With my father being a professional pianist and mother a fanatic amateur opera singer, my interest in music was sparked from a young age. On weekend mornings, there would be the sounds of Bach, on summer evenings, Frank Zappa, or The Brecker Brothers, and in winter times, we would listen to Bill Evans – Live In Montreux III, and on road trips, Paquito D’Rivera. The list could go on and on. One very vivid memory that sticks with me is my brother and I dancing in ecstasy on the carpet in our living room. My brother was incredibly tiny and could just barely walk, and I was just a little 6-year-old boy as well. The music blasted through our speakers, and I could feel it vibrating in my chest. The sound felt very powerful, almost to an intimidating degree. In short, I received many musical influences from a young age. This helped me to shape my musical strivings in later life. Up until today, I still feel connected to a very broad spectrum of musical styles, ranging from pop, country, rock, to jazz, Latin, and classical music.
At the age of 9, I started taking piano lessons, and one of the things that thrilled me the most was making up my own songs. Later on, I developed a passion for the beauty of complex harmonies, and that eventually took me into the genre of jazz. In my later high school years I choose music as an extra subject, and because of this, I was stimulated to play with other people, which gave me a totally new and exciting experience. From that moment, I started playing in bands and doing performances. I discovered I liked being on the stage. The last exam for the music subject was to do a big performance, which was organized to be in the concert hall of the conservatory in town. This was the first time being in a conservatory for me. Very directly I felt at home and was inspired to become a student there and study music seriously.
In 2016, I was accepted to study Jazz Piano at the Prins Claus Conservatory of Groningen, my hometown. There I had the opportunity to study with master pianists such as Lex Jasper, Rob Van Bavel, Jasper Soffers, Wolfert Brederode, Mike Del Ferro, and many others. Besides that, it was part of my study program to have a guest teacher from New York every week. Therefore, I had many lessons and masterclasses with well-known jazz artists from the New York Scene: Conrad Herwig, Don Braden, Matt Wilson, Billy Hart, David Berkman, David Binny, Michael Mossman, to name only a few.
Eventually, in 2023, I finished my studies at the conservatory. My biggest efforts there had been focused on traditional jazz music, composing, and arranging. During that time, I have had many opportunities to perform as a sideman and with my own bands. The performances I have done have been all around the Netherlands, ranging from big stages to small cozy bars. Mostly, I performed with jazz combos.
I’m continuing on this journey. I haven’t lost my fascination for harmony, and I will always be seeking new ways to use it to express myself and tell a story. I still love to surprise the audience, and I am dedicated to keeping them on the edge of their seat.
Here are some of my favourite quotes:
”Creativity Takes Courage”- Henri Matisse
”Life without endeavor is like entering a jewel mine and coming out with empty hands”- Japanese Proverb
”Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”- Pablo Picasso
”Never be a comfortable man”- Miles Davis