The Magic Banff Formula with Henk Guittart


“Why can I do things here that I cannot do in my studio at  home?”   

Henk Guittart working with musician in residence. Photo: Donald Lee.

Henk Guittart working with cellist Adrian Fung of the Afiara Quartet. Photo: Donald Lee.

During a snowy afternoon chat over chocolates I caught up with Henk Guittart, Director of our Fall and Winter Creative Music Residencies, to hear all about his Magic Banff Formula.

How long have you been the Director?
Officially, I started October 2010 but truly I started long before that; organizing faculty and adjudicating applications in the spring of that same year. I began coming to the Centre as guest faculty in 2006 and sort of grew into the role.

What is one of your highlights since you took over as Director? Without being a cliché, my highlight is this week – having pianist Ronan O’Hora here and this week’s population of resident artists.  That is how I live and think in the moment. 

You’re in Banff from October to March. What do you do during the summer?
Our first summer in Canada my wife, Carolien, organized a retreat for us on Vancouver Island.  We fell in love with the Island.  We come over early every summer from Holland to go back there.

What do you miss most about Holland when you’re in Banff? 
I like to say there’s nothing wrong with missing something.  So it would only be bad if my joy of being in Banff would be overruled by missing the sea, my friends in the Netherlands, and my family. 

What do you think The Banff Centre offers musicians that other residency programs don’t?
There really is no competition to this program. It is open to artists in all varieties and in all stages of their career. The length of the fall/winter program, 20 weeks is unheard of – 24 hour access to your own studio, amazing performance opportunities, incredible recording facilities, and warmth and support from your peers.   There are also all the subconscious benefits – fantastic isolation, geographical setting, and incredible scenery – the full experience of being here.  A Magic Banff Formula that leaves people asking, ‘Why can I do things here that I cannot do in my studio at home?” 

What’s your Magic Banff Formula?
Aside from working with the musicians and faculty, I love being outdoors – walking in the snow and being able to take in the landscape.    



About Author

Monique Walsh is a writer, collaborator, and facilitator. She currently holds the position of Communications Officer at The Banff Centre and is pursuing a Master's degree in Adult Education. Walsh is inspired by the magic of the mountains and the creative people that surround this place.

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