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My new musical year started musically on January 11 with a concert in Amsterdam, in the jewish home for the elderly ‘Beth Shalom’. Eleonore and I play our program with music by persecuted and often nearly forgotten jewish composers with works by a.o. Leo Smit, Rosy Wertheim and Dick Kattenburg. It’s quite special to perform this music here for an audience that experienced the second World War personally. Even more special is the fact that my mother (91) is one of the residents of this place and so she is able to be present again at one my concerts.

On January 16 I play one more time at the Amsterdam Uilenburger Synagogue at a concert with Jacobien Roozemond and Joris van Rijn (viool), Michael Stirling (violincello) and Eleonore. On the program there are works by Daniël Belinfante (quartet for flute, violin, cello and piano), Darius Milhaud (Sonata for 2 violins and piano), Chiel Meijering (Ballroomdances for flute and piano, worldpremier) and the dutch premier of the work for flute and piano by Indian composer Ganesh Kumar, that we premiered last year in Chennai. The Dutch national radio broadcasting company records the concert and the recording of Ganesh’piece works out so well that we can use it later for the CD we release of the 6 Continents Project.

On January 22 Eleonore and I play in the dutch city of Haarlem in the Lutheran Church. It’s a concert in a series of chamber music concerts organized by the well-known pianocompany ‘Koot’. At the program: works by C.P.E.Bach, Schumann, Fauré and Poulenc and a selection of works from our 6 Continents Project. Allthough I like to play contemporary music very much, playing classical works in a beautiful, old church is really very satisfying. And the combination of classical and new music is actually quite effective.

On February 14 I play at the Lantaarn/Venster theatre in Rotterdam. It’s an ‘In Memoriam program’ with a.o. the premier of 'Blues for Paul' (in memoriam dutch composer Paul Termos) by Hans Koolmees, with its duration of 40 minutes the longest piece I’ve ever performed. The motorical, compact way of composing of Paul Termos is being expressed by Hans Koolmees in a piece in which the pianist must read, while playing, a poem by Cornelis Vaandrager about a Olivette typewriter. Mastering the piece cost me a lot of time, Hans supported me very generously. I hope more performances of this exciting piece may come up.
Furthermore I play works, in this exclusively dutch program, by Johanna Bordewijk Roepman ('Sonata 1943'), Kees van Baaren (Sonatina, in memoriam Willem Pijper), Hans van Sweeden (3 Nightpieces), Dante Oei ( Blues in memoriam Hans van Sweeden), Paul Termos (Blues for Marcel W.), Rudi van Dijk (A touch of the blues) and Guus Janssen (Blauwbrug, in memoriam Gerard Kraanendonk). The ‘Concertzender’, a nationwide broadcasting company, records the concert. The encore must be ‘My Funny Valentine’ today (In memoriam Miles Davis).

In Art Gallery ‘de Ossenberg’, close to the old city of Middelburg, I play again in February, this time with Eleonore with our program with music by dutch, jewish composers from the interbellum (a.o. Smit, Wertheim, Kattenburg and Richter). We also seize the opportunity to present our new CD 'Treasures 1937-1944' (see ‘discography’).
The next morning we play and are being interviewed for ‘Vrije Geluiden', a music program on dutch national television. Hans Flupsen talks with us about the two new CD’s of Eleonore and me, the ‘Treasures’ CD and the CD of our 6 Continents Project that will be released soon. We play some pieces from both CD’s. It’s amazing once more how big the impact of appearing on television is: after a radio performance I seldom get any response, in the days after the TV show many people tell me they watched us recently.

In the Uilenburger Synagogue I play on February 20 with violinst Ursula Schoch and singer Irene Maessen. In addition to jazzinspired works for violin and piano by Aaron Copland, Wilhelm Grosz and Erwin Schulhoff, we perform songs by Martha Belinfante, Reina Colaço Osorio-Swaab, Henriëtte Bosmans and John Borstlap as well as the Sonata for Piano 1943 by Johanna Bordewijk-Roepman. With Ursula I play here in public for the first time and we are so pleased with the result that we decide to continue working as a violin-piano duo.

The first trip abroad in this year takes places in march and the travelling goal is Bosnia. I leave one day before Eleonore to play at the Pavarotticenter in Mostar where I play a program 'Spring and Hope' for schoolchildren aged 7-15. The concert has been aranged by Warchild and their Bosnian partner Educon. Some 70 kids are listening in a chilly hall, their coats still on, while they make drawings of Mostar in springtime. The famous bridge, which was destroyed by the Serbs during the war in 1994 and which has been rebuilt in the meantime, can be seen in many of the drawings. However it will still be a long road toward a better relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the city.
In Sarajevo Eleonore and I play a concert in the Bosnjacki Institute in the framework of the Sarajevo Winterfestival. We play our 6 Continents Program with a.o. a work by the Bosnian composer Milan Prebanda. We repeat this in Banja Luka, the capital of the Republika Srbska (the Serbian part of Bosnia) at the Cultural Centre 'Banski Dvor'. Former Yugoslavian leader Milosevic has died some days ago and at the main square candles are burning in front of portraits of the deceased ex-president. It’s amazing to see that so many people still adore this ‘slaughterer of the Balcan’.
Later that month we travel to Prague, where we play our ‘jewish program’ in the Spanish Synagogue in the heart of the old jewish quarter. Once more we play on a special, historical location and this evokes the idea to try to perfrom this music also in other countries with a rich jewish history.
Upon our return we establish contacts with the jewish communities in Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Pilsen, Warsaw, Athens, Kiev and in the three baltic capitals Tallin, Riga and Vilnius. In 2007 we hope to present our program in a number of these cities. Also the jewish communities in Curacao, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile have shown interest in a concert.

By the end of march our third Eastern-European trip takes place. In Skopje (Macedonia) Eleonore gives a masterclass for flute students at the Music Conservatory while I’m doing a lecture recital on my Bluesproject. We also perform at the Festival ‘Days of Macedonian Music’ in a very old Turkish bathhouse, which nowadays is hosting the Municipal Museum of Art. We have lots of contacts with Macedonian composers, especially with Jana Andreevska and Gose Kolarovski. Our friends Rafet Rudi and Valton Bequiri have come over from Prishtina (Kosovo) to attend our concert.
For dutchspeaking readers it may be interesting to know that an extensive article on these three trips will be published in the fall of 2006 in the dutch musical magazine ‘Mens en Melodie’.

On April 8 we present our new CD of the 6 Continents Project at the ‘ Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ’ in Amsterdam: ‘Spanning the Globe’ could be produced thanks to the financial support from UNESCO (on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of this organization) and the dutch Ministery of Foreign Affairs. The first copy is given to Mr.Jan Hoekema, Head of the Department of International Cultural Policy of this Ministery. After the presentation concert the audience can visit an exhibiton of children drawings from Kosovo, Indonesia, Bolivia, Sri Lanka and India. The drawings are from the collection of creative therapist Cara Boerwinkel, my wife, who is collecting childrens drawings from all over the world. These drawings are from those countries where also the pieces on the CD are from.

On April 11 we play at the Amsterdams Historical Museum at the opening of the exhibition 'Anne Frank, a life in letters'. We perform works by Leo Smit and Dick Kattenburg for an audience with a.o. Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen and our crown princess Maxima, to whom I also can offer our CD ‘Treasures 1937-1944’.

At one of the Music Schools in Amsterdam Eleonore and I play, like we did last year, a concert with ‘Forbidden Music’ (Leo Smit, Dick Kattenburg a.o.) for children of the Nicolaas Maesschool on the occasion of the yearly commemoration of the women who died in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück on April 23. The monument for Ravensbrück is located at the Museumsquare, where the commermoration will take place. The monument has been adopted my sons school and it’s special for me, that he is in the audience this time.

On april 21 Eleonore and I leave for the USA for the third consecutive year. We fly to Newark and from there we drive with a rental car to the various concertlocations like the National Yiddish Book Centre in Amherst (MA), where we play in the framework of the 'Go Dutch!' Festival. In Springfield (MA) we play at the Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center on Jom HaSjoah, the yearly commemoration of the Holocaust.
At Princeton University we present our 6 Continents Project with a.o. the first performance of 'Some Melodious Sonnet' by Joseph Landers (USA). We repeat the same program in Montevallo (Alabama) at Montevallo University where Joseph teaches composition. We enjoy the relaxed and warm atmosphere of the South. On our morning off after the concert we pick strawberries under the burning sun.
On the day of departure I still play an informal concert at the house of baritone Robert Osborne in his appartement in New York. We came in touch by way of the Internet and it turned out that we shared some musical interests especially jazz and French song. We intend to collaborate more often in the future.

On May 4 - back in the Netherlands - we play in the Synagogue in Zwolle after the traditional two minutes of silence on that day to commemorate the victims of World War II. The audience can listen for free to works by a.o. Leo Smit, Daniël Belinfante and Dick Kattenburg.

On June 10 I’m doing two short concerts in the Hague at the Dutch Music Institute. This Institute has open house on this date with ‘Mozart and the Dance’ as the leading theme. My program ‘The dance in dutch music’ is connected with this theme with works by Belle van Zuijlen, Dirk Schäfer, Leo Smit, Rudolf Escher, Herman Strategier and Dolf de Kinkelder.

On July 10, 11 and 12 I’m in Barcelona with my wife. I’m playing there Mompou’s ‘Musica Callada’ for pianist Alicia de Larrocha, aged 83 now, not actively performing any longer but still the grand, old lady of Spanish pianomusic.
She knew Mompou very well and the 4th book of ‘Musica Callada’, Mompou’s major work for piano, is dedicated to her. We also visit Mompou’s widow, pianist Carmen Bravo. In this manner I’m really prepared to record ‘Musica Callada’, one week later in Amsterdam. An article about my visits to Alicia de Larrocha and Carmen Bravo will be published later this year in the musical magazine ‘Mens en Melody’ (unfortunately only accesible to Dutch speaking readers...)