One joy of giving concerts in Europe is discovering ancient buildings in ancient cities. Such medieval buildings line the cobbled streets of central Utrecht, also known as the 4th largest city in the Netherlands and first founded by the Romans 2,000 years ago.
14th century Bartholomeusgashuis (Bartholowmews Guesthouse) was the first nursing home in Utrecht. Located near the Geertekerk and within walking distance from the central train station, this building has a fascinating history.
Nowadays it’s a residence for the elderly, or I should say, the lucky elderly, after its recent renovation to 5-star hotel standards. A concert is held on the first Thursday of each month in the Smeezaal. The rounded oval ceilings make the acoustics conducive to live music making, but the loud air conditioning is not ideal for classical guitar which requires dead silence.
Playing music in such old surroundings take us back in time. After a programme of Mozart on Thursday 8th July 2011, I sat at the Yamaha grand piano and tried to go back in time with the theme from the movie “Somewhere in Time.”