Fight for Light

Works for Piano, Mallets & Orchestra

Jesse Passenier composer

ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent chief conductor
Kari Ikonen piano
Vincent Houdijk vibraphone & marimba

Release Date: October 28, 2022
Catalog #: NV6459
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century

On FIGHT FOR LIGHT, Dutch composer Jesse Passenier explores the peripheries of jazz and classical, marrying the two genres together through symphonic music. The music presents a struggle for strength, goodness, and clarity, in which moments for great energy and urgency give way to quiet purity. Containing three works by Passenier: Piano Concerto No. 1 “Levensdrift” (a Dutch word meaning “the primal urge to live”); Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 “Becoming the Colour”; and Duo for Vibraphone & Piano “Unraveling Confusion, these pieces taken together as a whole reveal Passenier’s breadth as a composer, offering a musical commentary on the realities we face in today’s society.


Hear the full album on YouTube

An Inside Look

Jesse Passenier’s FIGHT FOR LIGHT

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Piano Concerto No. 1 "Levensdrift": Movement I Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Kari Ikonen, piano 9:07
02 Piano Concerto No. 1 "Levensdrift": Movement II Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Kari Ikonen, piano 13:11
03 Piano Concerto No. 1 "Levensdrift": Movement III Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Kari Ikonen, piano 8:01
04 Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 "Becoming the Colour": Movement I Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Vincent Houdijk
, vibraphone & marimba 11:41
05 Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 "Becoming the Colour": Movement II Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Vincent Houdijk
, vibraphone & marimba 7:58
06 Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 "Becoming the Colour": Movement III Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Vincent Houdijk
, vibraphone & marimba 8:41
07 Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 "Becoming the Colour": Movement IV Jesse Passenier ADDA Simfònica | Josep Vicent, chief conductor; Vincent Houdijk
, vibraphone & marimba 6:10
08 Duo for Vibraphone & Piano "Unravelling Confusion" Jesse Passenier Vincent Houdijk
, vibraphone; Kari Ikonen, piano 13:40

Recorded December 8-10, 2021at the ADDA (L’Auditori de la Diputació d’Alacant) in Alicante, Spain
Recording Session Producer & Engineer Jan Košulič
Assistant Engineer Andrea da Leonardis, Lluís Miquel Soler i Farriols

Tracks 1-7 are dedicated to my beloved wife, Miriam Pascual Benavent, who inspires me to write the most significant music I can, always allowing me to do so, obsesively if I must. – Jesse Passenier

Editing & Mixing Jan Košulič
Additional Editing (Track 8) Melanie Montgomery

Mastering Jan Košulič

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Assistant Martina Watzková

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming, Morgan Hauber
Publicity Patrick Niland, Aidan Curran

Artist Information

Jesse Passenier


Unifying principles of jazz and classical in his work, Dutch composer Jesse Passenier explores the peripheries of genres and the depth and possibilities of harmony. He is the winner of the Dutch Rogier van Otterloo Award 2017, acknowledging his success in bringing together musical genres, leading his own orchestra, and writing for orchestra. Passenier is co-founder and artistic director of Fluid Foundation. Having established himself as a composer, he musically developed in a broader sense as an arranger, conductor, drummer, pianist, and vibraphonist.

ADDA Simfònica


Resident orchestra of the Auditorio de Alicante, under the auspices of the Valencian regional government, ADDA Simfònica was created by its Music Director, Josep Vicent. The orchestra’s astonishing career has generated enormous national and international impact due to the quality and energy of the orchestra’s musical personality. The King and Queen of Spain have been to numerous of the orchestra’s concerts, and the King of Spain attended another concert in the month of November 2019.

ADDA Simfònica collaborates with guest conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Christian Lindberg, Álvaro Albiach, Jurjen Hempel, Yaron Traub, among others, as well as soloists Pacho Flores, Ángeles Blancas, Stefano Bollani, Juan Florestán, Varvara Nepomnyashchaya, María Florea, Sandra Ferrández, Alexander Ullman, Iván Martín, Joan Enric Lluna, Ginesa Ortega, Cañizares, Juan Echanove, Joaquín Achúcarro, and Igor Yebra. Michel Nyman and David Mora have also composed works for the orchestra.

Apart from its symphonic performances, ADDA Simfònica schedules contemporary repertoire as well as historical works, while also developing an important social and educational activity. The Orchestra has participated in special concerts for the National Sport Gala, the inaugural concerts of the Volvo Ocean Race and has collaborated with the renowned group La Fura dels Baus (Carmina Burana and Haydn’s Creation).

They have recorded works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Barber, and Manuel de Falla, all renowned by public and critics alike.
In the 2019-2020 season, the orchestra will also perform in the Palau de les Arts (Valencia), the Auditori (Castellón), and Festivals in Italy and Holland.

Josep Vicent


Josep Vicent is a Spanish musician with an exciting and exceptional career, who has conducted some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras: London Symphony, Slovenian Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Royal Philharmonic, the Residentie Orkest, Netherlands Radio, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Kiev Orchestra, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Teatro Real Orchestra, Orchestre du Teatre Royal de La Monnaie, New World Symphony Miami, Durban and Auvergne orchestras, national symphonies of Belgium, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, among others, as well as almost all the Spanish symphonic formations, being a regular guest conductor with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC), the Valencia Orchestra, and the Spanish National Orchestra.

Since 2015, Vicent has been Artistic and Music Director at the ADDA Auditorium and ADDA Symphony Orchestra in Spain. He was also Music Director of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra (2005-2015) with whom he toured extensively worldwide.

A pioneer in the discovery of new formats and audiences for classical music, he conducts opera productions at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, the Leipzig Opera or the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville among others. He has been music director with the acclaimed opera/theatrical formation “La Fura del Baus” since 2014.

With extensive experience in contemporary music, he has premiered hundreds of works, was artistic director of the Xenakis Festival, the Festival Nits de la Mediterrània and the internationally acclaimed Amsterdam Percussion Group. He was assistant to Alberto Zedda and recipient of the International Youth Music Award, the “City of Valencia” Arts Award 2013, the “Oscar Esplá” City of Alicante Award, and was appointed International Ambassador for the Foundation for a Culture of Peace.

In the 2021/22 season he will make his debut at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Mariinsky Theater, the Rouen Opera, and the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He will combine his position as Principal Conductor of ADDA Simfònica with guest concerts with the Sinfonietta Cracovia, the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, the Zuidnederlands Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lille. He will also conduct the OSPA at the Princess of Asturias Awards. In addition, he will be conducting different programs of ADDA Simfònica in Alicante with the collaboration of soloists such as Katia and Marielle Labèque, Joaquín Riquelme, Leticia Moreno, Cristina Faus, and Ramón Vargas, Júlia Gállego, and Conrado Moya. In November he will premiere a new production of the opera Carmen with stage direction by Emilio Sagi.

Kari Ikonen


The 2013 Yrjö Award recipient as the Finnish Jazz Musician of the Year, pianist, moogist and composer Kari Ikonen (b.1973) is currently active as solo pianist, with his own trio, duo with Louis Sclavis, and several other bands and projects like Orchestra Nazionale della Luna, Quartet Ajaton, and Trio Toffa.

He has worked with the likes of Lee Konitz, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, Tony Malaby, Ingrid Jensen, Magnus Broo, Vincent Courtois, Jeff Denson, Juhani Aaltonen, Eero Koivistoinen, Raoul Björkenheim, and UMO Jazz Orchestra. Ikonen has performed in the Soviet Union, South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, United States, Armenia, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Senegal, and 30 European countries. His playing and compositions have been recorded for more than 50 albums, eight of these on his own name. His compositions have been honored internationally, taking first prizes in the American “Julius Hemphill Composition Awards” and in the Italian “Scrivere in Jazz.”

photo by: Ralf Dombrowski

Vincent Houdijk


Vibraphonist Vincent Houdijk is an incredibly versatile music artist based in The Netherlands performing between 120 and 160 concerts annually. The combination of his classical and jazz studies gave him an incredibly open and wide view on music which made him always curious for all sorts of music collaborations and styles. Houdijk is without doubt a very open and even so spiritually minded music artist and teacher.

In 2007 Hourdijk formed his band VinnieVibes; an intense, dynamic, and irresistible band which is highly appreciated by their fans and many music programmers. In 2018 Houdijk and VinnieVibes performed at the world famous North Sea Jazz Festival and they recorded their third album there during this live performance. The album received wonderful reviews by critics in the jazz field.

In 2016, Houdijk was awarded the Young VIP jazz award and was therefore declared “most promising jazz talent in the Netherlands.” This award won him a nationwide tour performing at all the top dutch jazz venues such as The Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Lantarenvenster in Rotterdam, and The Paradox in Tilburg. Houdijk has worked with, among others; Ravi Coltrane, Sean Jones, Eric Vloeimans, Remy van Kesteren, Maria Mendes, Bart Wirtz, Wouter Hamel, the Residentie Orkest, and the Metropole Orkest.


Fight for Light is my answer to how new symphonic music can be significant and convincing in our current time. While celebrating and basing myself on the powerful symphonic solo concerto tradition, I seek to continue its development through the unification of the virtuoso classical symphonic solo concerto on the one hand, and jazz harmony, rhythm, improvised soloing and accompanying (jazz comping) on the other. With this music I want to fight for light, especially figuratively intended as energy, strength, goodness, the bringing out of colour, creating clarity, and providing warmth.

– Jesse Passenier

Through Piano Concerto No. 1 “Levensdrift” I want to share something with our world that inspires. A piece about captivating the imagination and bringing out the good in people, motivating them to dream, care and create, “levensdrift” literally means “primal urge to live” in Dutch. The piece opens with a surfacing urgency. Energy and power are translated into lively passages with a rhythmically hurtling, overwhelming piano and orchestra. Contrastingly, delicate sounds interpret the inner world, and weaving musical lines demonstrate the creative process. Stylistically, this work is closely related to a contemporary big band style that combines layered harmonies with rich orchestrations and developing themes in an almost late-romantic manner. Deliberately, I chose to showcase this musical mixture first of all with the recognizable solo role for the piano, precisely to be able to both relate to the classical piano concerto tradition and to enrich it with jazz piano possibilities.

­— Jesse Passenier

Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 “Becoming the Colour” puts the spotlight on the clear, sometimes warm vibraphone and woody sound of the marimba, two instruments that we regularly encounter in the leading role in both contemporary classical music and the jazz world. Putting a vibraphone in front of a large orchestra is a challenge that I was eager to tackle by focusing on colour in this work. Doing so, both instruments fit like a glove. The play of light, light reflection, and the triggering of colour tones are captured in spectral-like harmonies, lined with twinkling overtones and fluid movement. From virtuoso to quiet and pure, the orchestra gets plenty of opportunities to showcase its palette.

Both solo concertos are dedicated to my beloved wife, Miriam Pascual Benavent, who inspires me to write the most significant music I can, always allowing me to do so, obsessively if I must.

­— Jesse Passenier

Duo for Vibraphone & Piano “Unravelling Confusion” discusses the power of narratives. We live in sometimes disturbing times, with contradictory information reaching us. In the midst of all this, we find ourselves looking for what is true, seeking to base ourselves on real facts, and learning about the maze of interests that surrounds us. Together, we unravel the confusion. In doing so, we can come together again. The music illustrates exactly that, through a conversation – sometimes derailing – between both soloists of the project, vibraphonist Vincent Houdijk, and pianist Kari Ikonen.

The Finnish jazz pianist and my dear friend Kari Ikonen plays a unique role, as he was the trigger for this entire project. When I discovered his complex, challenging playing, the complete idea came to mind. “This man can both handle virtuoso written passages and solo over multi-layered jazz harmonies,” was the thought that kickstarted my creative process. Similarly, in fellow Dutchman Vincent Houdijk, I found a kindred spirit, who has feet in both classical and jazz worlds, much like myself, and who was ready to take on my music, while being able to connect to it deeply. It truly feels like a project of friends, finally finding the perfect conductor and spirited person in Josep Vicent, who proved to be the ideal connector between soloists and orchestra. Due to his percussion background and experience with classical, jazz, and Latin, we connected on a remarkable level, and he was perfectly able to interpret my solo concertos and make ADDA Simfònica, the orchestra that he founded, shine as if in a late-romantic symphony, yet groove tightly like a well-oiled machine.

­— Jesse Passenier

A big thank you to my wife, Miriam, for always believing in me, my mother, Titia, father, Hans, and brother, David, for being my biggest fans, and my entire family for their incredible support. And I would like to express my gratefulness to my daughter, Giulia, for her fresh wind of joy and inspiration. Many thanks to my dear friends and deeply respected professionals and artists Kari Ikonen, Vincent Houdijk, Josep Vicent, and Jaume Gavilán Agulló. I would like to extend this gratitude to the whole orchestra ADDA Simfònica and the Province of Alicante for giving us their trust and support. Thank you to Adams Musical Instruments for supplying us with an excellent vibraphone and marimba for these recordings, and thanks to the entire PARMA Team, with Morgan Santos, Chris Robinson, and Jan Košulič, who deserve special mention for their guidance through the whole process. Thanks to my teachers, Wolfgang Braun and Wieland Reißmann in particular, for helping me find my path of discovering my own musical language.

Special thanks to Jens Winther, Maurice Ravel, Gil Evans, Igor Stravinsky, Miles Davis, Kaija Saariaho, Thad Jones, Ton de Leeuw, Bob Graettinger, Jan van Gilse, Bob Brookmeyer, Paul Hindemith, Vince Mendoza, György Ligeti, John Clayton, Béla Bartók, Jim McNeely, Francis Poulenc, Charles Mingus, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Bill Evans, Frederic Mompou, Helge Sunde, Giacomo Puccini, Chick Corea, George Gershwin, Gary Burton, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Mike Mainieri for being such an inspiration to me.

­— Jesse Passenier


Piano Concerto No. 1 “Levensdrift” (excerpt)

Jesse Passenier

Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 “Becoming the Colour” (excerpt)

Jesse Passenier

Duo for Vibraphone & Piano “Unravelling Confusion” (excerpt)

Jesse Passenier