Morris Kliphuis (1986) is a hornist, improviser and composer from The Netherlands. In recent years he has become a sought after performer, valued for his original and virtuosic playing, both in his native country of the Netherlands and abroad. Because of the lack of an improvisation tradition on the horn, Morris has developed his own language, in which he takes the instrument to new and unexpected places.
The trio Kapok was founded in 2012 with Timon Koomen (guitar) and Remco Menting (drums), quickly making a name for themselves as one of the most interesting young Dutch jazz groups, bringing a fiery rhythmic energy, infectious interaction, and a wide array of influences into their music. Kapok released four albums, Flatlands (2012), Kapok (2014), Glass to Sand (2016) and Mirabel (2018). In recent years the trio have gravitated toward free improvisation, using synthesizers and electronics to create “mysterious, provocative sound worlds” (Jazzenzo). Kapok won the Dutch Jazz Competition in 2012, the European Jazz Competition in 2013 and the Edison Jazz in 2014, the most important Dutch prize for recorded music.
As a composer, Morris has been deeply influenced by his experiences working in different genres of music. He is convinced that the boundaries of style and genre will continue to shift and dissolve, opening audiences’ ears along the way, and that this creates fascinating opportunities waiting to be explored.
Kliphuis’ music often demands creative input from the performers, either during the writing process or onstage in the form of improvisation. When the traditional top-down approach is let go, often the work gets room to breathe and become more than any one person could imagine alone.
Morris Kliphuis has written for ensembles and soloists including Nora Fischer, s t a r g a z e, Slagwerk Den Haag, the New Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra, harpist Remy van Kesteren, the Ragazze Quartet, and Ensemble VONK. His string trio Space Opera (2012), commissioned and recorded by the Prisma String Trio, has been performed by ensembles in Finland, Poland and Switzerland.
2017 saw the premiere of The Secret Diary Of Nora Plain, for singer Nora Fischer, the Ragazze Quartet and Remco Menting, an album-length song cycle with texts written by Dutch songwriter Lucky Fonz III – “A haunting cycle about privacy, surveillance and erotic obsession” (New York Times).
Also in 2017, Kliphuis was commissioned to write new music by the North Sea Jazz Festival. He started a new group, DIMLICHT, bringing together musicians from pop and free improvisation backgrounds, and wrote a set that “threw the doors wide open” (NRC Handelsblad).
Morris is a member of contemporary/pop ensemble s t a r g a z e and Corrie van Binsbergen’s Playstation. He has performed with artists including Terry Riley, Anna Calvi, John Cale, Nils Frahm, Han Bennink, Amanda Palmer, Bryce Dessner and Bill Frisell. He lives and works in Berlin.