A captivating night of piano

3 minutes read
Posted 9 April, 2024
Kopie van Daniel

Award-winning Belgium-based pianist and composer, Daniel Verstappen, is coming to Queenstown for a one-off performance. His Reconnection tour has crossed Europe, Australia, USA and other parts of Aotearoa, and in Queenstown he will also host a special piano masterclass.

Verstappen started to play music at around five years old and quickly fell in love with the piano. He gained his Masters in Music degree at the prestigious Belgian music academy Lemmensinstitute. He plays music that can be described as classical crossover – introducing modern techniques and sounds to his classical training. He has performed at the Night Of The Proms, with world-famous artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Ennio Morricone, Anastacia, Amy MacDonald, Wyclef Jean, Angie Stone, and Chaka Khan.

His tour comes off the back of his latest album release, Reconnection, which aims to connect generations with each other and build bridges between cultures. It was created during the pandemic and spreads a message of reconnecting again in this new world.

“For me, connecting my music with people is what makes me happy,” Verstappen says. “That’s my passion. I’ve played the piano since I was five years old, first to express my emotions – because the piano is my soulmate."

Verstappen, 33, wrote the album when he was 30 and describes it as a very important moment in his career and his life. He’ll be coming to New Zealand fresh off the back of performing at the Sydney Opera House.

“I’m very happy that I can now bring this to a place that’s a beautiful place that I never thought would happen – my focus was always on Sydney and Auckland. I felt there was some appreciation for my music and a lot of interest in New Zealand, I feel that the people there are so warm already, so I’m very excited to come over.”

He first scheduled a show at The Piano in Christchurch and wanted to make the most of his time here. After seeing some photos of Queenstown and learning more about it, he was delighted to be able to fit in a wee trip down here. He loves to create a bridge between himself and the local community, which is why he’s both holding a masterclass here and having one of the pianists from the class perform with him for the concert – they’ll be playing a piece that he wrote for his new album that requires four hands.

The piano masterclass will give those in attendance the opportunity to work directly with Verstappen. Queenstown is the only spot in New Zealand that he’ll be offering this opportunity. It will focus on technique, performance for concerts or exams, posture, rhythm and more.

“At the masterclass, everyone is free to bring what they want – so they can bring a piece they would like to work on. Of course, time is limited, so I will be focusing more on stage performance and technique. I can speak from experience because I’m classically trained and I’m a performer and composer – if you want to perform for an audience, technique is the most important part. It needs to be very controlled because if something happens during a performance, you can get lost but if your technique is good than you can figure it out in the moment.”

Verstappen goes on to explain that the next step is how you present yourself and the importance of the audience understanding the person behind the music. He’ll also focus on both mentally and physically preparing for performance.

The Queenstown show will be a more intimate affair with Verstappen playing acoustically. There will be guest appearances from two local rising music stars, Rachel Yoo and Elton Leatherbarrow.

Daniel Verstappen will perform his captivating show at Te Atamira on Wednesday, 17 April, at 7pm. His piano masterclass will take place at 1pm that same day. To pick up tickets or find out more information about the performance or class, head to teatamira.nz or danielverstappen.com


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