Xavier Verhelst

* Born 1954 in Oostende, Belgium.
After learning classical guitar in my youth, I became interested in improvised music/free jazz (early 1970’s), switched to double bass; workshops and private-courses with K. Carter, S. Lacy, J. Tchicai, Cl. Thornton, P. Kowald.
Upon accomplishment of my studies at the Royal Music Conservatory of Gent, I started working as a free-lance double bass player in various symphonic and opera orchestras and as a violone player in baroque music ensembles. Collaboration at various radio and cd recordings.
As from 1992 working at the Logos Foundation (center for experimental music), Gent.
* During my studies at the conservatory, I formed a new music ensemble – the ‘Cheops’quartet – with some friends. We created work of, mostly, Belgian composers and acquired a solid reputation on performances and radio recordings. As a member of ‘Cheops’ I could also expand my skills as a composer, the ensemble being literally a soundboard and sound laboratory.
My interests in composing started much earlier though. Even in my early experiences with improvisation groups, I very much liked to provide starting material for improvisation, to introduce structures.
In 1988 BRTN (Belgian Radio and Television) Radio 3 recorded my composition ‘NIX’, performed by the ‘Cheops’quartet.
A more ambitious project was ‘Philemon & Baucis’, written in colaboration with author Peter Cnop and based on one of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. This about one hour lasting work is written for two actors (Doris Van Caeneghem and Ugo Prinsen on the radio recording) and the Cheops’ensemble.
In 1997 followed another music theatre work for small ensemble and alto Lucy Grauman, based on texts of Jules Verne: “Voyage au Centre de Eléments”. Photographer Zjuul Devens provided a multi-layered slide show.
* In 1998, I grabbed my old bass guitar and started “The Mean Team” with Luc van Lieshout (Tuxedomoon), Michel Mast (Flat Earth Society), Michael Weilacher (Ictus ensemble), Mattias Laga (Jaune Toujours). It was a not so serious band, treating the media and the history of music in a rather unrespectful way. After 5 very successful concerts in 5 years, I had to conclude that there is no place for such music in the Belgium.
* Switched to 6-string bass guitar in 2001, participated in projects with Guy De Bièvre, Peter Zummo, Tom Hamilton, Anne LaBerge, Stephie Büttrich, Q-O2 ensemble, solo in an open-air oratorio by Boudewijn Buckinx.
As from 2006, I’m happy playing with some friends in and writing for WoFo, no metafysics, no extravaganzas, just music, just fun.