambassador of his beloved instrument, one to which he has devoted his life as a performer, teacher, improviser, and composer. His unique rich and warm sound can be heard on numerous recordings.

Bok is noted for his new sound combinations leading to unusual instrumental groups: Duo Contemporain (with marimba/vibraphone), Duo Novair (with accordion), Bass Instincts (with bass oboe), Duo Clarones (bass clarinet duo with Luis Afonso ‘Montanha’), Duo HeRo (with jazz pianist Rob van Bavel) and Duo Hevans (with Eleri Ann Evans, saxophones).

Bok has also collaborated with fellow musicians Gustavo Beytelmann, José Luis Estellés, Mike Garson, Josef Horák, Bennie Maupin, Justo Sanz, Louis Sclavis, Willem Tanke, Henri Tournier, Dawn Upshaw, Eric Vloeimans, and many others from all styles and genres. These collaborations have resulted in many new pieces dedicated to him.

Bok has been professor of bass clarinet at Codarts/Rotterdam Superior Conservatoire (The Netherlands). He was professor of bass clarinet at Musikene until 2020 (San Sebastian, Spain), as well as guest professor at the Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik (Düsseldorf, Germany). He has just taken up a new position at the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Tilburg. Since 2000, he has also taught the bass clarinet class during the annual Julian Menéndez clarinet summer course in Ávila (Spain). Bok is also professor of free improvisation and has performed at several improvisation festivals (amongst others in Tallinn, Estonia).

New Techniques for the Bass Clarinet (, which Bok wrote in 1989 (revised in 2011), is the standard work for instrumentalists and composers interested in extended techniques.

In 2005 Bok was the initiator and artistic director of the first World Bass Clarinet Convention, which took place in Rotterdam and was attended by more than five hundred bass clarinetists from all over the world. Following his first piece Vinho do Porto Brasileiro (1997), Bok has written many solo works and chamber music. His compositions are published by Shoepair Music.

In recognition of his exceptional contribution to music, Henri Bok was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion by King Willem Alexander in April 2014. In 2018 he received his PhD at Leiden University with a thesis entitled ‘The deep-rooted microtonality of the bass clarinet’. Bok is an endorser for Buffet Crampon , D’Addario reeds, Pomarico, and Wiseman bells and cases.