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Recap of Belgium Tour

Hello everyone! My tour in Belgium flew by so quickly, and I’m writing this on the plane back to New York. There were a total of six recitals, tirelessly organized and promoted by my good friend, Erik Vertriest, who must be even more exhausted than I am, after all the work he so generously did for me! So my thanks goes out to him most of all, but also to the other organizers – Servaas le Compte for my performance in Antwerp, Christina Peterges and the Flagey team, Chris Taerwe and Benedikte van Garsse of Quatre Mains, Steven van Garsse, who so kindly opened up his home for a concert on short notice, and Bernard Fierens Gevaert for giving me a beautiful experience playing to a sold-out hall in Waterloo.
 
I’ve really fallen in love with Ghent, where I stayed during the tour- it has a medieval quality with its towers, cathedrals, even a castle! – all surrounded by beautiful canals which run through the city. On my last day in Belgium, I didn’t have a concert and took a trip to see Bruges, which evoked similar feelings. Ghent and Bruges were two of the most important cities in Europe at one time, centers of art, culture, and trade around the 12th-15th centuries (think of artists like Jan van Eyck) and spending time in these cities is not really comparable to anything in America, where even the most historic settlements go back no further than the 17th and 18th centuries. Another great thing about Belgium is that all of these fascinating and diverse cities are so close to each other, within an hour’s drive or train ride.
 
My first concert, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, was at an intimate hall in Antwerp, which is the second largest city in Belgium (after Brussels) and has one of the most gorgeously-designed train stations I’ve ever seen.
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Antwerp train station

The next day was a whirlwind, with a lunchtime concert in Brussels at the beautiful concert hall, Flagey, and then an evening recital back in Ghent. Some wonderful friends from Switzerland made the trip all the way to Brussels to hear the concert – a real treat for me to see them and know that they had made such an effort to hear my concert! The evening recital in Ghent was at the Quatre Mains Klavier Center, and a lot of fun end the day with an intimate and small audience after playing for a bigger one at Flagey. Quatre Mains has its own cafe, where the audience and performer relax after a concert, and they like to name drinks after their performers.

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Menu at Quatre Mains Cafe

Not knowing when (if ever?) I would again come across “a heavy grog” bearing my own name, I had to shamelessly document the incident on this blog. Anyway, in the cafe after performing, I even had the chance to catch up with a Belgian friend who studied at Mannes before moving back home to Ghent. It was a relaxing end to a day which was challenging, but ultimately very rewarding! Friday was a day off with no performances, and the highlights were sleeping until 1 pm and taking a beautiful nighttime walk through Ghent, with Erik showing me all of the scenes of the city.

Gent at night

Gent at night

Saturday marked “part 2” of the tour, with the first of the 3 more recitals to go. I played a house concert in Brussels for an extremely warm audience of around 30 people (very full for a house concert!) including a woman who offered – imagine this – to make a purple suit jacket for me by hand! I expected to have great times in my six concerts, but couldn’t have anticipated De Tetzloffffffire or a purple suit (maybe you can all tell from looking at this website that purple is my favorite color?!). I predict you’ll all be seeing more of this suit in the future, at a recital or in photos on my site… After the house concert, Erik and I took a cab to a quiet village near Waterloo and spent the night with a friend of his. I needed to be at the Chapelle Musicale early, since my concert was at 11:30 am. What a pleasure it was to see every chair in the auditorium filled, thanks to the amazing efforts of Mr. Fierens. And I was so happy to see my friend, Ayrton Desimpelaere, in the audience – a young and brilliant conductor with whom I performed Mozart last year in Russia. It meant a lot that he took the time out of his hectic schedule as assistant conductor at the Royale Opera de Wallonie and principal conductor of the Namur Chamber Orchestra to come and hear me play.

Chapelle Musicale in Waterloo

Chapelle Musicale in Waterloo

Finally, there was the concert back in Ghent that evening, organized fully by Erik. It was a duo-recital with a wonderful young Belgian pianist, Marie François, and quite a marathon of music – she played a weighty program of Granados, Ravel, and Prokofiev, I followed her with my full-length recital, and finally we played a bit of “quatre mains” at the end. Thanks to Erik’s efforts, the Cultuurkapel Sint-Vincent was full of music lovers, including many people who had already heard another one of my concerts and were coming back for more. It was a joyful evening, captured in this great photo by Yoshie Kuwayama:

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Final concert photo with Marie and Erik

From then, the end of the trip came quickly – I stayed the last two nights at L’Ecume des Jours, a stunningly beautiful B & B in Ghent (a gift from Erik!) and there was some souvenir shopping in Ghent and then the day trip to Bruges. My week in Belgium sometimes feels like it ended before it started, but there was enough activity and music-making for many weeks, and countless memories to cherish until I go back to Belgium. Now I have a couple of days to rest at home in NYC, but will already hop down to Savannah, Georgia this weekend to perform for the Solinski Recital Series. Thankfully the program consists of music that I just played in Belgium! I’m always happy to be back in the U.S. and to tackle the next challenges ahead.
I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and start of the holiday season, and hope you will check back soon for more news!

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3 comments on “Recap of Belgium Tour”

  1. Carlo Schreiber Reply

    Erik Vertriest is a passionate “pianomaniac” ..
    We met when I organized a concert series in Antwerp “Podium Jonge Musici”, promoting young exceptional international musicians, at the beginning of their career.
    Erik was a faithful supporter and came especially from Ghent to discover these new talents
    We moved to South of France, and I fell sad not to be able to continue this project in Belgium.
    We kept in contact and Erik told me he wanted to commit himself to present phenomenal young pianists.
    A very courageous move !
    It is not enough to be able to discover phenomenal musicians, it takes a lot of energy to “make it happen” .
    Erik sent me YouTube’s of Reed Tetzloff.
    An excellent choice, because Reed is an amazing pianist, deserving full support.
    It was my duty to share my experience with Erik and give him a few “tips”.
    To organize a “tour of Belgium” and that all the concerts turned into success is very rewarding.
    Congratulations to Reed for having been able achieve this “Belgian marathon” and to Erik to initiate his monumental project.
    Bravo !
    Looking forward to hear Reed Tetzloff in France…

  2. Erik Vertriest Reply

    Thank you so much Reed for this “story”! You’re not only a great pianist, but also a talented writer! Just go on with it! 🙂
    The “Reed Tetzloff Tour” will always stay in my heart as one of the most magnificent weeks in my life, I just can’t express with words!
    Can’t wait to see each other back in NY & make new plans for the future! … And to meet your beloved family too! 🙂 Warm greetings, Erik

  3. Veerle Deknopper Reply

    Thank you so much Reed, for the music you brought us during your tour. You had me experiencing sounds that were really new to me. I really hope seeing you again next year. Please do keep us informed about your albums. We would like to make reviews about them on Klassiek Centraal (www.klassiek-centraal.be). Maybe next year we can do some sightseeing here together. Than I can make a full portrait of you as an artist.

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Reed Tetzloff has been praised as a “young American to watch” by The Cincinnati Enquirer, which lauded his “magical tone” and “richly communicative” playing.

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