Misha Mengelberg

Misha Mengelberg (Kiev, 5 June 1935), leader of the Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, is a trickster figure in Dutch composing and international improvised music: a philosophical thinker about musical issues who doesn't take himself seriously, but who helped bring about government subsidies for composed and improvised music (which he dubbed 'instant composition') in the Netherlands in the 1960s and 70s. He has brought compositional procedures to improvised music with ICP, and quasi-improvised insubordination to his composing. As jazz pianist, he draws on early idols Thelonious Monk (an unhurried gait, dense impacted chords) and Herbie Nichols (harmonies that subvert traditional patterns). In the late 1960s Mengelberg helped develop the “European improvised music” that splintered off of jazz, along with his lifelong drummer Han Bennink. Mengelberg's 1960s “game pieces” anticipate later works by his friend and benefactor John Zorn. In the 1990s ICP became increasingly recognized internationally, for its live collaging operations and Mengelberg's elegantly witty writing. His classical works are likewise noted for fetching melodies and unpredictable developments.

Live performances of Misha Mengelberg’s works

Misha Mengelberg on Spotify

Misha Mengelberg on SoundCloud

Recently published works by Misha Mengelberg