Oscar Jan Hoogland

Improviser Composer

electric clavichord, synth, piano, guitar, record players, tape players, megaphones, crackle box, amplified slot machine

A leading figure on the Dutch impro scene, Oscar Jan Hoogland sprung onto the Amsterdam landscape approximately two decade ago, at the forefront of a new group of improvisers to arrive and simultaneously uphold the tradition of New Dutch Swing even while tearing it apart. 

Hoogland is possibly most notable for his ability to use any and every influence as stimuli for improvisation and adventure. His highly customized clavichord may be his main instrument but he is often seen performing on a variety of old synths, piano, guitar, turntables, voice, toys, even an amplified slotmachine… His projects show the diversity of his interests: Improvisation with Senegalese griot singer Mola Sylla and percussionist Frank Rosaly, cumbia with Superinca and the Galactic Green, sound installation and performance in Practical Music with Jasper Stadhouders and Christian Lillinger and his Phonograph Orchestra. The Bakfietsband performs on an old Dutch transport bicycle for his quartet LOOT featuring Ab Baars, Onno Govaert and Uldis Vitols he writes all the repertoire. Ensembles and projects that link him directly to the history of Dutch improvising, are The Ambush Party “Impossible to predict and impossible to resist” featuring Natalio Sued, Harald Austbø and Marcos Baggiani, the Amsterdam Real Book repertoire project, teaming up with the Benjamin Herman trio for a run on Misha Mengelberg’s compositions, and his duo with legendary drummer Han Bennink. He works regularly with Zea, from The Ex frontman Arnold de Boer, with whom he toured Ghana to bridge the worlds improvisation and popmusic.

In all these ensembles, one sees a Misha Mengelberg- like intellect which is just as focused on meta-music and discovering and challenging new ideas as it is on simply providing straight forward musical input. 

Oscar has also been crucial in helping this music reach new and different audiences, constantly finding unusual settings which draw together young artists, dancers, and hip underground party folk.
He has been running many different series and festivals in Amsterdam including, the legendary Eddie and the Eagles evening in collaboration with the Eddie the Eagle museum at OT301, the Amsterdam Real Book bicycle tours, The Impro Train series at Bimhuis and The 2nd Stop is Jupiter at De Ruimte. In 2016 het brought together the scenes of Amsterdam, Berlin and Chicago in the ABC Doek Festival.
Over the years he has engaged extensively in the world of theater in collaboration with o.a. De Veenfabriek, De Warme Winkel and De Niewe Tijd.
Het Gemeente Museum Den Haag hosted his installation ‘On The Line’: an homage to Piet Mondriaan’s Victory Boogie Woogie that consisted of 12 identical alined record players playing 12 copies of Guus Janssens solo piano record On The Line.

As a teacher Oscar Jan Hoogland is currently on faculty for the composition department at the Mime department for the Academie voor Theater en Dans in Amsterdam, The Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Conservatory of Amsterdam.

Hoogland is co-director of the improvisers collective DOEK and connected to the Amsterdam venue De Ruimte and runs his own record label De Platenbakkerij.

More info on many of the mentioned groups can be found on http://www.doek.org. On the homepage of this site many of the mentioned projects are represented by the listed film material.


you can reach Oscar Jan Hoogland by e-mail through: [the same as the name of this website] at hotmail.com