Robin Verheyen

The Belgian jazz composer and saxophonist Robin Verheyen lives in the United States. He regularly shares a stage with jazz legends and was the joint founder of TaxiWars with Tom Barman. Verheyen connects old and new musical influences. And now he’s going to do the same for visual art and music.

  • Saxophonist and composer
  • Has lived in New York since 2007
  • Mixes jazz with blues, bop and swing
  • Has an immense passion for art


Playing artistic hooky

‘I’ve always been interested in visual art. I think it’s safe to admit now that as a teenager I once played hooky from school for a day to go to the KMSKA. Visiting museums with my parents during trips to Italy has also stayed with me. And in New York, I still make a habit of going to the MoMa and other museums. I always discover new things for my work as a composer and saxophonist.’

The colour of music

‘When we improvise with a group, I’m not necessarily thinking about notes but also about the colour. And when I’m composing, I often ask myself what colour I want to apply with a particular instrument or group of notes. To me, colour and music are strongly related. You use colour in music and in painting to create space. That’s how my broader way of thinking as a composer developed, It’s no coincidence that one of my first albums was called Painting Space.’

The colour of art

‘I feel a special affinity with Fouquet’s Madonna. It’s a very modern work for its time. The many subtleties and contrasts in the painting inspired me to write ‘Blues, Reds and Other Songs’. Even the title of the piece comes from there. I’ve kind of internalized Fouquet. I can see each angel in front of me as I compose.’

Dream collaboration

‘The list of people I’d like to work with some day keeps growing. Keith Jarrett was at the top for years, but because of his illness, that will sadly never happen now. Bill Frisell has been on there quite a while too. He’s a very honest and warm musician. There are still so many things I’d like to do. Working with dancers, for instance, or with Anri Sala – a great Albanian video artist.’