Sydney Chamber Music Festival 2010

Saturday 11th September 2010 - Tales to Tell

Pre Concert Talk starts at 5.30pm and Concert starts at 6.30pm

Sunday 12th September 2010 - Artlinks

Pre Concert Talk starts at 5.30pm and Concert starts at 6.30pm


A special message of thanks from Jane Rutter on our events page


Gerard Willems - Piano

Gerard Willems - PianoGerard Willems is one of Australia's finest concert
pianists and leading Beethoven scholars. He is the first Australian and Dutch pianist to record the complete Beethoven Sonata cycle and Beethoven Concertos on CD for the ABC. The recordings of the Sonatas have been awarded the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Award) in 1999 for Volume 1 and again in 2000 for the complete set as the Best Classical Album of the year. The Concerto recordings were performed by Sinfonia Australis conducted by Antony Walker.

As a child in Tilburg, Holland, he toured Europe as a chorister and was awarded a professional scholarship for piano from the Brabants Conservatorium. With his family, Gerard migrated to Australia in 1958 where he entered the Sydney Conservatorium and graduated with High Distinction, studying with Gordon Watson. After winning many prizes at national competitions including the Queen Victoria Piano Competition Prize, he pursued advanced keyboard studies with Greville Rothon, Claudio Arraus assistant in Munich.

He settled in Amsterdam for several years where he made his debut in London in 1974, in Munich in 1977 and in Amsterdam in 1978 and returned to live in Sydney in 1981. Subsequently he has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand and in December 2000 completed a tour of Israel with the Israel Camerata, playing Beethoven Concerto No.4, in Rehovot, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. In 1981 he joined the staff of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he served as Chair of the Keyboard Unit until 2008. He has performed with all the major orchestras, toured for the ABC nationally and for Musica Viva. He has appeared at the Sydney and Adelaide festivals, with ensembles such as the Australia Ensemble.

In 1982 he recorded Liszts Concerto in E flat with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of the anniversary of the Sydney Conservatorium. His concerto repertoire ranges from the classical works of Mozart and Beethoven through to 20th century works such as Bernsteins Age of Anxiety and Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue. He has worked with such conductors as Sir Bernard Heinze, Nicholas Braithwaite, Douglas Gamley, John Lanchbery, Avner Biron and Patrick Thomas.

He established his own piano trio, Mozartrois, with whom he has recorded the complete Piano Trios of Mozart for CD in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House in 1991 for the Tall Poppies label to commemorate the bicentennial of Mozarts death. He has recorded for Dutch, French, Israeli and Australian radio and has recorded for various labels such as BMG, WEA and Philips.

Gerard has also appeared in lieder recitals and chamber music concerts with singers such as Laures Elms, Ron Stevens, Jennifer McGregor, Beverly Bergen, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, violinists Karen Adam and Ronald Thomas and violist Esther van Stralen.

In 2001, as the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Music Scholar, awarded by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, he researched Early Music training throughout the USA and Europe. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for Services to Music.

In 2004, he appeared at the Adelaide Festival in recitals of Beethoven Sonatas and works by Andrew Ford and Mary Finsterer. Last year, his DVD of Beethovens Emperor Concerto won the World Music DVD prize in New York.