When guitarist Syberen van Munster graduated from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the jury called him a “highly melodic and authentic improviser”, and this has remained the best way to describe him ever since. Comfortable in a myriad of situations, he can be found playing with a modern jazz ensemble, accompanying a singer-songwriter, recording with a musical theatre artist, or interpreting the music of Tom Waits, yet his melodicism is distinct and instantly recognizable.
“A very strong guitarist” – Brad Mehldau / Jazzism Magazine
A native of Amsterdam, he has lived in New York City since 2009, where he has performed at venues such as Smoke Jazz Club, The Blue Note, Rockwood Music Hall, and the city’s go-to jazz guitar club, the Bar Next Door. He regularly jumps out of the fish tank however, to perform at such places as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., The North Sea Jazz Festival in The Netherlands or The Boozy Muse in Tokyo.
Syberen has recently recorded his debut album with an unusual line-up of talented peers: Ben van Gelder (alto sax), Vitor Gonçalves (accordion), Rick Rosato (bass), and Mark Schilders (drums). The album is to be released early 2015 and features his lush and orchestral sounding compositions, written exclusively for this ensemble.
Trained as a classical violinist from the age of 4, Syberen consistently refused to practice to the frustration of his teachers, and an unsuccessful 11-year career on the violin ensued. After years of repeated requests however, his parents caved in and bought him an electric guitar for his 15th birthday, and two years later he made his first appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival on the new instrument. In spite of not performing classical music anymore, it has remained a big source of inspiration and enjoyment for him.
“impeccably stylish” – Doug Simpson / Audiophile Audition
Syberen graduated in 2009 from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, and moved on to continue his education at the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York, where he obtained his Master’s Degree in 2011. He has won the Dutch Woodwinds Ensemble Composition Prize, and recently was a semi-finalist at the Montreux Jazz Guitar competition. He is a recipient of the Huygens Scholarship, which provided full-tuition for his Master’s Degree, as well as a scholarship from the Van Den Ende Foundation. For this he was featured on Dutch national television, performing for over 2 million viewers.
In addition to his work as a performing musician, Syberen writes for Dutch guitar magazine Gitarist.