The recorder player Tomma Wessel focuses on performing contemporary music. She has given first performances of compositions by amongst others Luc Brewaeys, Alvin Curran, Michael Finnissy, Moritz Eggert, Helmut Oehring, Frederic Rzewski, Volker Staub, Serge Verstockt, Errollyn Wallen and Christian Wolff. She is a founding member of APSARA, an ensemble including recorders, dealing with all aspects of contemporary music. Tomma Wessel has also performed with orchestras and ensembles such as Champ d’Action, Ex Tempore, Ictus, Musica Antiqua Köln, Prometheus-Ensemble, Spectra, Het Symfonieorkest van de Munt, Het Vlaams Symfonieorkest. In 2006/07 she was Friend in Music of the Concertgebouw in Bruges. She has performed at important venues and festivals and can be heard on numerous radio and cd recordings.
She is a member of the Letter Piece Company. The group was formed in 2008 to perform Matthew Shlomowitz’s Letter Pieces – short duo performance pieces that combine physical actions, text and sound.
In 2014 Tomma recorded the extremely challenging solo piece for tenor recorder, ‘Perplexed Symmetries’ by Jeff Nichols. This piece with huge requirements concerning dynamics in all registers was originally written for Gerd Lünenbürger. Due to his disease, he wasn’t able to play it anymore. After his death, Tomma played the first performance at the concert in memory of Gerd in Berlin and recorded the piece later with the support of the Research Foundation University of New York at De Bijloke.
Tomma Wessel teaches contemporary recorder music at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. She teaches recorder and chamber music at Muziekacademie De Kunstbrug and at De Poel in Ghent.
There is no well-researched description of the recorder as an instrument for contemporary music that composers can use when writing for the instrument. This led Tomma Wessel to research into the recorder. She investigates the instrument and its sound parameters and studies both traditional and extended techniques, taking into account the differences that result from the huge number of recorder types and sizes.
Tomma Wessel has years of experience with performing contemporary recorder music and this constantly influences her research. It helps her make inevitable choices both with regard to the selection of the material and the way in which it will be presented.
As part of the research project, pieces for different combinations of instruments have been commissioned from composers representing varying styles. Tomma Wessel’s research benefits from frequent discussions with these composers about artistic as well as practical problems.
cd „Integrating the Recorder“
Champ d’Action Archive Series number 06
music for Champ d’Action and Tomma Wessel
by Finnissy, Nichols, Nunezanez, Prins, Shlomowitz