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Portret Daniël Wayenberg


11-10-1929 - 17-09-2019


classical, composers, contemporary classical music, piano

Daniel Wayenberg

Daniël Wayenberg is one of the few Dutch pianists to have gained international renown. In addition to Classical and Romantic music, his repertoire includes twentieth-century music by such composers as Ravel, Dutilleux, Jolivet, and Gershwin. From time to time he performs popular music. He is very critical of musical elitism: ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1968   Louis van Dijk
1987   Gevleugelde Vrienden
2012   Martin Oei
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Biography Daniel Wayenberg

Daniël Wayenberg is one of the few Dutch pianists to have gained international renown. In addition to Classical and Romantic music, his repertoire includes twentieth-century music by such composers as Ravel, Dutilleux, Jolivet, and Gershwin. From time to time he performs popular music. He is very critical of musical elitism: “We musicians all have our own audiences, but we get along wonderfully together. It is the media that turns classical music into something elitist”. Because of his broad repertoire, he is often asked to fill in for pianists who have cancelled due to illness. Wayenberg also composes chamber music, piano concertos, for the orchestra and ballet. Of special interest is a work he wrote for luthéal and violin, which he recorded on CD in 1993 with the violinist Theo Olof. Wayenberg is known as a bon vivant with a charming and occasionally unexpectedly playful personality. His religious beliefs (Baptist) are very important to him.


Daniël Wayenberg is born in Paris. His mother, Marguerite Berson, comes from a wealthy, Russian aristocratic family that fled to Southern France during the tsarist period. She is a professional violinist and a skilled pianist. His father, Jakob Wayenberg, is a journalist with the Dutch news service ANP and for a time a correspondent on Indonesian affairs for several newspapers. Daniël's mother discovers when he was quite young that he has perfect pitch. Shortly after, it is decided that he will become a musician.


Wayenberg gives his first performance on the piano at age 7. At a wedding in Nice, he accompanies his mother on the violin and plays a solo piano piece by Manuel de Falla. After first having lessons with his mother, Daniël Wayenberg studies the piano with Ary Verhaar, a piano teacher and composer in The Hague who also teaches him harmony, counterpoint and composition.


In August, just months after the Liberation, Wayenberg gives a recital at the Diligentia theatre in The Hague, his first performance in the Netherlands. He plays twelve 'Preludes' by Claude Debussy. The recital, organized by the Wayenbergs at their own cost, is appreciated by the audience but receives mostly negative reviews.


Wayenberg moves to Paris to study with the famous pianist Marguerite Long. Before she accept him as a student, he has lessons for a time with Jacques Février, a former student of Long's and a teacher at her music school. Before studying with Marguerite Long he enters, with little success, the piano competition bearing her name.


The Daily Mail calls Wayenberg's first Paris recital an excellent and unforgettable performance. The newspaper also praises his performance at the Russian conservatory.


Wayenberg wins second prize at the Marguerite Long - Jacques Thibaud Piano Competition, the Grand Prize of the City of Paris. He is invited to perform various concerts. A second performance at Diligentia in The Hague is successful, as is a concert tour of Italy. At the Camerata in Florence, he plays in a concert marking the hundredth anniversary of Chopin's death. The audience is enthusiastic. In December, Wayenberg survives an airline accident on his way to Tunisia for a concert. He has a head wound, but his hands are unharmed. A photo in France Dimanche shows him in a hospital bed holding out his hands. The caption reads, “To save his hands, he let his face burn”.


At the Besançon Festival, he plays the premiere of a piano concerto written for him by the Dutch composer Alphonse Stallaert. The conductor is Raphael Kubelik.


Wayenberg performs a benefit concert in Metz for the victims of the catastrophic flooding in Zeeland and North Brabant. On November 22 he makes his debut in the United States as soloist in Sergei Rachmaninov's 'Second Piano Concerto' at Carnegie Hall. Dimitri Mitropoulos is the conductor. Wayenberg is not totally pleased with his performance, and the reviews are mixed, but he is invited to undertake various concert tours.


Wayenberg makes a second U.S. concert tour and is invited for a third. He plays for the first time at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw; his interpretation of Beethoven's 'First Piano Concerto', for which he has written his own cadenzas, is called “majestic”.


The ballet 'Solstice (Zonnewende)' is premiered at the Festival de la Dance at Aix-les-Bains. The composition was commissioned by the ballet dancer Pierre Lacotte, who also commissioned pieces from Sidney Bechet and Charles Aznavour. Wayenberg's piece is well received, but the choreography draws criticism. Some reviewers find the ballet boring, others excessively erotic. It receives 20 performances at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, but a planned European tour is cancelled.


Wayenberg is awarded the Grand Prix De l'Academie Charles Gros for his interpretation of Brahms.


After a recital at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris, he receives the honour Medal of the City of Paris. His recording of Maurice Ravel's two piano concertos wins the Grand Prix du Disque.


He composes the 'Concerto pour 5 Instruments à vent et piano'.


Queen Juliana makes Wayenberg a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.


Wayenberg receives an Edison award, presented during the Grand Gala du Disque, for his album with works by Richard Strauss ('Burleske') and Rachmaninov ('Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini').


He composes the 'Sonata for Violin and Piano'. Theo Olof plays the violin part at the premiere.


Wayenberg receives the French honor of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. At the first anniversary of De Doelen concert hall in Rotterdam, he plays in a novelty concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra that is broadcast on television. The programme presents a variety of lighter moments, such as a medley of Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Rachmaninov, 'Rhapsody in Blue', the 'Warsaw Concerto' and popular songs.


After two years work, Wayenberg completes the two-movement 'Symfonie Capella' – perhaps his best-known work – for large orchestra, fifteen brass instruments and percussion. Some passages are based on African dances. The title is a reference to the double star Capella, one of the brightest stars in the sky, which in many ancient civilizations was named after a deity. This is the only piece Wayenberg composes on a government grant. It is published by Donemus.


Daniël Wayenberg writes the 'Concerto pour 3 pianos et orchestre'.


In the mid-1970s, the Samama music agency initiates a partnership between Wayenberg and the jazz pianist Louis van Dijk with a surprising reversal of musical roles: Wayenberg plays jazzy improvisations while Van Dijk returns to the classical repertoire. Critics applaud the initiative. Wayenberg takes part in the Grand Gala du Knoeris carnival ball in Uden. De Knoerissen carnival society initiates him into the Order of the Big K.


Wayenberg plays Ravel's 'Piano Concerto for the Left Hand' with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Kirill Kondrashin.


The piano technician and restorer Evert Snel presents the luthéal he has restored at Beverweerd Castle near Werkhoven (Utrecht province) and Theo Olof and Daniël Wayenberg perform Ravel's 'Tzigane'. EMI records this world premiere. The luthéal is a grand piano with a mechanism to alter the timbre. The sound can be adjusted, with four knobs, to resemble a harp, lute, fortepiano, harpsichord, of cymbalon.


Wayenberg begins teaching at the Rotterdam Conservatory.


The TROS broadcasting company organizes a performance of the 'Concerto pour 3 pianos et orchestre' (1974) with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jan Krenz. The pianists are Wayenberg, Jaap Bogaart, and Bernd Brackman. 'Symfonie Capella' (1973) is also performed.

1987 - 1989

Under the name 'Gevleugelde Vrienden' (Winged Friends, a play on “vleugel”, the Dutch word for wing or grand piano) six pianists with divergent backgrounds and experience perform together. Wayenberg, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Tonny Eyk, Laurens van Rooyen, Louis van Dijk, and Pim Jacobs give six concerts this year and another nine in the next season.


Wayenberg turns 65 and retires from his teaching position at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Mayor Bram Peper presents him the Erasmus Pin.


Wayenberg performs in various Dutch cities and, with Louis van Dijk, in the “classical boat”, which sails in the 'Rondje Sloterplas' event organized by cultural centre De Meervaart in Amsterdam. This grows into an annual tradition.


Wayenberg and various other prize winners at the Marguerite Long – Jacques Thibaud Piano Competition perform with the Orchestre National de France conducted by Yehudi Menuhin. Wayenberg also plays in a concert protesting the threatened disbanding of the Amsterdam Promenade Orchestra, which offers work to many musicians who are sick or medically disabled.


In April Wayenberg gives a benefit concert for Kosovo refugees in Winterswijk. The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amsterdam Saxophone Quartet perform in a concert at the Main Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in honour of his 70th birthday. Wayenberg records Ravel's 'Piano Concerto for the Left Hand' with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His playing is lauded by critics.


He celebrates his 70th year as a concert pianist. For the occasion, Ben Daeter writes the book 'Daniël Wayenberg 70 jaar concertpianist' (Utrecht: Gopher BV, 2006). Wayenberg performs regularly.

Discography Daniel Wayenberg

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

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