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Newcastle Art Gallery Society PO Box 1727 Newcastle NSW 2300
AM – eminent concert pianist and leading Beethoven scholar returns to the Art Gallery to play the Stuart & Sons studio grand piano.
Gerard Willems AM is one of Australia’s finest concert pianists and leading Beethoven scholars. The Newcastle Art Gallery Society is delighted to welcome back Gerard to play the Gallery’s Stuart & Sons Studio grand piano at a concert on 9 March 2019.
Gerard migrated to Australia from Holland with his family in 1958 and studied piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from 1965. After winning many prizes at national competitions including the Queen Victoria Piano Competition Prize, he pursued advanced keyboard studies with Greville Rothon, Claudio Arrau’s assistant in Munich.
He made his debut in London in 1974 and Amsterdam in 1978 before returning to live in Sydney in 1981. Subsequently, he has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, Israel and New Zealand. He has performed with all the major Australian orchestras and toured for the ABC and Musica Viva.
Gerard is the first Australian and Dutch pianist to record the complete Beethoven sonata cycle on CD. These recordings were awarded the Best Classical Album of the Year at the 1999 and 2000 ARIA awards. In 2003 he recorded all the Beethoven piano concertos with Sinfonia Australis under Antony Walker for ABC Classics. Other recordings include works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.
In 2013 the Beethoven-Willems Collection was launched, the culmination of fifteen years of research and performance. This collection includes fourteen CDs and one DVD of the Emperor Concerto, the latter winning the best classical DVD in New York. In 2015 his double CD edition of Grieg, Morning Mood, was launched with critical acclaim at the Sydney Opera House. In 2012 Gerard was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for his services to the arts as a concert pianist, educator and mentor to young musicians.
At the end of 2018, Gerard Willems retired as Associate Professor from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music after thirty-seven years of teaching. In 2019 he has again been invited to give concerts and masterclasses in Europe.