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Newsletter 2: September - December 2002

The new concert season started for me on September 1 in Eelde in the north of Holland, where I performed my Tango program in Museum ‘de Buitenplaats’ among the beautiful paintings of Theo Kurpershoek. It was a good overture for the CD recording which I were going to make later that month in the ‘Kloveniersdoelen’, a beautiful old hall in Middelburg in the province of Zeeland, in the southwest of Holland. As this had to be a low-budget production we had to do the recording in a single day when in the ideal case I prefer to have three or four days. With Milonga del Angel by Astor Piazzolla the recording was ready at 1 a.m. Walter Calbo (sound engineer) en Roeland Gerritsen (musical director) were indefatigable and stimulating. You can hear a sound fragment of this new CD at my website and you can purchase the CD in many record shops or order it at this site by sending an email.
On September 12 I had again an opportunity to play Musica Callada by the Catalan composer Federico Mompou. The church bells next to the town hall in the town of Weesp mixed perfectly with the metallic sound of bells which play such an important role in this piece.
Two weeks later I left for Esbjerg (Danmark) to play at the Vestkyst (Westcoast) Jazz Festival. The Muykhuset (concert hall) is an adventurous, new building. I played my Blues program with a first performance of a piece by the Danish composer Lars Graugaard, in which he leaves a lot of space for the performer to improvise.
Also at the Festival Nuovi Spazi Musicali in Rome I played my Blues program. The Italian composer Stefano Gianotti was there to hear the first performance of his composition Blue. With his colleague Luca Macchi, who was also represented with a piece, I travelled the next morning by train to Milan and from there to the provincial town of Varese, where I performed at the Liceo Musicale. With a journalist we discussed the question if music could contribute to a better understanding between cultures. The next morning the headline of the interview in the Prealpina was: ‘I’d like to play a Blues for Bush and Bin Laden’. So I had another experience how an editor can dream up a flavouring headline......
During the Amsterdam Museum night (most of the museums in the dutch capital remain open all night long once a year) I did 3 short performances with ‘jazzy’ music from the twenties of the 19th century, which alternated with player piano rolls from the same period. For the first time I experimented with the idea of letting the audience choose their favourite works from a repertory offered to them.
Dutch singer Sofie van Lier had invited me to participate in a concert in the Amsterdam Icebreaker (IJsbreker) in the framework of her Gnessinproject, with which she wants to present the music of this relatively unknown Russian-Jewish composer to a broader audience. With the Israëlian pianist Anat Fort (classically educated but a talented jazz pianist as well) I played a four hand piece by Gnessin and with the Russian violinist Grigory Sedukh and his countryman Aleksander Oratovsky (cello) a beautiful, late-romantic Trio.
The next day I left for Poland (staying more or less in the same atmosphere...) to play at the Audioart Festival in Cracow. The concert took place at the Music Academy in Cracow and the audience consisted visibly of students of the Academy only. It’s always a pity, I think, when contemporary music is limited to a single group of listeners only. I had chosen Cracow for the first performance of a new Blues by the English composer Joe Cutler while he has studied in Cracow for some years. In his Buckley’s Hot Licks the pianist should not only play the piano but also recite a rather absurd story, if possible with different english accents. The morning after the concert I visited the old jewish ghetto of Cracow. It’s still a strange idea for me, that 40 miles from here, the major part of my family on the mother’s side was murdered here by the nazi’s and that I am here, almost 60 years later, to perform at a Festival.
On November 30 my new CD Tango’s for Piano from Latin America and Europe was presented in the Icebreaker by Willem Breuker, dutch jazz musician and director of the BVHAAST label, where the CD has been released. Willem Breuker raffled off the first copy among the audience. I played a number of tango’s from the CD, one of those with Willem Breuker on the sopranosax and as a singer, quite a hilarious experience. On the walls hung paintings and litho’s of dutch painter Anton Martineau, one of which had been used for the cover of the CD. Martineau read some of his poems, inspired by the tango and the couple Marieke and Mariano (‘Tango la Vida’) danced some tango’s in a passionate and refined manner. All credits to the Icebreaker and its staff which was very cooperative!
On December 6 I could play my Tango program once more in the city of Middelburg where the CD had been recorded as well. The concert took place in an art gallery, the Osseberg. I always love to play in intimate venues like this one, where the organization is in the hands of people who are only motivated by sheer enthusiasm.
The rest of the year I will concentrate on preparing events for 2003. There is the project with flutist Eleonore Pameijer, the ‘6 Continents Project’, for which we asked composers from six continents - Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia - to compose a work for flute and piano including elements that the composer considers essential to his or her culture in the broadest sense. With the french soprano Valerie Guillorit I’ll do a series of concerts in the Kunsthal (‘Arthall’) Rotterdam in the framework of an exhibition of french impressionistic painting. Furthermore soloprograms have to be prepared for concerts in Germany, the USA, Barcelona, China, Albania, Indonesia... For the dates you can consult the schedule on this website.

December 2002