Recital: Gerard Willems and music of the Garden Palace

13 September 2016, 7pm – 8.30pm (Doors at 6.30pm) Powerhouse Museum

Join us for a recital by acclaimed pianist Gerard Willems. Hear music of the time of the Garden Palace played on an instrument of the time – the celebrated Bechstein Concert Grand – that won first prize at the Sydney International Exhibition (1879-1880) before surviving the catastrophic and mysterious fire of 1882.

This is an extraordinary chance to hear this incredible instrument from the Museum’s collection played by one of Australia’s finest concert pianists.


Sonata in C major Op53 “Waldstein”


The lonely Wanderer
Morning Mood (Peer Gynt)
Wedding day at Troldhaugen

Girl with the flaxen Hair
Clair de Lune

Scherzo in B minor Op20


The magnificent Bechstein Concert Grand Piano was made in Berlin in 1878. It was sent to Sydney to be exhibited in the Sydney International Exhibition where it won first prize in the musical instruments category, and has remained in Australia ever since.

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) was founded in 1880 and its original collections were specifically drawn from the International Exhibition. The Sydney International Exhibition building and some of the exhibits that were retained for the early Museum were destroyed by fire in 1882, but the Bechstein Concert Grand Piano was amongst the few objects that survived.


Gerard Willems AM 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 on CD.  Gerard is an ARIA award winner and in 2012 he was awarded an AM award for his services to the arts as a concert pianist, educator and mentor to young musicians.

Gerard has appeared with singers such as Luciano Pavarotti, Laures Elms, Ron Stevens, Jennifer McGregor, Beverly Bergen, the cellists Julian Lloyd Webber and John Kennedy, violinists Karen Adam and Ronald Thomas and violist Esther van Stralen. He has been concerto soloist for ballet stars, such as Rudolph Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, Mikhail Barishnikov , Natalia Makarova and the Panovs performing Tchaikovsky’s second Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff ‘Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini’. He has also recorded for Dutch, French, Israeli and Australian radio and for various labels such as BMG, WEA and Philips.

This event is presented as part of Kaldor Public Art Project 32: Jonathan Jones barrangal dyara (skin and bones), 2016, 17 September – 3 October 2016.