Ray Drossaert started his 'musical career' at age 6, playing recorder and getting general music education at the local music school. Somewhat later he played e-flat clarinet in a wind orchestra for a short while. As Ray says: "I didn't appreciate the clarinet or the wind orchestra back then, wanting to play rock on a tenor sax. All that has changed now however; I've grown rather fond of wind orchestras now".
While studying Communication, Public Relations, Marketing & Advertising at the HEAO in Eindhoven, his musical activities dwindled to nothing. It was only after school that he picked up music again. However, Public Relations and Marketing have remained one of his primary areas of interest. Before starting out as a full-time musician, Ray worked as a marketing manager in an IT company.
After the break from music, Ray picked up guitar and was introduced to jazz by his teacher. It opened up a whole new world to him. During this period he was also "forced" to start on bassguitar as well, since the rockband he played in was unable to find one. "It took me a little while to get used to", says Ray, "but I soon discovered I had found my true instrument,even though I never reached the level I had in mind!"
Discovery of arranging
This was due to his accidental discovery of arranging: "I was constantly trying to write extra parts for the other guitar students in my class, devoting more time to that than to actual practicing..... Luckily my teacher supported this and provided my first instruction in arranging. Of course, after joining a local big band as bass player, I had to learn to write for them as well!" After the discovery of his true musical love, Ray has studied with a number of teachers over the years. And from arranging to composing was only a small step. "Actually, I have been composing all along", Ray says, "but only now I felt I had the ability to do it properly."
During his first arranging endeavours, Ray was asked to assist a band at their rehearsals, and thus his conducting career started. In his own words: "I never thought about becoming a conductor; it just sort of happened to me. Bands asked me to become their musical leader, and before I knew, I was a conductor! Of course I studied hard to do the job right, and it has proved to be highly rewarding."
Years of experience
Over the years, Ray wrote hundreds of arrangements and compositions for bigbands, rock- and popbands, wind orchestra, choirs and varied ensembles in a great variety of styles. These included all levels of proficiency, from beginner level to seasoned pro. He also wrote string and horn charts for cd-productions. In 2004 he wrote his first score for a short feature film. Ray continues to study arranging and composing. "I study music from all kinds of perspectives, trying to blend elements from all ages and styles in order to create something fresh for the current project. I'm not really interested in creating something entirely new, but I try to explore, expand and enrich the idiom of existing styles", Ray says in trying to explain his personal style.
Ray also remained active as a musician, as band leader and in a supporting role, mostly on fretless bass, but also guitar. Currently he plays 2nd guitar and does dome singing with "De Bloeiende Rammenas", of which he's the conductor as well. "I'm also thinking about reviving my project band Swingcopation, but so far I don't yet have a clear concept about the direction to take. I would like to take the concept of the Gil Evans / Miles Davis sessions as a starting point and take it in two directions at the same time: more rock-oriented and more counterpoint-oriented, without losing the cool jazz flavour."