Jozef van Wissem is an avant-garde composer and lutenist playing his all black, one-of-a-kind custom-made baroque lute all around the world. The titles and the nature of his works often have a Christian-mystical appeal and the music he creates is simply timeless. In 2013 van Wissem won the Cannes Soundtrack Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive “. In December 2017 Jozef van Wissem was invited to perform the madrigal depicted in Caravaggio’s painting The Lute Player (1596) at the Hermitage museum of Saint Petersburg.
An autodidactic author, a Renaissance talent in the cruelty of the 21st century, who switched the intense lifestyle of a new wave artist and bar owner from Groningen to a modern-age thinker who studied lute in New York, and later became one of the most influential contemporary songwriters, known for his solo and cinematic works.
Van Wissem has earned much critical acclaim for his work, the ‘ liberation of the lute’ as he calls it. According to the New York times “Van Wissem is ‘both an avant-garde composer and a baroque lutenist, and thus no stranger to dichotomy”. According to The Quietus “Van Wissem is possibly the best know lute player in the western world. To get into van Jozef Van Wissem’s world is to surrender to the inevitability – and timelessness – of a strange music created at its own pace, in a manner wholly of its cre-ator’s making. He sets the listener into a private world, looking out through a glass darkly, such is the intense quality of the music. Brevity, simplicity, directness is the key. (The Quietus)