Effective rehearsal, excellent performance

The one time I was proud of my playing as a member of the guitar orchestra and the combined sound we produced was also the one instance that I had forgotten to bring equipment to video or audio record ourselves. The three pieces we played in the concert of 27th April 2018 were much easier than the repertoire of the two previous concerts. I felt in control. I felt like a contributing member of the ensemble. We started and ended at the same time, no extra noises. My only regret was that I did not record it, and we won’t be giving this concert again.

From the reaction of the audience (loud and instant applause after each piece and the prolonged applause at the end; individual compliments after the concert), I gather we didn’t do badly at all. What makes an excellent performance? The first clue, we had an effective rehearsal only four nights earlier.

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Have ʻuke, will travel

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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Crowd funding Eureka! Orchestra

Crowd-funding is THE way to go for new orchestras and new concerts for four reasons. Donate to Eureka! Orchestra for their debut concert in Boston.

Could crowd-funding be THE way to ensure orchestra concerts happen?

Or more specifically, to get new orchestras started?

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New orchestra in Boston: music of Latin America

Unitas Ensemble crowd-funding campaign to raise money for their debut concert in Boston.

Is it possible to start a new orchestra when older, established orchestras are struggling, consolidating, or disappearing?

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Guitar Concerto Aranjuez

Robert Bekkers plays Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez in his second DMA concert at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Those of you who contributed to Robert Bekkers’ crowd-funding campaign to raise cash for his second doctoral music of arts concert in Boston probably wondered how it went.

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Crowd funding: get the music to my orchestra

The title “get the music to my orchestra” begs for attention. The orchestra produces music how does one get the music to the orchestra? Read about crowd funding that’s needed to get the scores to the orchestra.

An orchestra produces music. Why would you need to get music to the orchestra?

The title of Robert Bekkers’ crowd funding project begs attention. He needs to raise enough funds to rent the sheet music of the blind composer Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” or the “Aranjuez Guitar Concerto” so that the musicians can read from the score and perform it for his Doctorate of Musical Arts recital at the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston on Sunday May 11th, 2014.

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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.

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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

Sweet Pain

Robert Bekkers in a recording of “Sweet Pain” sung by Harry.

Googling oneself always yields surprises. There’s a young pianist named “Annie Ku” who won a piano competition. There’s a violinist named “Anne Ku.”

And then there’s “Robert Bekkers” whose youtube clips show our duo and trios. But here’s one that I’ve not seen before.

Harry is the singer. Gaston, the recording engineer in Belgium. And Robert Bekkers, the guitarist.

Boston: the mecca of brain candy and classical music

The brain candy of classical music is available in abundance in Boston, the highest concentration of institutions of advanced education.

I wrote on my Facebook that I was visiting Boston for classical music and brain candy. I timed my arrival so I could attend Robert’s solo guitar concert at the New England Conservatory. Little did I realize that Boston had the highest concentration of colleges and universities — and with that, brain candy.

My graduate school classmate Kathryn, who specialized in corporate governance after running several restaurants, coined the term “brain candy.” Our brains need topics to chew on. It’s more fun to share candies than chew alone.

Before Robert’s solo guitar recital began, I recognized someone from a distance. It was the composer Tom Peterson whose piano sonata I had played, recorded, and blogged about. I had last seen him in Phoenix in early November 2010. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona. What was he doing in Boston?

Before Phoenix, Robert and I had invited him to dinner in London where he was finishing his masters degree at the Royal College of Music. Before London, we had met, for the first time, in Cortona, Italy, in July 2007.

As it turned out Tom was in Boston to see the Celtics game that same evening. He had seen the announcement of Robert’s guitar concert on Facebook. He decided to surprise us. Actually he was in this part of the world for another reason — the premiere of a commissioned piano solo piece for the Fisher Prize in New Haven, Connecticut.

Tom, his tuba-player friend, Robert, and I convened at Uno Grill and Bar Restaurant after the recital. We chewed on music for brain candy. When we parted our ways, Robert and I went to yet another concert that day — a string quartet in Jordan Hall.

I don’t think I have had such an in-depth discussion of classical music, composition, and performance since last summer in Utrecht, Netherlands, where we made brain candy out of music.

I have forgotten what it’s like to travel via mass public transit and eavesdrop. In the Netherlands, I could not, but here in Boston I could. On the “T” which is also the oldest metro system in America, I overhear conversations among students, teachers, business people, and tourists. Sometimes I get the urge to join them. Maybe that’s how I’d get more brain candy!