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Maurice Leenaars

Born March 8 1966 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Only 7 years old, yet Maurice had the whish to become a professional flamenco guitarist. However, there was nobody who could help him understand the secrets of this art. His father taught him some Spanish melodies and harmonies, and sent him for lessons to an allround music teacher when he was 8 years old. At his turn, one year later his teacher sent him to the Eindhoven School of Music to continue his studies. Yet no flamenco, but indeed a preparing for Conservatory studies in classical music.

At the School of Music Maurice experienced that there was little understanding towards flamenco music. Besides, he was told not having been born into a flamenco family, so his chances to success were considered as almost none.

Maurice gave up, and began dedicating himself with his heart and soul to the classical repertoire. In 1989 he graduated from the Tilburg Conservatory of Music and Dance as one of the most excellent students.

In 1988, a hitch-hike to Spain forced a re-encounter with flamenco music. But still believing what was told him in his childhood, he began experimenting with flamenco techniques and interpretations in mainly contemporary and Latin-American repertoire.

During his year of graduation at the Conservatory, Maurice finally felt the urge to investigate the secrets of flamenco. He whished doing so as an autodidact, relying on the many years he had listened to that music since he was a little boy. At the same time he began composing his own flamenco themes.

After his graduation he thus had achieved some elementary skills and knowledge, and three weeks later he moved to Sevilla to stay an entire year (1989-1990). He played with anyone possible who considered himself a singer, gipsies as well as civilians. That period was and still is of great influence on his artistic and personal development.

Maurice’s most essential aspects are composing and improvising.

His solo-album EL CALOR (the heat) launched in 2010. It is his third album, and has been recorded in Tilburg, but also in Barcelona with the help from one of Paco de Lucia’s agents, Juan Estrada.

With Paul van Kemenade:

In 1992, we debuted at the Boulevard Theater Festival in Den Bosch in the Netherlands.

Paul has deep jazz roots, he is awarded many prizes, among others VPRO / Boy Edgar.

This is the most prestigious award on the Dutch jazz scene.

Dutch magazine Jazz Nu about us and my debut album Live at Paradox:

"Most guitarists, inspired by flamenco, mostly focus on the rhythmic aspects of this music. Rasage at ultrafast pace, the faster, the better. Maurice Leenaars is more delicate. His melody captures and he cares about the formation of the tone. (...) Music breathes, as long as its tension increases and decreases. However, the most important merit can be the inclusion of Paul van Kemenade in his music. This combination of violent alto saxophone with a passionate guitar produces heartbreaking emotional moments. "

Participation in festivals: 2017