BIOGRAPHY
PARENTS
 

It is hard to become anything in life, when you do not have the direct support of both your parents. Fortunately I was blessed with two great parents who pushed me ahead in pursuit of my dreams and supported most (yeah..., not all) of my endeavors. While my father was the enforcer of my mother's rules, she made sure that I practiced daily. If it were not for them, this website would not exist. Therefore to both of them my everlasting love and gratitude.

 
THE BEGINNING

 

 

My piano studies did start when I was 8 years old. The first teacher was Annie Ruitenberg. She provided the solid underground. Her teaching method was all one needs, to have a great start in music. She graded each lesson and reported these evaluations to my parents. Of course, even although at that time I was far from enchanted with these communications, I owe Mrs. Ruitenberg many thanks too. (see pianist page for my formal training reference)

 

 

MY FIRST PERFORMANCE

 

 

Who does not remember his/her first performance? I was twelve years old and accompanied a flutist (Romke Bontekoe) during a school concert. This was the first time I had ever played a grand piano. I definitely fell in love. No..., not with Romke, but... with the grand piano!!!

 

 

HIGH SCHOOL
   

A challenge, to say the least. Strictly due to laziness. The teenage-era was definitely not my strongest. Many rock bands come and go. I played my 45's until they were dead, imitated every keyboard player on the planet. Towards the end of high school I accompanied a friend named Maurice Hartog. He was an excellent violinist, (his uncle was the chair of the viola section in the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra) but unfortunately did not win. Every other year was reserved for the piano competition, which I entered one year later. I had the good fortune to win the Edith Stein, also known as the Princess Christina Competition.

 

 

ROYAL DUTCH CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

 

 

Entering the Royal Dutch Conservatory of music in The Hague, I studied to prepare for my first concert with Orchestra. My first experience with orchestra was not for the faint of heart. Due to the fact that I thought to be on top of the world, I studied sporadically. End result was heavy! One can only imagine what it is to slip up so badly that the conductor has no other choice but to stop the orchestra. This, I can confirm, is no piece of cake. It pretty much devastated me as well as my confidence for quite some time. An experience that not many have, and probably not many want! I really can't blame them. 

 

 Rehearsal with Orchestra: Shostakovich - Piano Concerto No.2 in F Major

 
PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN
   

 

Like the title says, that is what I studied for. Yet that is not what the promise holds. To become a professional musician, one has to have not only talent, but many other assets. People skills, a sense of business, persistence, dedication, discipline and self confidence. Just to name a few. When I studied at the conservatory, these skills were far less emphasized than should have been. Now-a-days an expectation of being a part-time professional musician is far more realistic than in the old days. Music schools are only starting to realize that alternative measures need to be taken to prepare students for a life in music. My path went different than expected. During high school I accompanied a local Rhythmic Gymnastics Team. This of course to earn a little extra money. For many years afterwards this became my main means of income. I ended this career in 1984 when I finalized it being the official pianist for the American Olympic Gymnastics Team. Just another way in which a musician can play a major role. They never told me in conservatory!  

 

                      LUCK & GOOD FORTUNE!!

ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR
   

As most of us know life has it's ups and of course its downs. The 1984 Olympic games were the last games in which pianists participated. And even although we had won the gold medal, it was the end of the road for me. All that was left over was a plaque on the wall and some pictures in a photo album. On to the next. Peter Ueberroth, who organized the Los Angeles Olympic games, was also a board member for the Regency Club, a private club owned by Real Estate Mogul David Murdock. That is where I landed my next job as Entertainment Director. Another facet of being a professional musician: Networking. A requirement that has a tremendous amount of value. Definitely not my strongest side, but I managed the best I could. Yes... for almost twenty years. And now...............?

 

 

FREELANCE PIANIST
   

Well...., going many places, playing all over the country, traveling the world and meeting people. Accompanying vocalists, violinist, cellists, woods, brass, playing with orchestras, bands, trio's, classical and then some less classical, teaching, master classes here and there. No matter if it is a classroom, a small recital hall, a concert stage or a recording studio, it's all part of my new life as a freelance pianist. At least I'm living music and that is what I set out to do.

 

 

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