Afternoon Tea Trio and Duets

The final day of the July house concert festival at the Monument House Utrecht, Netherlands is dedicated to exploring the future for classical musicians. Egyptian dinner for those who stay (reservations required) to discuss.

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Also known as Trio Afternoon Tea and Piano Duets

subtitled: Musicians Open Day

What do we want to do after hosting two consecutive concerts from our home? Chill out.

I want to hear the brand new trio of French horn, concert harp, and soprano — an unusual combination.

Trio Afternoon Tea: Emile Kaper, Kitty de Geus, Maria Pozdynakova
Trio Afternoon Tea: Emile Kaper, Kitty de Geus, Maria Pozdynakova

I want to play and hear the new multi-hand piano duets that did not get performed in San Francisco.

But most of all, I’d like to get the two pianists Nathanael May and Brendan Kinsella to share their views on the future for professional classically-trained musicians and conduct a career workshop. To lure musicians to participate in the discussions on topics close to their hearts, I am inviting a professional photographer and videographer to make press photographs and videos. I am inviting Chef Hany to once again provide an Egyptian feast for all. We will have workshops on how to launch a concert tour, writing professional biographies, and advanced networking skills.

Like the two previous events in this weekend of house concerts at the Monument House, there will be organic wine tasting, raffle draw, and silent auction. What’s different is that the performances are FREE to the public. The dinner is again 18 euros (but including a glass of organic wine).

Musicians get a discount of 10 euros if they recruit 1 dinner guest; 5 euros if they recruit 2 dinner guests; and a free dinner if they recruit 3 dinner guests. Otherwise, they pay 15 euros (not including wine, which is 2 euros per glass). In other words, musicians (performer, composer, conductor, teacher) pay nothing if they get 3 guests to reserve/pay dinners, 5 euros if 2 guests, 10 euros if 1 guest.

Discussion panels topics:

  • future of classical musicians’ career (given budget cuts), i.e. how to survive as a musician after budget cuts
  • work life balance: how to have a career in music and have a family
  • concert touring: how to do this, costs and benefits, contacts
  • house concerts: variety of approaches, audience development
  • music for a cause: fundraising, publicity, and the new revenue model
  • what do you need to have a career in music? website? photographs? social media networking?

To reserve, visit the High Note Live website.

The concert itself is FREE — or rather, by donations only — similar to the Glass Vase Concert of 2011 concept.

"Blue and White Vases"  24x36 acrylic on hard board by Rob Judkins (2011)
"Blue and White Vases" 24x36 acrylic on hard board by Rob Judkins (2011)

How to get to concert venues in Amsterdam during “Dam tot Damloop”

I am sure Amsterdammers know the back streets of Amsterdam by bicycle. I am sure they will figure out how to bypass and circumvent the roads that are blocked for cars and buses on Sunday 19th September 2010.

Ironically, a marathon as large as the annual “Dam to Dam” can cause the central part of Amsterdam to come to a standstill. Luckily all metro and trams should work. [Metro map of Amsterdam and other maps of public transportation in Amsterdam.

Walking is possible. Cycling is possible. Even taking a boat on the canals is possible. Just don’t drive to Amsterdam in your car on Sunday 19th September 2010.

…continued from “Concert in Oosterkerk, Amsterdam

I am sure Amsterdammers know the back streets of Amsterdam by bicycle. I am sure they will figure out how to bypass and circumvent the roads that are blocked for cars and buses on Sunday 19th September 2010.

Ironically, a marathon as large as the annual “Dam to Dam” can cause the central part of Amsterdam to come to a standstill. The first race begins at 8 am from the Amsterdam Centraal station and ends in Zaandam. The last run leaves Amsterdam just before 3 pm. [See map of the Dam tot Damloop race.]

Anne Ku at Oosterkerk in Amsterdam, September 2009
Anne Ku at Oosterkerk in Amsterdam, September 2009

Luckily all metro and trams should work. [Metro map of Amsterdam and other maps of public transportation in Amsterdam.

Walking is possible.

Cycling is possible.

Even taking a boat on the canals is possible.

Just don’t drive to Amsterdam in your car on Sunday 19th September 2010.

For out-of-towners, you can take the train to Amsterdam Centraal and get a metro to Muiderport station and then walk to Oosterkerk for the free piano guitar duo concert at noon.

From the east end of the central station, you can take tram 26 (it goes in a loop) and get off at the third stop: Rietlandpark and then walk to Funen Park 125 for the piano and French horn concert at 15:00 at Funen Concerts.

Anne Ku in concert at Oosterkerk, 20 September 2009
Anne Ku in concert at Oosterkerk, 20 September 2009

Completing the trio: music, barbecue, and acrobatics

I called it “Completing the trio.” I just needed a violinist to complete my duo with French horn and my duo with cellist. The Dutch violinist who opened the music gates for us in Taiwan was returning to the Netherlands for a short vacation. I decided to make an event of it.

Some of the best memories I have are not recorded on photo, audio, or video. For this reason, I blog as a kind of bookmark — to trigger the memories and to never forget. How could I forget sitting at the piano, playing the Brahms horn trio, the Mendelssohn piano trios, and Piazzolla piano trio versions of his Four Seasons?

That afternoon of Thursday 15th July 2010 was a special one for me.

I called it “Completing the trio.” I just needed a violinist to complete my duo with French horn and my duo with cellist. The Dutch violinist who opened the music gates for us in Taiwan was returning to the Netherlands for a short vacation. I decided to make an event of it.

Once we started playing the trios, I realised that it was the most wonderful thing to play and experience chamber music. The sound was overwhelming and all encompassing. Had I discovered chamber music earlier, I would majored in music instead of engineering. Chamber music didn’t exist in my childhood on Okinawa. The closest thing was quatre main — piano duets. I played the keyboard in various bands, but that was not chamber music.

To entice the musicians to come to this “Completing the Trio” event, I organised a barbecue. I marinated spareribs in a special spicy Asian mix. I defrosted several dozen giant tiger prawns. I prepared Chinese cold noodles in the fridge. It was just a get-together for my indulgence in music — not a concert by any means.

I wanted to keep it small, intimate, and manageable. Just the 3 musicians plus me and Robert, that way I could focus on the music.

I tried to resist inviting others to this indulgent day of music and barbecue. I failed.

In the end, I invited my friend Kristen from Atlanta whom I hadn’t seen in 2 years. I invited a Hawaiian artist and his Dutch partner, both of whom I had never met but was very curious after reading his art catalogue.

The phone rang unexpectedly that afternoon. “I heard you’re having a rehearsal. We’d like to come to hear you. There are five of us. May we come to hear you?” News leaked of our musical gathering. “It’s a rehearsal,” I said. “Not a concert. Bring some chicken for the barbecue.”

The guest list of 3 expanded to 12. There were 14 of us that day enjoying the music, the barbecue, and the acrobatics.

Anne balancing on Robert's knee with help of Emile and Annelies on 15 July 2010
Anne balancing on Robert's knee with help of Emile and Annelies on 15 July 2010

Music at the Glass Vase Concert 23 May 2010

The glass vase is where you donate your euros for this free concert to support young musicians starting out in their careers. A dozen musicians will be giving four different concerts on 23rd May 2010 in Utrecht. This also supports the Monument House Concert Series in its 4th year, named for the renovated Dutch monument house next to the peaceful Merwedekanaal which runs into the Amsterdamrijn Canal. The latter connects the Amstel River to the Rhine river in Germany.

What is the Glass Vase Concert? or rather, Glass Vase Concerts (with an s) as there are several different ones on Sunday 23 May 2010.

The glass vase is where you donate your euros for this free concert to support young musicians starting out in their careers. See illustration below.

Glass vase and Monument House Glass Mug
Glass vase and Monument House Glass Mug

The custom-designed Monument House glass mug, durable for hot and cold drinks, will be on sale at 10 euros each (including one serving of home brewed beer). This also supports the Monument House Concert Series in its 4th year, named for the renovated Dutch monument house next to the peaceful Merwedekanaal which runs into the Amsterdamrijn Canal. The latter connects the Amstel River to the Rhine river in Germany.

Doors open 14:00 with coffee, tea, and the usual greetings.

14:30 – 15:30 First Concert

Dutch pianist Leonie de Klerk will select from her Bachelor final exam concert which is already a well-balanced programme of Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Chopin, and Scriabin. What can be taken out to reduce 45 to 20 minutes? I certainly hope Chopin’s Ballade number 4 remains.

Chinese tenor Duo Pan, accompanied by Catalan pianist Carol Ruiz Gandia, will sing art songs of Mahler and an aria from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, among others from his forthcoming Bachelor final exam.

15:30 – 16:00 Break

16:00 – 17:00 Second Concert

In the second set, Russian harpist Maria Pozdynakova will play selections from her forthcoming Masters exam and competition. Hosokawa’s Gesine is a commissioned piece for a competition in Munich ARD, where Maria has participated. Legende was written by the famous harpist Henriette Renie and has a program – a poem about a knight,who’s being bewitched by elves. Pour le Tombeau de Orphee is a very atmospheric piece by Dutch composer Marius Flothuis.

The Baroque cello duo of American cellist Stephanie Hunt and Brazillian cellist Fernando Venturin will play selections from the following programme:

Giovanni Sammartini (1698-1750)  Sonata in a minor

  • Andante
  • Allegro
  • Minuet (Allegro)

Salvatore Lanzetti (1710-1780) Sonata XII in D Major from 12 Sonaten Op. 1 (1736)

  • Allegro
  • Andante Cantabile
  • Menuet

Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) Sonata V in F major from Sonates pour le Violoncelle et Basse Continue, Op. 5 (1746)

  • Adagio
  • Allegro Moderato
  • Adagio
  • Allegro

17:00 – 17:30 Break

17:30 – 18:30 Third Concert

Dutch alto Nicky Bouwers will sing from Elgar’s Sea Pictures from her forthcoming Masters final exam concert. Accompanist Thijn Vermeulen will also give a piano solo programme of Poulenc and Ligeti from his forthcoming Bachelor final exam concert.

In each of the above concerts, the organisers will play a piece. French horn / piano, guitar solo, guitar / piano.

18:30 – 20:00 authentic Egyptian dinner will be served (please reserve in advance for headcount).

20:00 onwards, to 23:00

Dutch composer and vocalist Marianne Verbrugge will perform her own works, some in the jazz genre, accompanied by Dutch composer/pianist Henk Alkema and Austrian cellist Anna Schweizer. This will open the evening for a free-for-all “jam session” for the musicians and guests. The jam includes anything from old compositions to new improvisations.

For more information, visit http://www.pianoguitar.com/concerten/

Location: The Monument House, Keulsekade 25, 3531JX Utrecht, The Netherlands

Free parking

Max seating capacity (not including the dozen performers): 40

Glass Vase Concert in Utrecht to support young musicians

The Glass Vase Concert on Sunday 23rd May requires no advance reservation (unless you want dinner). It’s free entry. One unique aspect of this house concert is the free-for-all jamming after dinner. Guests can perform. Guests can jam with the musicians.

The Glass Vase Concert on Sunday 23rd May requires no advance reservation (unless you want dinner). It’s free entry.

Well, not REALLY free. There are costs we have to cover to make it feasible.

We suggest a minimum donation of 10 euros into the GLASS VASE to support EACH concert. There will be coffee, tea, home-baked pastries, and other refreshments of course.

One unique aspect of this house concert is the free-for-all jamming after dinner. Guests can perform. They can improvise. Guests can jam with the musicians.

It started with an e-mail from a Shanghainese tenor asking if he could perform his final exam concert in our Monument House Concert Series. Then I heard from a Russian pianist about a Dutch pianist who wanted to give her solo concert. So I broadcasted to my musician friends on Facebook to see if anyone else would like to participate.

House concerts with attentive audience in relaxing home environments are ideal for those musicians preparing for competitions or final exams (both Bachelors and Masters). I recruited a few more musicians who have already graduated but are still early in their professional careers to make it a full-blown concert.

The list of musicians grew. The programmes grew. It is no longer one concert, but four different concerts — from Baroque cello to modern voice/piano improvisation. Solo. Duo. Trio. There’s Italian aria. There’s virtuoso piano solo. I will only get to play 10 minutes with French horn and guitar from 2 pm to 11 pm. The rest of time, I will play hostess.

Actually, it began earlier than that. As producers of the Monument House Concert Series, we get unsolicited e-mails from musicians who want to tour Europe. They google “house concerts” and somehow find our website. Most of the time, we are too busy with our own performances elsewhere. But occasionally, we get excited about hosting and producing concerts for other musicians.

Then there are those, just like us, who organise and produce concerts from their homes. What is the secret to a successful house concert? [This is the subject of a forthcoming blog.]

Hungry musicians eager to play — can’t eat before they play — and thus get very hungry afterwards. Join us musicians for authentic Egyptian dinner (15 euros advance reservation or 20 euros at the door). Wine will be sold separately at 1 euro per glass, to cover the costs of good quality wine.

Robert spent an entire evening tonight (5 hours) brewing his special red-coloured, double hopped ale for this occasion. He finally gets his chance to share the fruit of his passion —- in glass mugs he designed, using the MONUMENT HOUSE crest. These mugs will sell for 9 euros each. If you already have one, bring it to get your beer (1 euro each serving).

I should write another blog about the music that will be played.

The music after the concert

What happens after the official concert is over?

When there are other musicians in the audience, something phenomenal occurs. They jam. They improvise. They even sing opera. That’s how they communicate with each other.

It’s extremely late (12:45 am). In less than seven hours I have to get to our second recording session. I have to be wide awake and alert for it.

But this can’t wait…. I will simply have to update this blog when I have more time.

What happens after the official concert is over?

Continue reading “The music after the concert”