‘Simple Music for Complex Emotions’ FIFTY+SA chats to Dutch pianist Joep Beving

Renowned for his minimalist style and profound connection with the piano, Dutch pianist Joep Beving is one of the most streamed living pianists globally.

Despite a shift from conservatory training to university, where he studied public policy and public administration, Beving’s passion for the piano remained unwavering. After inheriting his grandmother’s German piano, Joep’s musical approach evolved from seeking technical speed to expressing ‘simple music for complex emotions.’

He self-released his debut album in 2015 at the age of 38. Four albums later, the Edison Award-winning pianist chats to FIFTY+SA ahead of his largest Australian tour to date.

Q: Your Edison Award winning music has been described as ‘simple music for complex emotions’ and has been streamed over a billion times. Why do you think it has resonated so widely?

I believe this is somehow to be attributed to the melancholic nature of my music. Melancholy I believe could be the default human emotion, where sadness and hope take turns. Also, my compositions are intentionally stripped down to their bare essence, allowing listeners to project their own emotions and experiences onto the music. This creates a personal and intimate connection between the music and the listener.

Lastly, streaming platforms have played a significant role in making my music accessible to a global audience. The ability to reach listeners from different cultures and backgrounds has been truly humbling. Despite our diverse experiences, music has a universal language that transcends boundaries, and I think this universal appeal is a key factor in why my music has resonated so widely.

Q: You were last in Adelaide in 2020, and are now about to embark on your largest Australian tour yet – what are you most looking forward to about this tour?

For some reason the response to my music has been great in Australia since I started in 2015. Some of my most memorable shows I have played down under. Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Hall being in my top 10 experiences for sure. And also the show I did in Adelaide in 2020 was one for my personal books.

It’s fascinating to see that the continent that is furthest away from where I live, seems to feel so familiar. It goes to show that we are all just one people and one soul. But playing in Australia always feels more special. And it is the energy, the enthusiasm and the realness of the audience. That’s what I am looking forward to. Also that we are bringing the beautiful light installation from Boris Acket with us adds to the excitement.

Q: Your latest album Hermetism was inspired by the ancient spiritual philosophy of Hermeticism. What about this philosophy spoke to you, and how does your music convey these ideas?

What fascinates me is our relationship to reality and the question; what constitutes reality? In my ongoing explorations I have started to use my findings as inspiration for creating music, some 10 years ago. Each album to some extent has been part of the bigger puzzle. After having finished my Trilogy ‘Henosis’, I realised that all the topics that I had touched upon, were cohesively represented in Hermeticism; ancient writings that at their core have seven universal laws that describe the workings of the universe and a unity and interconnectedness of all things.

These laws are based on extremes that are searching for balance in order to have peace and harmony, which accordingly is the desired state of the universe. The seven laws spoke to me instantly upon discovery and felt so truthful that it made me want to share their existence with others, by simply giving the album the title ‘Hermetism’. Seeing the world move towards extremes, instead of coming together to solve the real problems we are facing, is just heartbreaking. It seems there is no place for nuance, which is what we so desperately need. In my work, and Hermetism is no exception, I search for the nuance, since I believe that beauty, which to some extend equals truth, lies in the middle. The grey zone where opposites merge.

Q: Your Hermetism live show was crafted with the artistic vision of Boris Acket – how did this collaboration come about?

Boris and I have worked together before and we became friends. We have a very similar way of approaching our work and have a shared view on life. On top of this we share our manager between the two of us. Boris is an incredible artist that does with light (and often sound too) what I attempt to do with music. Sharing the stage with the light installation we developed, feels like being in a band where serendipitous things might enhance the concert experience on top of the harmony that we have aspired intentionally when designing the performance.

Joep Beving will bring the Australian premiere of his acclaimed Hermetism live show to Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre on Thursday 18 July, as the first stop in Joep’s biggest Australian tour yet, tickets on sale now.

Joep Beving’s Hermetism

18th of July, 2024

Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide


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