Your first ukulele: borrow, rent, or buy?

The first question anybody asks to join the ukulele community is how to get hold of a ukulele. They come in all sizes and shapes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. For adults, I’d recommend a concert size. For children, I’d say soprano size.

Continue reading “Your first ukulele: borrow, rent, or buy?”

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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.