Fortepiano for Refinement and Fun

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Fortepiano for refinement and fun


An invitation for fortepianists and composers

For the third year, Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis in Amsterdam organises a festival dedicated to fortepiano music. The general purpose of the festival is to promote in a broad sense, music played on the fortepiano, thus supporting the living arts and crafts connected to this historic instrument and to the related musical heritage, preserving it for future generations. Above all, playing the fortepiano is fun!

Stimulating today’s talents

We kindly invite fortepianists to join the festival’s concourse and concerts. In addition, we call for new compositions for fortepiano solo or combined with other instruments or voice; innovative and cross-over compositions are encouraged.


Fortepiano Concourse “Day of the Square Piano”

The competition consists of two stages: the first round on Friday 11th October and the second (final) round on Saturday 12th October. The competitors are requested to perform solo both on a historic grand piano from the period 1815-1835 and on earlier historic square pianos. The emphasis is on performing on square pianos. The winner’s prize is the invitation to perform on a historic fortepiano at the Young Pianists Festival in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, 14 – 22 November 2013. In addition all participants will be offered master classes fortepiano by Stanley Hoogland and Michael Tsalka on Monday 14th October. The competitors should not be over 35 years of age. Further competition details will be published on our website.


A Call for new Compositions for the Fortepiano

In our past two festivals, the international competition for new compositions for the square piano was very successful. Again this year, we call for new compositions for the fortepiano under the following conditions: the composition should be written for fortepiano solo or in combination with a maximum of two other instruments or voice. The duration of the piece should be between about 3 minutes and 10 minutes. It is important that the composer notes whether the piece should be performed on an early fortepiano (from before c. 1815) or a later (romantic) one (c. 1815 – c. 1860). Pieces for the square piano and/or early fortepianos are in principle preferred. There are two rounds: for the first round the audition committee selects on the bases of the scores only. The pieces selected for the final round will be performed on Sunday afternoon 13th October. There are no prizes, but the audition committee will give descriptive marks. The scores for compositions should be submitted not later than by the 15th September 2013; for new compositions received after the 1st September, we can not guarantee the possibility for performance. Laureates of this and previous years will be performed in future concerts and it is intended that ultimately a digital performance recording will be published. Our goal is to gather a range of innovative, cross-cultural and exciting compositions for the (square) fortepiano.


Why a Fortepiano Festival?

The festival’s aim is to attract public interest to the fortepiano in general and to the square piano in particular, as an instrument, which had a progressive, even emancipatory influence on music practice at all levels of society, from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.

The square piano now lives in oblivion. If instruments survived the hardships of time at all, they are usually in non-playable condition, standing around as decorative pieces of period furniture. Surviving instruments, which have found a place in museums or musical instruments collections, are often untouchable; kept behind vitrines or stored in depots. Such instruments suffer from negligence by not being played on.

With this initiative, Museum Geelvinck hopes to invoke re-appreciation with experts in the music world as with the general public a like, for the square piano, with its special, delicate sonority, as one of the key instruments in the development of piano music from the late Baroque to the early Romantic period. We strive to acquire the necessary funds for the restoration of instruments, which are valuable and can still give many hours of pleasure to future generations.

Museum Geelvinck is honored to announce its co-operation with The Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival in Kuopio, Finland, 14 – 23 August 2013,

For an impression of last years’ festival, see: 


Making the classic past part of the present

The musical heritage of historic fortepianos is not just living history: not only these instruments are important tools for the historically informed music performance, but in addition each of them has its own refined tone colouring and characteristic ‘timbre’ personality. Fortepianos are the product of a time, when revolutionary innovating and emancipating new ideas were conceived. Especially, the squares were the common chamber music instruments for joyful every day use par excellence. Also today, these pleasantly small and individualistic instruments are fun to play on. Following a tendency towards the ‘old music’ approach for classic and romantic music, as well as a growing public interest for a fusion of ‘different’ instruments, including historic instruments from various cultures, in contemporary compositions, revitalises the practise of fortepianos. The Sweelinck Collection covers the historic range from the early fortepiano up to the early modern piano; therefore, it forms an invaluable source providing the much-needed instruments for professional performances, as well as for educational uses.


Program Geelvink Fortepiano Festival 2013:



Conservatorium Amsterdam

Royal Conservatorium The Hague

Pegasus School for Early Music, Amsterdam

Finchcocks Museum for Musical Instruments (Kent, UK)

Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival (Kuopio, Finland)

Friends of Square Pianos

Young Pianists Foundation / YPF

Musica Antiqua Festival / MAF, Brugge

Festival for Early Music, Utrecht / Oude Muziek Festival Utrecht

John Broadwood and Sons Ltd, Est. 1728, Pianoforte Makers