Marc van Vugt


A painter of music

My passion is making things. I get this idea and then I have the urge to something with it. As long as I am creating things I feel one with everything around me. That is also what I want to express in what I make.
When I am composing or when I improviseI feel very close to what I think painting is. A band, an orchestra and even a simple song is for me like a blank canvas waiting for me to fill. I grew up with pop music, studied contemporary composition as well as jazz composition and even focused for a while on electronic music My compositions range from small chamber ensembles, to chamber orchestras. From jazz and pop combo’s to jazz orchestras. And in the end I see myself as a songwriter with a great love for improvisation.

In Marc van Vugt’s Big Bizar Habit I combine my experience with composing for chamber ensembles with my love for jazz and improvised music. It is not a big band, although it is a ‘big’ band. The line up is actually very similar to that of the traditional chamber orchestra. This differs from the traditional big band because of the string section and the smaller number of horn players. The duo with singer Ineke van Doorn focusses on songs, you could say it is a singer/songwriter duo but in the jazz domain. Music in its simplest form.

Guitarist, improvisor, conductor

A painter of sound

Guitarist Marc van Vugt takes you along an eclectic blend of wide spread influences of jazz- and brazilian music and rock- and free improvised music.

Whether it is a full acoustic, an electric semi acoustic or a big jazz box: if it has strings for me it sings. When I play the guitar I am always looking for things to surprise me. Or maybe I should say that things are always surprising me as they happen. Each time they are new. It could be anything that starts this movement, a sound on the guitar, an effect I am using or something else in the room. Once it starts it takes of by itself. Do I play or am I played??? There is only this moment and only this sound now. Playing the guitar is very similar to how I approach my composing: I feel like getting that big box of coloured pencils again that I got when I was 7 years old and I am allowed to use them all. A bit of sound here, and a bit of rhythm there…… I feel like I have this pallette and a big canvas to fill. When I play or compose I always feel like a painter. Painting not only with the instrumental possibilties but even more with the individual possibilties of the specific players I am playing with and what they might contribute.

He performed with some of the most influential international jazz musicians of the moment: trumpetist Kenny Wheeler(UK/CAN), saxofonist Thomas Chapin(USA), trombonist Robin Eubanks(USA) and conductor/arranger Vince Mendoza(USA) and John Clayton(USA). He played with a.o. Ineke van Doorn(NL), Andy Sheppard(UK), John Abercrombie, Don Thompson(CAN), Sylvain Beuf(FR), Benjamin Herman, David Linx(FR), Michael Occhipinti(CAN) Alain Clark, Cor Bakker, Jan Kuiper, Robin Nolan, Sander van Herk, Anton Goudsmit, Izaline Callister, Denise Jannah, Dre Pallemaerts (B) Paul van Kemenade, Nico Langenhuizen, Eric Vloeimans, Fernando Lameirinhas, Gijs Hendriks, Peter Niewerf, Michael Vatcher, Wilbert de Joode and Michiel Braam(NL), Ensemble Amarcord(GER). With singer/pianist Ineke van Doorn he collaborated in many projects as Vandoorn and his own jazz chamber Orchestra Marc van Vugt’s Big Bizar Habit. Appearances on many international Jazzfestivals, clubs and concerts halls in a.o. New York, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris (Fr). Concert tours in Canada, Japan, Indonesia, France, USA, Macedonia and of course his homeland the Netherlands.Featured guest soloist with the dutch Metropole Orkest conducted by Vince Mendoza. Guest soloist and conductor with the Netherlands Chamber Choir.


  • 2003 Nexus Guitar Composition Award
  • 2002 Double nomination Edison Jazz Award
  • 2002 Hounourable Mention at the Julius Hemphill Jazz Composition Awards
  • 2001 Edison Jazz Award
  • 1986 Winner Start 1986 Centraal Beheer Art Promotion Award
  • 1986 finalist Pall Mall Swing Award


To me teaching is about inspiration. About what inspires me and what I hope my students will be inspired by. What is it that makes you choose this art and what is it that made you decide to go for this in your life?I have been teaching for a long time. Teaching mainly composition and guitar. One of the schools I taught for over 35 years was the Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Music Technology at the Utrecht School of the Arts. The last 10 years till 2019 I was Artist in Residence and guest composition teacher.

Teaching positions

  • 2009-2019 Artist in residence and senior guest lecturer at HKU University for the Arts. Doing several long term and full time projects every year.
  • 1984-2009 Senior lecturer contemporary composition, jazz composition, guitar, ensembles, music technology at HKU
  • 1999- 2004 Guest composition teacher and master classes, Conservatory of Groningen
  • 1989-90 Teacher guitar, Arnhem School of Arts
  • 1988-92 Teacher guitar and latin ensembles, Arnhem School of Arts
  • 1984-1985 Program director to set up the new department for Jazz and improvised Music, Utrecht School of the Arts