Star Spangled Banner for not so easy piano

Anne Ku’s arrangement of Star Spangled Banner for not so easy piano was inspired by the book “No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love” and subsequent visit to the USS York Town in Charleston, South Carolina and a meeting with the author.

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The National Anthem of the United States is neither easy to sing nor play. It’s not easy to sing because of the wide octave range. It’s not easy to play because the melody and bass move all over the place. What motivated me to arrange the American anthem for piano? Fourth of July?

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Free concerts in Boston and Newton

Why free concerts? Why not? You can find free concerts in Boston nearly every day. Here’s how and why.

Search for “free concerts in Boston” and you will find a list on the calendar of Boston.com. However, this is only a partial list. Browse the websites of the New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Longy School of Music, Boston Public Library, to name a few, and you will find free concerts nearly every day in this part of New England.

What’s the catch, you say? Why are concerts free?

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Ostinatrio electronified minimalist music

Ostinatrio, a minimalist piece written originally for three recorders in 2005, receives an electronic makeover in 2014 and once more for wind trio and piano ensemble.

What a delight it was to receive a request through Twitter to share a variation of my music!

I wrote Ostinatrio for three recorders and revised it for oboe after its premiere in Utrecht, Netherlands. Like most of my music, I forgot about it until I heard the electronic version which is a lot more, hmmm, what shall I say, relevant? for film music? exciting to play? for my piano ensemble?

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Giuliani’s Friends Concerts in October 2013

If you google “Giuliani and friends” you get the Mayor of New York, not the guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani who was a friend of Beethoven and whose music is being revived by Braintree pianist Ellyses Kuan and Newton guitarist Robert Bekkers in Massachusetts.

Continue reading “Giuliani’s Friends Concerts in October 2013”

Classical guitar lessons in your home in Newton, Massachusetts

Dutch guitarist Robert Bekkers offers private guitar lessons in the comfort and convenience of your own home, in Newton, Massachusetts.

Breaking news!!

Classical guitarist Robert Bekkers is offering private guitar lessons in the comfort of your home in Newton, MA (ranked 4th out of 100 best places to live in the USA).  He brings a wealth of experience from years of teaching pupils aged 3 to 80, in Dutch, English, and German. Here is a chance to study under a sought-after and versatile musician.

Currently Mr Bekkers teaches at the prestigious South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA, lauded for the continuum model of artistic education and recognized as a national model for success.

When not teaching, Mr Bekkers gives concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, most recently appearing at the anual Boston Guitar Festival. He specializes in custom-tailoring music for guitar solo or guitar and other instruments for any occasion. At time of writing, he is preparing for his own arrangement of music requested for a wedding for flute and guitar, July 13th.

Prior to moving to Boston to pursue his doctorate in musical arts (DMA) at the New England Conservatory, Mr Bekkers toured as a guitar soloist across the USA for three weeks, and earlier with his piano and guitar duo for 5.5 weeks coast to coast, and sojourned on the island of Maui in Hawaii for the 3-month winter season 2010-2011. Before relocating to the USA where he is now based, he taught all genres of guitar, performed actively as classical guitarist, arranged music for guitar and other instruments, and transcribed music for flamenco guitar. Needless to say, he is a prolific musician catering his music to the needs of his audiences and pupils.

Robert Bekkers, classical guitar teacher, tel: (832) 231 5518 Newton, MA
Robert Bekkers, classical guitar teacher, tel: (832) 231 5518 Newton, MA

For more information about Robert Bekkers, visit his website at http://www.robertbekkers.com

For more information about Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo, visit http://www.pianoguitar.com

Autumn in New England (part four)

Within our busy schedule of trying to navigate from A to B, there was not enough time to take photographs or video, let alone switch on my laptop, connect to the Internet, and write a blog.

What follows below are cryptic notes to trigger future blog topics of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Boston, Massachusetts

I often look at a building or a scenery and think how nice it would be to have a photographer with us. As events unravel, I dare to dream about bringing a film maker along as well. I wish there’s more time to write or a budget to bring a writer with us on this tour. There is too much to write about and remember.

Within our busy schedule of trying to navigate from A to B, there was not enough time to take photographs or video, let alone switch on my laptop, connect to the Internet, and write a blog.

What follows below are cryptic notes to trigger future blog topics.

Wednesday 20th October 2010
Visit to New England Conservatory: Jason, a graduate composition student took us on a tour of the oldest music school in the USA, which houses 5 concert halls, career office including a “gig” database, alumni office, financial aid office, admissions office in 4 buildings in central Boston.

The oldest conservatory in the Netherlands is Utrecht Conservatory (my alma mater), but there is no career or alumni office. The closest thing to that is Facebook.

That evening, my friend, whom I had not seen for 22 years, took me to her yoga class and treated me to a Chinese foot massage to give me a good rest before our first concert on Thursday 21st October 2010.

Thursday 21 October 2010 Concert at St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
Excellent acoustics.Very receptive audience. Generous concert producer. Post-concert festivities.

Friday 22 October 2010 House Concert in Newton, Massachusetts
The artistic director and concert producer of JP Concerts drove us to our next location after midnight. It was the home of a Suzuki piano teacher who often accommodated international musicians on tour. She made blueberry muffins for us to consume the next morning for breakfast.

House concert in Newton, Massachusetts
House concert in Newton, Massachusetts

Robert woke up at 8 am to practise his guitar in the basement. There was a fire heating up the living room and surrounding area when I walked downstairs. We decided to play Dutch composer Heleen Verleur’s Fire to thank the Suzuki piano teacher for her hospitality.

Fire at the house concert in Newton, Massachusetts
Fire at the house concert in Newton, Massachusetts

The last of everything for the first of everything

There is a last of everything in anticipation for the first of everything. Next week, we will give our first public concert on mainland USA.

Robert announced on his Facebook last Thursday: last guitar lesson in 2010.

I gave my last private piano lesson Monday, my last university class Tuesday.

Tomorrow (Friday 15th October) we give our last concert in the Netherlands in 2010.

I had my last rehearsal with French horn this afternoon — the last one in 2010 to prepare for the first concert in 2011.

“Can we meet for a drink before you go?”

“Do you have time for coffee?”

“Can we invite you for dinner?”

“Do we get to say good-bye?”

There is a last of everything in anticipation for the first of everything.

Next week, we will give our first public concert on mainland USA: Thursday 21st October in St John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston at 8:30 pm. It will be the second concert in a church in the USA (the first was in Makawao Union Church in Maui in 2007).

St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston
St John's Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston

We will give our first house concert in New England – on Friday 22nd October in the home of a Suzuki piano teacher in Newton, Massachusetts.

We will meet the organisers of the first three concerts for the first time.