Java Gets Its Chance to Savor Dutch-Indonesian Piano Virtuoso

By webadmin on 01:10 pm Jun 17, 2012
Category Archive

Katrin Figge

He has played in the world’s most highly esteemed concert halls, accompanied by renowned orchestras: Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, and Carnegie Hall in New York.

Wibi Soerjadi, the 42-year-old Dutch-Indonesian pianist and composer, will come to Indonesia in late June and early July for a tour of Java on which he will perform in Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Solo.

It is a rare treat to witness the performance of a world-class pianist in Indonesia. Because of Wibi’s ancestry, it is that much more exciting.

Born to Indonesian parents in 1970 in Leiden, Wibi studied in Amsterdam at the Sweelinck Conservatory for four years before graduating with a special recognition for his exceptional skills at the piano.

After that he won several prizes, including the National Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians.

It was only the beginning of a stellar career. His recordings have been extremely successful, and in 2005, Wibi was invited to perform at a jubilee concert at Disneyland Resort Paris.

In 2006, he celebrated his 25th year as a pianist with a very special performance: as part of a Franz Liszt recital, Wibi played a recital in Amsterdam using a piano that once belonged to the 19th century Hungarian musician. The next year, he was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

But it hasn’t been all awards and knighthood for Wibi. At the peak of his career in 2009, he was struck by a strange illness.

Called idiopathic sudden sensor neural hearing loss, it forced him to stop performing, but only for a couple of months. Although he had to cancel an earlier Indonesian tour, he was able to stay creative during his recovery, writing a nine-part composition during his concert-hall hiatus.

The first time he performed again, in Amsterdam, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad described his concert as “magnificent” and “breathtaking.”

Harry Rolnick, a critic for online magazine Concerto Net, wrote of Wibi’s performance at Carnegie Hall in early 2011: “After a long absence, the Dutch pianist-composer Wibi Soerjadi gave a “recital” last night, though that word is a misnomer. More accurately, Mr. Soerjadi presented two hours of fervor and digital frenzy, dazzling and confounding, where his ten fingers multiplied like dragon’s teeth, where his piano spat out thousands of notes per second.”

Rolnick compared Wibi’s performance to an enchanting show of a magician and praised his ability to combine classical music with show business.

“Mr. Soerjadi is not tyrannized by his fingers, he relishes the sound, speed and virtuosity which puts every internal or introspective thought out of his mind,” he wrote. “It was fun to hear him, it was the most dazzling entertainment imaginable.”

In addition to playing the piano, Wibi is also an accomplished composer.

He wrote, among others, specially commissioned pieces for Karen Venhuizen, the Dutch figure skater, and Anky van Grunsven, the dressage rider, who reveled in the World Championships and Olympic Games in 2008 to the sounds of Wibi’s “Dance of Devotion.”

Wibi Soerjadi
Piano recital
Wednesday, June 20, from 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 5, from 7: 30 p.m.
Erasmus Huis,Jl. Rasuna Said Kav. S-3,Kuningan, South Jakarta
www.erasmushuis.org