Earth Day ukulele workshop and jam

If we celebrate birthdays, why not one for Mother Earth? Every April 22nd, people all over the world celebrate Earth Day in different ways. While I was living on Maui, I started using music to gather community and raise awareness for sustainability through concerts and jam sessions. It’s a combination of entertainment and education. The last one was my piano class joining forces with the ukulele class (video below). This year, Earth Day falls on Sunday 22nd April 2018, and I’m determined to do something special.

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Making private space public

Eight years ago, I gave a paper on “house concerts for art music” to economists in love with music in Copenhagen. Today, Groupmuse is one of the grassroot initiatives that intermediates between artists and venue owners to realise such a concept. On Maui, I know of a clarinettist who produces these concerts from his home — always sold out. In and around Utrecht, I know of at least two. What are the issues that confront turning your private space into a concert venue for the public?

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Have ʻuke, will travel

tiny_tenor
Tiny Tenor of Romero Creations (mahogany)

This past January, I introduced myself in Joel Katz‘s intermediate ʻukulele class by announcing that I was downsizing from the nine foot grand piano to the less than two foot ʻukulele. People laughed.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t giving up the piano by any means. Rather, I was embracing the ʻukulele. It has my namesake after all: KU in ʻukulele.

In truth, I didn’t know what I was getting into. A few of my music students had shared their love of the instrument. One even gave me a hand-built ʻukulele stand as a parting gift. Eventually I succumbed to my usual thirst for novelty and variety.

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Facebook happenings

Record, store, and share what you want to remember on Facebook.

One way to learn what’s happening in other people’s lives nowadays is through Facebook.

Half of my friends on Facebook are musicians. The other are non-musicians. Through Facebook, I learn which conservatory classmates have graduated, have given standing ovation concerts, and have moved to another country. About a third of my “Facebook friends” are people I’ve not actually had a conversation face to face.

Today I spotted a wedding photograph of a young man I’ve known since he was not even born. I’ve not known or been part of his life in the last 10 years or so.  Perhaps that’s why I was not invited to the wedding. After all, I was a friend of his father and late mother. How I miss her! There were times when I really wished she was here to give me advice.

I’ve been trying to get my parents to use Facebook so that they can follow what’s happening. They resist. It’s either too private or too time consuming. Secretly I think that they’d rather do the traditional interaction of face to face.

For me, Facebook is a stage. I populate it with photos, videos, and trains of thought. It’s also storage for memories along the timeline.

I believe there’s a saying that goes something like this: “it hasn’t happened until it’s been recorded.”

What better way to record, store, and share what you want to remember than to post it on Facebook?!? If you change your mind, you can always delete it.

Adieu to a Steinway

Saying goodbye to a Steinway Grand by finding the next owner and avoiding the fate of the worst kind….

When we first received the Steinway, it took up a big corner of the house in Bussum. I was afraid it was too close to the fire place. Robert joked, “Well that’s a lot of wood to burn, for a long time.”

Throughout the years, from the Steinway Welkomfest in Bussum to our house concerts in Utrecht, visiting concert pianists brought out the depth and breadth of sound — warm nostalgic tones from the Romantic era.

As I scout the market for its next owner, I can’t help thinking that once again I am saying goodbye to a friend via cyberspace. I am unable to play it, caress it, or hear it. I am on the other side of the world, answering e-mail enquiries and writing to those who might have a hand in its future.

A friend sent me 4 consecutive e-mails of the following video from the New York Times. He really wanted to make sure I got it, I guess. It’s not a nice way to say goodbye, and I surely hope it will not be the death of mine.

Requiem for a Piano (video)

Another friend sent me the NY Times article that wrapped around the above video: For More Pianos, Last Note is Thud in the Dump.

For sale: 1908-1909 New York Steinway model A, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Listen to me playing my Adieu to a Piano on every one of the 88 keys of the Steinway, saying goodbye to its predecessor in London. [MP3]

Adieu to a piano by Anne Ku
Adieu to a piano by Anne Ku (3 page PDF)