For sale: Steinway grand piano

For sale sign for Steinway Grand in Utrecht, Netherlands – see new photos and listen to sound clips from 2011 and 2004

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Asking price Euro 21,000     now euro 19,500

Please use LEAVE A REPLY box below for enquiries & appointments. These will NOT be posted but owner will reply.

First time buying a Steinway? Download the Steinway Buyer’s Guide for free.

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Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht, Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer, 2012
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Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht. Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer, 2012
Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht
Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht. Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer, 2012
Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht
Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht. Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer, 2012

Sound clips:

Amaranthinesque – piano duet 4 hands, by Chip Michael, performed by Anne Ku & Brendan Kinsella, Utrecht, Netherlands July 2011

Fantasy Impromptu – Chopin – performed by Rie Tanaka, Bussum, Netherlands, June 2004 (shortly after purchase & restoration)

Wanted: home for a Steinway

Steinway grand piano from 1909 New York model A 188 cm is up for sale, rent, or loan. Resident piano in Keulsekade, Utrecht, Netherlands, Monument House Concert Series performances and chamber music rehearsals. A fine instrument.

My relocation to the Netherlands in 2003/2004 coincided with a refund of monies from Singapore. It was a milestone for change.

Frustrated by the daily challenge of finding a good piano to practise at the conservatory in Utrecht and the inadequate upright piano at home in Bussum, I decided to find a grand piano of my own.

First I visited the local piano shop whose owner led me to a room full of Yamahas. I could not find a piano that was special enough to be different. I abandoned the idea of a Yamaha and went for a Steinway instead. The story of how I found that piano and the piano technician who helped me negotiate the price is an interesting one, perhaps for another blog post. He did request that I visit his atelier after I got back from Taiwan. A month later, the French polished, restrung Steinway grand arrived in Bussum.

It was a glorious moment — to finally have a Steinway Grand Piano in my home. The Steinway was not from Hamburg but from New York. Made in 1909. All 188 CM of it. Model A. Ivory keys. One celebrated concert pianist, Dutch winner of the Liszt Piano Competition who commuted between Vienna and Utrecht, remarked that it was a Rachmaninoff piano for it had that romantic sound.

Here’s how the Steinway sounds: Intermezzo by Allan Segall, performed by Anne Ku, recorded by Robert Bekkers.

I held a Steinway Warming party for my piano friends. With the upright piano, four pianists could play on both pianos. We tried all sorts of duets.

Once I got accustomed to being the proud owner of a Steinway, it was time to let go of my Gerhard Adam, a German mahogany grand piano from the 1920’s which I left behind in London. I wrote a decision making guide to buying a second-hand piano to help sell that piano online. Once again I walked down my memory lane of buying a piano. I wrote an Adieu which used all 88 keys on the piano, a way for me to say goodbye thru the new owner I did not meet.

Here is a recording of my playing on my Steinway. Adieu to a Piano by Anne Ku

Steinway Grand Model A 188cm, 1909 New York, before recording session
Steinway Grand Model A 188cm, 1909 New York, before recording session

In summer 2006, the Steinway moved with me to Utrecht. We launched the Monument House Concert Series with a violin and guitar concert by Duo 46. That December we chose the theme Piano as Orchestra, featuring several concertos (harp, euphonium, guitar). The following year we combined food with music in Chamber Music Tapas Style. Every year we committed to organizing two house concerts. Often we had several mini concerts, including a kitchen concert, garden concert, impromptu concert. Each time we became more adventurous and more professional. We outsourced food and wine to professional chefs and wine sommeliers. We included art exhibitions.

On my last trip back to the Netherlands, I felt compelled to host two concerts back to back. Despite being time-challenged with only 2.5 months to sort out my things, I felt it was important to organize these concerts for two American pianists on their way to the Italian alps. Why? Maybe instinctively I knew it was the last time my grand piano would be heard in a concert setting. Sure enough, 2nd July 2011 became the last house concert.

And the last recordings were that of piano duets I had collected from a Call for Scores from Hawaii to Holland. Here’s Brendan Kinsella and I playing my late composition teacher Henk Alkema’s piece.

APPEAL:

This Steinway Grand, made in New York in 1909, model A – 188 cm – needs a home. SALE. RENT. or LOAN.

Steinway for Sale with new photos and sound clips.

Interested parties please use the LEAVE A REPLY field below.

Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht
Steinway Grand at the Monument House, Utrecht

Allan Segall, composer, pianist, and playwright

Amsterdam-based American composer Allan Segall goes beyond music to write his first play in Estonia. Anne Ku recaps their friendship.

How do performers meet composers and commission works from them?

I met Allan Segall during the intermission of a concert in Amsterdam in spring of 2004. The encounter left such an impression on me that I wrote an entry in my online journal. A few months later, I invited him to my Steinway welcome party in Bussum. He introduced a simple but sticky solo piano piece that I played and recorded for the event. As with most if not all compositions, Intermezzo comes with a story. I would love to include it in my solo piano project but I would need the score in electronic form.

Allan was intrigued by our piano guitar duo. He said that he enjoyed writing for “neglected ensembles.” By that, he probably meant rare combinations. We invited him to the premiere of the first piano guitar duo written for us. Afterwards, he declared that he would write a duo piece for us.

Allan’s output was a work that required several years of practice to get it right. I’m still not entirely sure that we got it right. “When J.S. Bach, Igor Stravinsky, and the Who met” is a terrifically difficult but exciting piece. It’s like time travel, with Bach counterpoint, Stravinsky harmony, and echoes of Tommy the rock musical. I daresay it’s the first time that the guitar is louder than the piano. We premiered it in Cortona, Italy in 2006. The USA premiere was on Maui in 2007. We finally released the CD of that Maui concert earlier this year. You can hear a short sample on CDBABY.

Cortona Contemporary Music Festival 2006: Anne Ku, Allan Segall, Robert Bekkers
Cortona Contemporary Music Festival 2006: Anne Ku, Allan Segall, Robert Bekkers

Once allowed to flourish, creative people have no boundaries. Allan Segall has now expanded his powers of creation beyond music. He wrote the play “Detox the Dummy” which premiered in Estonia recently. I remember when he was working on it. Our friendship nearly suffered during the period he was going through “detox.”

Watch the TV video below for an interview (in English) with Allan Segall. Don’t let the unsubtitled Estonian language deter you from seeing clips of the play.

Detox the Dummy

Prelude and Fuga in d minor by H. Verleur

Heleen Verleur’s Prelude and Fugue in D minor for solo piano brought back memories of Anne Ku’s first concert in Bussum, Netherlands. More than 10 years later, she records it on her Steinway in Utrecht, Netherlands while remembering it in Maui.

Before I left the Netherlands, I recorded a CD of three piano duets with Carol Ruiz Gandia for my Call for Scores project followed by several solo pieces that were easy to sightread. Three of the solos came from my collection of music by the Amsterdam-based composer Heleen Verleur.

What a joy it was to find Verleur’s Prelude and Fugue in D minor on my bookshelf! Sightreading the set brought back memories of my first concert in Bussum, Netherlands in March 2002. Back then, I was still working full-time as an energy magazine editor, shuffling between London where I was based to the New York head office and various conference locations. Music was a pastime, a favourite hobby, and an insatiable passion.

If you visit our Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo website, you’ll see that the very first concert is listed in 2002, a year after I met Dutch guitarist Robert Bekkers. That “afternoon of diversity” concert in a Lutheran church in the town of Bussum (east of Amsterdam) featured the music of Heleen Verleur for piano solo and piano and violin as well as that of Astor Piazzolla. In preparing for that concert, I wrote of my expectations of that event where the guest of honour was my childhood friend Leslie from Seattle.

More than 10 years after I met Robert Bekkers and Heleen Verleur in Amsterdam, I would like to share my interpretation of the prelude and fugue, recorded on 4th August 2011 on my 1909 New York Steinway in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Prelude in d minor by Heleen Verleur, interpreted by Anne Ku (mp3)

Prelude in d minor by Heleen Verleur
Prelude in d minor by Heleen Verleur

Fuga in d minor by Heleen Verleur, interpreted by Anne Ku (mp3)

Fuga in d minor by Heleen Verleur
Fuga in d minor by Heleen Verleur

When I searched for “Verleur” on my e-mail programme, I discovered several e-mails of mp3 and concert announcements from Heleen. Now that I have more time in Hawaii, I hope to listen to this backlog of gifts of music, including CDs I received from various composers and performers. You could say that forthcoming entries in this Concertblog will introduce the music I have been collecting during the last 10 years of concertizing and arts management in the Netherlands.

Heleen Verleur official website: http://www.heleenverleur.nl

Music in house concerts in the Netherlands

Stichting Muziek in Huis, which translates to Foundation Music in House or Home, is in its 11th year of operation, providing live music to venues where people live — i.e. their home. They are care-taking institutes such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and clinics. All musicians are conservatory-trained and must pass auditions. The foundation provides publicity, bookings, payments, and opportunities for musicians early in their careers.

This is our third consecutive year playing for venues in the “Music in House” concert series in the Netherlands. Stichting Muziek in Huis, which translates to Foundation Music in House or Home, is in its 11th year of operation, providing live music to venues where people live — i.e. their home. But these are not your average private homes. They are care-taking institutes such as nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and clinics. All musicians are conservatory-trained and must pass auditions. The ensembles range from duos (like ours) to string quartets or other combinations. The foundation provides publicity, bookings, payments, and opportunities for musicians early in their careers.

Every location is different. Last Sunday 14th February several of guitarist Robert Bekkers’ former guitar students and their parents came to our concert at the Zandzee in Bussum. It was our second time there, and we remembered that it was on the top floor of an elderly home where residents live quite independently. This observation I gathered from the lack of wheel chairs and nurses. [Below: video taken just before our concert.]

Although the concerts are organised for the residents, their family and relatives are also welcome. No reservation is required beforehand, though it’s good to call to double check. Sometimes it’s extremely packed, standing room only. At other times, like last Sunday, it’s comfortable and spacious. There is usually a minimal charge to cover the cost of coffee and tea during the intermission.

Over the years, we have invited our own friends, students, and contacts to come. Their presence makes our performance more special. Knowing some in the audience creates that extra tension to push us further towards our goal.

I’m sure there are organisations such as SMIH elsewhere in the world. It is not only a service for the elderly audiences who are no longer able to live independently but also for the eager musicians willing to travel.

A violinist classmate from conservatory and I interviewed the SMIH founder about programming live music for the elderly audience. We learned that we should choose and order the music by mood not genre. [Link to one page abstract of this masters elective research paper.]

With this in mind, our piano guitar duo begin our new 2010 programme with Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba to warm up and cheer up. Then we settle everyone down with Vivaldi’s Winter. How are elderly audiences different from the younger generation? In the case of the Bussum concert where the age ranged from 16 to 90, I don’t think there was a difference.

House concerts in the Netherlands, Madrid, Houston, etc

The late composer pianist Robert Avalon first introduced the term “home concerts” to me on one of my frequent trips to Houston where he was based. I languished in the triangular logic of “home is where the heart is” and “music is the food of love” and therefore “home concerts” or “house concerts.” It made total sense.

A journalist for a popular monthly magazine in Amsterdam called me an hour ago to enquire about house concerts. It’s a subject I’d like to write about, having personally experienced them in London, North Wales, Birmingham, Houston, Bussum, Utrecht, and Amsterdam.

I should clarify that initially I organised and produced house concerts in London so that I could perform in them. It evolved into a mechanism to play chamber music with interesting musicians that I was meeting in my travels. I’ve also attended concerts in beautiful homes in Houston, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. Nowadays I prefer to perform and leave the organising to house concert producers.

The late composer pianist Robert Avalon first introduced the term “home concerts” to me on one of my frequent trips to Houston where he was based. I languished in the triangular logic of “home is where the heart is” and “music is the food of love” and therefore “home concerts” or “house concerts.” It made total sense.

Robert Avalon and Anne Ku improvising piano duets in Houston
Robert Avalon and Anne Ku improvising piano duets in Houston

After performing in difficult situations, such as against the rattling of refrigerators and restlessness of audiences not familiar with the classical concert circuit, I longed for the silence and stillness of dedicated house concert audiences. They pay anywhere between 8 euros (Funen Concerts Art Productions, Amsterdam) to 15 euros (on average) and up, even voluntary contributions for a house concert that could include refreshments or more.

Our Monument House Concert Series, which hosts concerts twice a year in our home, began as a vehicle to share our music and our musician friends with our neighbours and the local community in 2006. It was also a way to introduce new repertoire, such as Robert Bekkers’ solo guitar programme in the 2007 Kitchen Concert in our newly renovated kitchen.

Kitchen Concert, Monument House Concert Series Utrecht
Kitchen Concert, Monument House Concert Series Utrecht

I am lucky to be on the mailing of a house concert series in prestigious Keizersgracht in Amsterdam, where I’ve once turned pages to experience it first-hand. The photographer-turned-impresario stores four grand pianos for musicians that allow them to be used in his ground floor flat which accommodates up to 80 people.

We gave our most recent contemporary duo concert in a house concert series in Funen Park Amsterdam. The owners Bart and Erik run their fortnightly Sunday afternoon concert series and art gallery out of their modern one-bedroom apartment. This deserves a separate blog entry.

Piano Guitar Duo in Funen Arts Concert Series Amsterdam, July 2009
Piano Guitar Duo in Funen Arts Concert Series Amsterdam, July 2009

Earlier in May, we gave a concert in a beautiful villa on the edge of Madrid — another forthcoming blog to write.

Piano Guitar Duo at El Jardin de Belagua in Madrid
Piano Guitar Duo at El Jardin de Belagua in Madrid

On 26 September 2009, we will give a mixed concert in a new house concert series in Amsterdam. In the first weekend in October, we will organise a classical guitar concert in our Monument House Concert Series, the previous one being a cross-domain event of contemporary piano duets with live video in March (pictured below).

Effusion of new works for piano duet against video, Monument House Concert
Effusion of new works for piano duet against video, Monument House Concert

What is so special about house concerts? For musicians, we get the opportunity to play to an attentive audience who are true connoisseurs of our music. It also allows us to “practise” before an important audition, a competition or a bigger concert, such as a high profile venue.

For the audience, it’s a rare occasion to go into someone’s private dwelling and enjoy live music in an intimate and relaxed setting.

Once you’ve experienced a house concert, you would think twice about going to a big hall, sit among strangers, and leave as soon as the music is over. We encourage our house concert guests to linger and get to know the performers and members of the audience.

While house concerts are a big and necessary part of the Americana singer-songwriter movement in the USA and Canada, it is not so well advertised (if at all) for classical music. Ironically in the 19th century, chamber music was performed in such house concerts where often performers played their own compositions. We tell the story of the Ducaten concerts of Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Mauro Giuliani where you pay one “ducat” to attend. But how many composers perform their own works today?

What do the organisers get out of producing house concerts? We put on three consecutive concerts in the space of two days in November 2007 to raise funding for our first trip to the USA (pictured below). For us, a mailing list and a large network of classical aficionados helped make it a joy to organise. Each concert was unique. In the following month, we gave two house concerts in Houston, the first in a 10,000 sq. ft designer home of architects in Memorial Park and the second in the town house of an investment banker in Montrose.

Piano Guitar Duo for Export House Concert Utrecht
Piano Guitar Duo for Export House Concert Utrecht

I told the journalist that producing house concerts isn’t profitable unless you do it on a regular (frequent) basis. “It barely breaks even for us,” I said. “We don’t charge our time or that of our volunteers. We have often included home-cooked food and a variety of refreshments. It’s time-consuming and interruptive to our daily routine, for we have to move the furniture and give up our rehearsal space.”

“So why organise house concerts?” she asked.

“It has to be for the love of music and a desire to share.”

I neglected to mention that the garden house (designed by Robert Bekkers in 2007 and finished in 2009) is our new venue for extremely intimate house concerts. Below is a video tour taken just before the celebrated violin guitar duo of Matt and Beth arrived from Italy to stay for a week. Duo46 had opened our first concert in summer 2006 with “Music of the Americas.”

We will be hosting the Cape Town classical guitarist Derek Gripper at the end of September next. Watch this space.

Concert in Bussum

I wanted very much to connect with the audience, all of them strangers except for one. Bussum and its sister city Naarden lie in the famous Gooi east of Amsterdam, an area generally known for its affluent residents

“Goedemiddag, dames en heren. Wij woonden in Bussum tot drie jaar geleden. Nu wonen wij in Utrecht.”

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We lived in Bussum until three years ago. Now we live in Utrecht.

I wanted very much to connect with the audience, all of them strangers except for one.

Bussum and its sister city Naarden lie in the famous Gooi (pronounced “hoy”) east of Amsterdam, an area generally known for its affluent residents in the big standalone houses of Het Spiegel next to the Naarden-Bussum train station.

Market square in Bussum, Netherlands

The only person we knew in the audience was Esta, a lady from the foundation that booked and arranged our concert schedules. She appears now and then, always unannounced and always a welcome surprise. This time she spoke only Dutch to me.

I am very happy to see that you are speaking Dutch, Anne. Shall I announce you and what you will play? Or will you do the talking?

I told her that I had started taking private lessons in Dutch, once a week, two hours each lesson. I said that I had written down what I was going to say in Dutch.

Good. Finally I will hear you talk in Dutch.

The guitarist and I waited at the door while Esta went to the microphone to open the concert. The microphone did not work. The volunteer who had earlier greeted us stood up. She tried to look for the switch. Another lady got up to help. It took them a few minutes to figure out the problem. A ha! It worked.

By the time we walked on stage, we just wanted to play.