Wim Dijkgraaf (born the 4th of october 1970 in The Netherlands) has an academic background as a composer of contemporary classical music. For 2 decades, jazz improvisation on the chromatic harmonica has been one of his major passions in life besides computer programming and being father of three kids. Since 2000 Wim’s interest has shifted from improvisation to composition and since 2015 his way of composing has shifted from writing notes to programming algorithmic music using various languages and programming environments. “The beauty of programming music is that the creative process of musical transformation becomes explicit. Using musical notation has the limit that the thinking process is not written down; only the result is written down in a musical notation.”
Inspired by Kenny Werner’s publications on Effortless Mastery, Wim is recognized as an innovator in the field of effortless harmonica playing and as such is by the age of 40 already an influential point of reference for many younger harmonica players today.
Toots Thielemans certainly was an important source of inspiration when Wim started playing the harmonica at the age of 19. But overtime he developed his own playing style and a highly personal sound that he is so well know for today.
Besides the sound of his harmonica, his approach towards improvisation certainly is remarkable too. Inspired by composers like Gustav Mahler, Maurice Ravel, Olivier Messiaen and Béla Bartók, Wim creates melodic phrases that sound modern and often intellectual yet lyrical, romantic and always highly accessible. It is in his way of improvising that a strong background in classical composition becomes immediately apparent; the art of effortlessly constructing original material out of instantly invented small musical building blocks.
Born the 4th of october 1970 in The Netherlands, Wim already started playing music excessively by the age of 7. Electronic organ being his first instrument for many years, later he would seriously pick up slide trombone and enter the air-force with this instrument.
At the age of 19, Wim started playing harmonica and by the age of 21 he entered the conservatory to study composition contemporary music with the Romanian composer Alexandru Hrisanide.
As a harmonica player he is autodidactic although his jazz piano teacher Willem Kuhne has been highly influential in finding his own sound and approach as an improvising musician.
In 1994, Wim recorded his first CD “Introducing Wim Dijkgraaf” which made him play on many major festivals in Holland and abroad. Other CDs would follow soon and for many years Wim worked as a soloist and as a sideman with singers like Fulvia di Domenico (Italy) and Maria João Mendes (Portugal).
In 2008, he moved to Brazil which turned out to be the country that fits best his personality and way of life. “My Brazilian friends here often tell me that I’m more Brazilian then most Brazilians they know, which I guess is meant as a compliment … ”.
In january 2011 Wim recorded an album with the Dumée & Dijkgraaf Quinteto with one of the best Brazilian rhythm sections of this moment consisting of Kiko Continentino (piano), Paulo Russo (bass) and Márcio Bahia (drums). All tracks on this album are highly personal compositions by his close friend Jan Dumée (guitar).
“This album is an important turning point in my carrier as a musician. Meaning that I lost my interest in the traditional way of improvising tonal music. With so many more talents in the field of computing and mathematics I prefer to experiment more and re-find the adventure in music instead of replicating internalized habits.