SLÄPSTICK was founded in 1997 (originally under the name 'Wereldband'). Ro Krauss, Willem van Baarsen, Rogier Bosman and Sanne van Delft met during their conservatory studies, and decided to start a band. The core of the SLÄPSTICK was born, and is still in tact to this day. Jon Bittman joined the group in 2012.
A budding friendship, combined with the communal quest for new and strange musical instruments and a shared need for laughter led to fresh and interesting ideas. Although they happily plundered music from the existing wells of many genres, they began writing more and more of their own compositions and song texts. From 1997 onwards SLÄPSTICK performed at various music venues and festivals, while at the same time developing ludicrous theatrical scenes to accompany their tunes. In 2005 they made the inevitable leap to the theatre stage. The guys deftly switched between trumpets, violins and musical saws the way a juggler might play catch with a bowling ball, a flaming torch, and, well... a musical saw. A SLÄPSTICK show is a carousel of instruments, always ready to spin off its axis and into a humorous situation, a musical delight, or a touching scene.
Next to developing their own shows, SLÄPSTICK often works with various other well known artists from the Dutch, and international worlds of music, dance, and theatre. Among others, they've worked and performed with Brigitte Kaandorp, Ellen ten Damme, Karel de Rooij, Martin van Waardenberg , Titus Tiel Groenestege and Stanley Burleson.
In August 2017 SLÄPSTICK performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where their show 'Släpstick' was met with 5 star reviews, Scottish TV appearances, and full halls. Press and public from all over the world left the show delighted and hankering for more. It's a good thing then, that SLÄPSTICK is going on the brink of taking "Släpstick" worldwide in 2018. Keep an eye on the "Agenda" above to see when Slapstick will be coming to your country!
Willem van Baarsen
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Willem studied violin at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. In the past he has performed with, a.o. ZAPP! String quartet, the Ricciotti Ensemble, Spinvis, het Residentie Orkest, het Gelders Orkest, with Emmy Verhey in Camerata Antonio Lucio and with Carel Kraaijenhof in Sexteto Canyengue, touring throughout the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. To this day he is the first and only conservatory student to have ridden a bicycle while playing trombone at his final exam... for Violin performance.
Rogier began studying at The Royal Conservatory of the Hague at the age of 12, as well as studying at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Aside from SLÄPSTICK, Rogier performs with Wende Snijders, Brigitte Kaandorp and Cystine Carreon, and has composed for the Residentie Orchestra, het Gelders Orkest, RO-theater, Theatre group Oostpool, en the Metropole Orchestra. Rogier has composed and arranged music for the Liberation Day ceremonies, as well as many various TV shows, documentaries, and international circus acts. He is also the world record holder for “most notes articulated on an occarina in a two-minute span while wearing a swan tutu”.
Sanne van Delft
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Sanne studied contra-bass at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He was a long time member of the Sexteto Canyengue tango orchestra, and has worked with artists such as Jeroen Zijlstra, Wende Snijders, Juan Jose Mosalini sr. (Argentinia) and Dulce Pontes (Portugal). He has toured all throughout America, Scotland, Switzerland, Spain, Bosnia, Alaska, Portugal, South Africa, Italy, Turkey, Norway, Argentinia, Ireland and China. He is the only member of SLÄPSTICK to have successfully ice skated the 330 kilometer long loop around the Dutch inland sea, although not quite as fast as his older brother.
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Ro studied violin and viola under the tutelage of Ron Ephrat, Vladimir Mendelssohn and Prunella Pacey, eventually graduatin summa cum laude from the Utrecht Conservatory. He has played with various chamber music ensembles, and has performed with a.o. Mathilde Santing, Yo Yo Ma, Brigitte Kaandorp, Carel Kraaijenhof, Wende Snijders, Guus Meeuwis, Hadewych Minis and Willy Caron. Ro specializes in music from the Balkans. So much so, that he was rewarded an honorary Romanian citizenship, only to have it revoked months later when they learned of his prowess at impersonating various historical and modern dictators.
Originally born in the U.S.A, Jon graduated summa cum laude from the Utrecht Conservatory, and received his M.A in jazz saxophone from the Rotterdam Conservatory. Jon has performed in various Dutch jazz venues and festivals such as the BIMhuis and Jazz in Duketown. With balkan-pop group Amariszi he's toured throughout Europe and Turkey, and has done studio work for various commercials, movies, and T.V shows. He recorded clarinet solos on Caro Emerald's multi-platinum first album. Jon is also the world authority on the Zanzithophone: an electronic sax-like toy (or toy-like sax?) from the 1980's that seemingly only he knows (and cares) about.