November 21, 2019

East Indies – West Indies on two pianos at The Concertgebouw

Henk Mak van Dijk and Gustavo Corrales Romero © KDRdeCorrales

Latin American classical music and Indonesian gamelan sounds presented together on one stage

The HagueAfter a successful start of his three part concert series Around the World on Two Pianos with ‘Latinissimo’ on 12 October, Latin America specialist Gustavo Corrales Romero is preparing for the next notable concert organized by his production company KyG Productions on 17 November at The Concertgebouw. The other grand piano will this time be played by none other than Indonesia music specialist Henk Mak van Dijk.

Cuban pianist-composer Gustavo Corrales Romero has had a 17 year spanning classical education culminating at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, Cuba. Together with his wife and business partner he has been promoting ‘the other sound of Latin America’ for years. He offers several concert formulas for which he can draw on a 200-year-old range of Latin American classical, modern classical and contemporary compositions, including his own.

Henk Mak van Dijk studied piano at Codarts Rotterdam and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. After his studies he ended up in Indonesia, where he taught piano at Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta and gave concerts on Java, Bali and Sulawesi. After his return he worked at the conservatories of Rotterdam and The Hague and performed for Dutch radio and television.

His interest for classical music from Indonesia led to research in co-operation with the Dutch Music Institute (Nederlands Muziek Instituut, NMI), resulting in his pioneering book De oostenwind waait naar het westen; Indische componisten en Indische composities, 1898-1945 (The Eastern Wind blows to the West; Indische composers, Indische compositions 1898-1945). Besides other publications since, another remarkable book was launched in May 2019: Tropenjazz, Jazz in Indië, 1919-1950 (Jazz in the Dutch East Indies 1919-1950).

In 2018 Mak van Dijk approached Corrales to do a first performance on two pianos in The Netherlands of a forgotten jazz concert by Indonesian composer Ludwig van Zele. Its manuscript was found by Mak van Dijk on an attic in The Hague with the collaboration of Zele’s cousin Mark Boon. This unique work was written in 1932 and has two versions: one for piano solo with small jazz orchestra… and one for two pianos.

Mak van Dijk had played this piano concerto with the Galloway Big Band from Amsterdam, conducted by T.S. Galloway, at the Tong Tong Fair two years before. This jazz concert certainly deserves more attention from a wider audience with its many virtuoso passages, big chords and a swing bass in the first part; a slow part in a sultry bluesy atmosphere in the style of a Hollywood movie song; ending in a spicy ragtime. The concert seems to be written in the style of music of the American composer George Gershwin. In the newspaper Den Haag Centraal the piece was referred to as ‘an Indische Rhapsody in Blue’.

This cornerstone of the program is complemented by a balanced selection by Corrales and Mak van Dijk of the music they serve from two different parts of the world: on the one hand the magic of the gamelan in Java and Bali, with – among others – three beautiful transcriptions by Canadian composer Colin McPhee of ceremonial Balinese music. On the other Cuban romance, Corrales’ ode to his hometown Guantánamo, steaming Manteca bebop, two waltzes from respectively Curaçao and Aruba and a premiere by Corrales’ wife: Enigma from her Suite Latina.

East Indies – West Indies can be heard on Sunday 17 November 2019, from 14:15 to 16:15 at The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Ticket sales are handled by The Concertgebouw: at the box office, by telephone 020 671 8345 and online. Search The Concertgebouw website by Corrales or visit this link for a series discount www.concertgebouw.nl/around-the-world-on-two-pianos  

For more information: www.kygproductions.com

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