In 2013 composer/lutenist Jozef van Wissem won the Cannes Soundtrack Award for best score at the Cannes Film Festival for Only Lovers Left Alive, a vampire film by Jim Jarmusch. He is both an avant-garde composer and a baroque lutenist, and thus
no stranger to dichotomy, according to the New York Times.
Van Wissem collaborates with Jim Jarmusch and Zola Jesus. He made three records with Jarmusch and played both in Europe and in the USA as a duo. He does live scores to silent films, scored several award winning soundtracks and is also acting in film. He makes
music which is hypnotic, in a way that’s just as challenging as more confrontational music. Van Wissem has been
pushing the lute’s agenda out of the academy and into more accessible circles (Pitchfork). He’s performed over 1000 solo lute shows at concert venues around the world, including prestigious rock festivals like ATP and Primavera Sound, playing his all black, one-of-a-kind baroque lute custom build for him. ’you don’t need to understand [his] compositional idiom to be mesmerised by his hall-of-mirrors instrumentals’ (MOJO), ‘ his compositions are mystic and set in hypnotic darkness” ( NPR”s All Things Considered). Wire Magazine described one of his albums as a masterpiece.