Twelve-year-old Bas Schipper from Veendam, Groningen did a one-day tour of Dutch train stations on December 22, playing all 16 train station pianos in the country. Bas started playing Maastricht and finished in Groningen, in a South to North kind of way.
His goal was to collect about 5,000 euro for diabetes, but as I write this, he’s collected 54,382 euro and counting. He decided to do this for his sister and others who have diabetes.
Feel free to click the link below to donate or find out more.
A Bechstein grand piano has been hoisted from the 16th floor of a flat building in Delft, using the highest crane available in Europe. The crane had to bridge a distance of 57 metres and a height of 54 metres.
The company doing the moving claimed that this was not something they do every day. They considered using a helicopter, but that was too complicated with the permits and all. How did the grand piano get up there in the first place? Maybe the lift was bigger a long time ago, the company speculated.
And since it’s good Dutch form to state the price of things, the move cost about 6,000 euro, with 5,000 paying for the crane rental.
The piano is being moved, as the person who owned it is deceased and the family has left it to the Dutch Musical Instrument Foundation in Amsterdam. It is a special piano the museum is very happy to have.
A few days ago, a picture of the piano at Amsterdam Central Station was doing the rounds on Instagram, as it was overturned. A friend of mine reposted an article about the unfortunate piano on Facebook, saying “My mood today”.
The man who did it will have to go to court, but having sat down after his ‘crime’, he waited for the police and didn’t seem to care. A new piano was put in its place rather quickly after the incident. The piano has had faeces, acid and other things poured onto it, so yeah, fresh piano it is.
The first reason people hate train station pianos is that listening to a piano is meant to attract attention and evoke emotions, which is for many people the complete opposite of what a train station is supposed to do, which is get people from A to B as easy as possible. In other words, the piano detracts from the goal of getting to their train without being distracted.
The second reason is the fake feeling of ‘life is hard, but doesn’t this small bit of happiness bring us all a little bit closer’, apparently a feeling that is just as irritating as giving out free hugs or anything else that forces people to feel woolly. It’s one thing to encourage togetherness, but it is another when it is done as part of Dutch Rail’s marketing strategy when all they do is up the prices of tickets every year and offer the exact same service year in year out.
Reason number three is that piano playing gives narcissists a stage. Nobody wants to wait around for some amateur noodling of whatever the favourite film ditty of the year is. Playing for people is something that shows empathy, but in fact is a totally narcissistic gesture, according to the people interviewed. At lease a street musician does it for money.
I happen to like public space pianos, but that’s usually because I don’t use the train to commute and have time to find my train and I tend to hear decent piano players, not parents letting their children muck about because they have to.
Dutch amateur musician Joep Beving, 41, has become a one-man recording phenomenon with his self-released recordings on Spotfiy being streamed more than 85 million times and counting. True, he became big earlier this year, but then once in a while you need some nice piano music.
Beving told British newspaper The Guardian that he never imagined that the contemplative, atmospheric piano tunes would draw such a vast audience worldwide. But after scoring with his album ‘Solipsism’ online, four record companies were soon fighting over him, a fight won by the prestigious classical music label Deutsche Grammophon.
Beving’s success is more extraordinary because he had been turned down by the only record label he approached, and had to pay to press 1,500 vinyl copies of Solipsism. “I wanted to make something tangible,” he said. By day he used to work as an advertising manager for a company that provides music for commercials. He worked on his debut album in his kitchen at night, while his girlfriend and two young daughters were asleep.
The director of new repertoire at DG, Christian Badzura, heard Beving’s music by chance when the vinyl copy of Solipsism was playing in a late-night bar in Berlin at 2 am a while back. One of Beving’s German advertising colleagues had left it with the barman. It impressed Badzura so much that he had to sign him up. As for Beving, he said he wasn’t counting on this and is truly grateful for technological developments opening up the music market and making it more democratic.
Hailing originally from Doetinchem, Gelderland and now living in Amsterdam, Beving composes music that is a search for tranquility and beauty, as highlighted by the video accompanying the music. I personally enjoy the music and can hear many influences of great composers as well as someone who is very concentrated at the piano with much ease.
Composer and pianist Jeroen van Veen of Culemborg, Gelderland built a life-size working piano using almost 30,000 pieces of Lego. As a huge Lego fan and composer, he wrote the ‘Minimal Prelude 18’ with the nickname ‘Lego music’, which features minimalistic sounds with many repetitions.
Building the instrument started as a bit of fun, something Van Veen did with his two adult sons. The piano is easy to put together and take apart, although they are careful when transporting it. Not only is it mechanically functional, but it is also a hybrid piano, with digital and analogue elements, possibly a world first.
People in the United States and in other countries want to have the piano over their way, so the Lego piano will probably be going on tour. The ‘brand name’ is Van Veen & Sons, a nod not only to how it was built, but also to the grand piano brand Steinway & Sons.
Germany-based pianist Davide Martello who famously played John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ outdoors in Paris recently to comfort listeners travelled to Amsterdam and played next to the National Monument and the Nieuwmarkt downtown this week.
Known as Klavierkunst, Martello wants to travel to play the piano in all the capitals of the world, sometimes suggested by fans. He can now cross Amsterdam off his list. I really like the idea of a bicycle able to cart a piano around the city and calling him the ‘peace pianist’. He also played on Dutch television, which you can watch here.
Other pianists took to the free piano in Amsterdam Central Station before and after the one minute of silence held throughout the country on 16 November, playing ‘Imagine’.
Why ‘Imagine’? The slogan ‘Pray for Paris’, which was surely well meant, bothered many French people and others, such as French cartoonist Joann Sfar (some stuff is in English) – I’ll let his points speak for him. Considering the attacks were religiously motivated, ‘Imagine’ has lyrics that suggest we imagine there’s no heaven or religion, which would imply that if religion wasn’t around we would be better off, something French secular society strongly believes in.
There was once an episode of late 1970s American television show ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ where a reverend comes to the rock radio station and tries to have a bunch of songs censored, specifically ‘Imagine’:
The reverend: This is typical of the kind of secular liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves. Station manager: Yeah. But we’re not talking obscenities here anymore, we’re talking about ideas, political, the philosophical ideas. First you censor a word and then you censor the ideas. The reverend: But the idea is man-centered, not God-centered. The Bible tells us to put our reliance in God, not in our fellow mortals. This song says there’s no heaven. Station manager: Ah, no, it says just imagine there’s no heaven.
After the Pentecost holiday on May 24 and 25, Rhea Elise Khoeblal expects her plan to have the city of Nijmegen place 12 pianos around town to be approved and carried out. The city is still dealing with the permits, and the pianos will stay put for three weeks.
Last year the city had five pianos around town and it was such a success that this year they want to have more pianos at locations such as the Radboud University, the Van Schaeck Mathonsingel, in Brakkenstein parc, the Dukenburg shopping mall and at the Honig food company.
Amsterdam Central Station, Utrecht Central Station and a few other train stations have pianos, which attracts all kinds of happy onlookers. In 2011 Tilburg let pianos take over the streets much to the delight of local residents and visitors.